Lavender Crape Myrtle Care Guide

The lavender crape myrtle is an excellent cultivar for open spaces. It has soft, unscented lavender flowers and glossy green leaves, which transit to reddish-orange in fall. The tree is popularly known for its more prolonged blooming than most crape myrtle varieties.

The lavender is widely grown in masses, with its dense branches forming attractive canopies in the landscape. Established plants need little attention, with occasional watering and monthly feeding in summer to encourage prolific blooming. Follow up your maintenance routine with a balanced 10-10-10 or 8-8-8 fertilizer and slight trimming for a thriving lavender crape myrtle tree

Lagerstroemia indica x ‘fauriei‘ Crape Myrtle Profile

NamesMuskogee crape myrtle, Japanese crape myrtle, and Fauriei Hybrid crape myrtle. 
Size20-30 feet tall, 15-20 feet high 
Soil typeModerately moist, well-draining 
Soil pH5.5-6.5 
WaterLow to moderate 
Sun exposureFull sun 
USDA zones6, 7, 8, 9 
Bloom timeSummer to early fall 
Flower colorLavender-pink 
When to pruneLate winter 
Root system (type)Shallow fibrous roots 

Origin and names

The lavender is a deciduous cultivar of the crape myrtle native to southeast Asia, India, and Japan. It was developed in the 1960s by the National Arboretum for species more resistant to drought and powdery mildew.

The lavender crape myrtle is a child of the Lagerstroemia fauriei and Lagerstroemia Indica. It’s botanical name is Lagerstroemia indica x faueri ‘Muskogee’. It’s also known as the Muskogee crape myrtle, Japanese crape myrtle, and Fauriei Hybrid crape myrtle.

Size

The Muskogee crape myrtle exists in tree form and grows between 20-30 feet tall. Its branches are denser, arched, and form canopies about 15-20 feet wide.

Blooms and foliage

The Muskogee crape myrtle tree’s flowers, foliages, and barks are visually appealing, and their vibrant summer color portrays it as showy.

A mature lavender crape myrtle tree blooms in summer into early fall. It produces soft lavender-pink flowers with long, glossy green leaves, which dramatically become reddish-orange in early fall. Meanwhile, the cinnamon-colored bark exfoliates to a grayish, shiny one during blooming.

The lavender crape myrtle has the most extended blooming period, usually about four months. After the flowering period, the flowers produce tiny brown seeds in capsules.

Growth rate

The lavender crape myrtle tree has a slow to moderate growth rate. Immature trees take about ten years to establish before blooming. However, planting an already mature Muskogee crape myrtle tree is a quick remedy to adding instant color and increasing curb appeal.

How to grow and care for lavender crape myrtle

Successfully growing the lavender crape myrtle tree requires a location with full sun and well-draining, slightly acidic soil. A lavender crape myrtle tree needs intermediate care. Proper watering, feeding, and occasional pruning are necessary to grow a healthy lavender tree.

Spacing when planting

The spacing of the lavender tree depends on the planting purpose. You can plant the trees close to each other and use them as a hedge or their canopies to provide shade. Single plant specimens can be planted near entryways to add more sparkle to the space in summer. Spacing between 8-12 feet is ideal, depending on the purpose.

Light

Like the other crape myrtle varieties, the Muskogee crape myrtle tree requires full sun to thrive. A sunny location with at least six hours of direct sunlight would be a perfect site for prolific flowering. Filtered or full sun reduces flowering and would not be as colorful as expected.

Soil type and pH

The lavender crape myrtle isn’t picky on the soil it thrives in. Clay, sand, silt, and loam are suitable growing media. However, they should be moderately moist and well-draining for healthy plant growth.

Adding 2-3 inches of mulch around the plant but a few inches from the stem helps retain moisture in soils with high drainage.

Lastly, the soil should be slightly acidic with a pH between 5.0-6.5.  

Water

The lavender crape myrtle is drought tolerant and thus requires low to average watering once established. Mature trees can survive without supplemental water. However,   occasional irrigation is necessary during the summer when the tree is blooming.

Water young, unestablished, or recently transplanted lavender crape myrtle regularly to help them root fast. Irrigate those transplanted in winter once weekly but twice weekly for those planted in the other seasons. The top 2 to 3 inches of soil should be dry. 

Dip a finger or stick to check the moisture level to know when to water again.

Add a layer of compost or mulch to retain moisture and minimize evaporation rates for newly transplanted lavender trees.

USDA hardiness zones

The lavender crape myrtle tree is cold hardy and performs well in USDA plant hardiness zones of 6-9. These zones have an average minimum winter temperature range of -10oF to 30oF.

The lavender tree is a popular plant in the southeast regions of the united states. The table below summarizes the zones and the states where the lavender crape myrtle tree thrives.

USDA Zone                        States
6New York, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Illinois, Ohio, Colorado, Michigan, Connecticut, Missouri, Alaska, and Kansas. 
7New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Idaho,  Massachusetts, West Virginia,  North Carolina,  Tennessee, Alaska, New York, Oklahoma, Nevada, Missouri, Utah, and Washington D.C 
8Georgia, Alaska, South Carolina, Texas, Arkansas, Tennessee, Oregon, Washington, Florida, and Alabama,
9Arizona, Florida, California, Texas, Oregon, and Nevada.

Pruning

The lavender crape myrtle doesn’t need pruning, although it might be necessary for thinning and shaping the tree. The best time to prune your lavender tree is late winter when it’s dormant but about to develop new growth. Minimal pruning is ideal to avoid weakening the branches and reducing blooms.

You will need sharp hand pruners, loppers, or a pruning saw to trim your lavender crape myrtle tree.

  1. Start by cutting suckers and trunks along the main tree trunk for a tidier look. 
  2. Next, you want to cut overhanging side branches from the main trunk and those hanging low and blocking entryways. 
  3. Also, prune the top branches growing towards the center of the tree. Cut the branches crossing over or rubbing against each other. 
  4. Cut the dead, damaged branches. 

Removing the seedheads is optional.

References

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