If you’ve ever walked by a crape myrtle or seen a photo of one of these shrubs online, you know these flowering plants are stunning. But what about their scent? What do crape myrtles smell like? Join us as we answer this question!
Crape Myrtle Basics
Crape myrtles are a group of about 50 species of flowering plants in the Lagerstroemia genus. These plants range from a few feet to 50+ feet tall.
Crape myrtles are known for slender trunks coated with stunning smooth bark and summer-blooming flowers. They are native to Australia and Southeast Asia but are now grown worldwide in USDA hardiness zones 6–9.
If you’d like to grow one of these plants at home, choose a location with full sun and well-draining soil.
What Do Crape Myrtles Smell Like?
While we wish the answer was simple, there’s some complexity involved! The truth is you may receive ten different answers if you ask this question to ten different people.
Some people claim that crape myrtle flowers are fragrance-free or simply smell like vegetative plants. However, others report that the flowers have a more distinct and alluring scent.
People that say crape myrtles have a fragrance report that the flowers smell like lemons, lilacs, or even menthol. However, the scent is often subtle rather than powerful.
So, what’s up with the discrepancies in reports? One possible answer could be the wide variety of crape myrtle species and varieties.
There are around 50 species of crape myrtle and hundreds of different varieties. Along with differences in height and flower color, these different crape myrtles can also exhibit different fragrances.
So while two people might be smelling a “crape myrtle” they may be referring to two entirely different plant species!
Fragrant Crape Myrtle Varieties
If you want a beautiful and aromatic plant, check out these fragrant types of crape myrtles.
Natchez (Lagersrtoemia indica x fauriei ‘Natchez’)
Natchez grows up to 20 feet tall and wide and produces tons of white flowers. The flowers have a lightly floral and slightly sweet scent.
Apalachee (Lagerstroemia indica x fauriei ‘Apalachee’)
This hybrid has clusters of light pink flowers and grows about 12 feet tall. The flowers have a lightly floral fragrance.
Biloxi (Lagerstroemia indica ‘Biloxi’)
With slender stems, light pink flowers, and a height of 20 feet, ‘Biloxi’ is a popular crape myrtle variety. Its flowers have a floral fragrance that some say resembles that of a lilac.
Frequently Asked Questions:
What are Crape Myrtles?
Crape myrtles are small trees or shrubs that are known for their showy, colorful flowers and attractive bark. They are commonly grown in warm, sunny climates and are often used for landscaping and garden design.
Do Crape Myrtle Flowers Smell Bad?
While crape myrtles may lack a strong fragrance, they do not smell bad. Most varieties smell slightly floral, sweet, or spicy.
What Are the Most Fragrant Types of Crape Myrtle?
Some strongly-scented crape myrtle varieties include Natchez, Biloxi, and Apalachee. However, other types of crape myrtles may also produce fragrant flowers.
How do I Care for my Crape Myrtle?
Crape myrtles require regular watering, fertilization, and pruning to stay healthy. It’s important to prune them in the winter to promote new growth and remove any damaged or diseased branches. Additionally, they may benefit from a balanced fertilizer applied in the spring and summer.
Can Crape Myrtles Tolerate Shade?
Crape myrtles can tolerate partial shade as long as they receive at least six hours of light daily. However, they will not thrive in full shade.
What Happens if Crape Myrtles don’t get enough Sunlight?
If crape myrtles don’t get enough sunlight, they may not bloom as well or may have stunted growth, which may diminish their fragrance. They may also be more susceptible to pests and diseases.
Can crape myrtles be grown in containers?
Yes, crape myrtles can be grown in containers, but in my experience, they require more frequent watering and may not grow as large as those planted in the ground. It’s essential to choose a large container to accommodate the tree’s root system.
What’s the best time of year to plant crape myrtles?
The best time to plant crape myrtles is in the late winter or early spring before new growth begins. This allows the tree to establish its root system before the hot summer months. However, they can also be planted in the fall if necessary.
What do Crape Myrtles Smell Like: Wrapping Up
While some varieties of crape myrtles produce fragrant flowers, others produce relatively fragrance-free flowers. However, one thing is for sure: these plants are gorgeous!
For more, see our in-depth guides to crape myrle deer resistance and whether crape myrtles are toxic to humans and animals.
Briana holds a B.S. in Plant Sciences from Penn State University. She manages a small market garden where she grows vegetables and herbs. She also enjoys growing flowers and houseplants at home.
Comments are closed.