White Crape Myrtle Care (Lagerstroemia Early Bird White)

If you were to grow an entire garden of crape myrtles, you’d have an attention-grabbing color show for a yard. With bloom colors ranging from crimson red to purple, white flowers would be the perfect addition to your crape myrtle lineup. 

Early bird white crape myrtle is a Lagerstroemia variety beloved for its rare white/dark green flower/foliage color combination. It is perfect as an accent plant around patios and decks or as a hedge plant since it repeatedly blooms for up to 120 days in summer. Care procedures include mild watering, annual fertilization, and minimal pruning. 

Lagerstroemia ‘Early Bird White’ Crape Myrtle Profile

NamesEarly bird white crape myrtleLagerstroemia ‘Early bird white’
Size5-8 feet high, 3-4 feet wide
Soil typeWell-draining, nutrient-rich loam or clay soils
Soil pHSlightly acidic (6.0-6.5)
Water–          Has average water requirements-          Needs more water when young-          Needs less water once fully established
Sun exposurePrefers full, unobstructed sunlight, partial sun
USDA ZonesZone 7-10
Bloom timeFrom spring-fall (reblooms for 120 days)
Flower colorSnow white
When to pruneLate winter-early spring
Root system (type)Shallow and fibrous

Origin and names

John McNair Davy allegedly discovered the shrub in 1998 in Florida among Lagerstroemia ‘Acoma’ seedlings. Later, it was added to the Southern Living Plant Collection. It got its reputation from its reblooming, brilliant white color, and compact upright growth habit. 

Its name refers to the snowy white color of its flowers. 

Size

At full maturity, Lagerstroemia ‘Early bird white’ grows 5-8 feet tall, with a spread of 3-4 feet. These two size factors combine to make it a great informal hedge plant.

Blooms and foliage

Early bird white crape myrtle produces vibrant white flowers multiple times a year. It can stay in bloom for between 100 and 120 days at its peak in summer. The blooms appear in the spring and last until early fall.

Meanwhile, the lustrous green leaves form a gorgeous backdrop for the flowers, making this ornamental an outstanding landscape attraction in the spring and summer.

The early bird white crape myrtle tree leaves often turn yellow in the fall, providing a different aesthetic that’s just as intriguing.

Also, compared to most other types of crape myrtle, Lagerstroemia ‘Early bird white’ boasts a rebloom rate that’s far superior. This crape myrtle cultivar goes through repeated bloom cycles for up to 120 days. For even more prolific repeat bloom cycles, ensure you deadhead the spent flowers for new flower buds to start forming.

Growth rate

The growth rate of early bird white crepe myrtle largely depends on how well you take care of the plant. Generally, though, when the stems are cut back to eight inches, new shoots sprout from the roots and will grow 2-4 inches every growing season.

How to grow and care for Early Bird White crape myrtle

To ensure optimal growth conditions for Lagerstroemia early bird white, you need to consider the spacing when planting, light intensity, preferred soil type and pH, water needs, and pruning requirements.

Spacing when planting

Early Bird White crape myrtle’s spacing depends on the growing purpose. Keep the space between 3 and 4 feet apart if you want to establish a white crape myrtle hedge. Increase the spacing to at least five feet apart if you are planting the tree as a foundation. The spacing allows the tree to take its full shape within the gaps when it matures. 

Light

Early bird white crepe myrtle loves to grow in full, uninterrupted sunlight. As a drought and heat resilient species, it can withstand the high heat accompanying direct sunlight exposure in summer.

While the bloom won’t be as glamorous, this accent plant will also grow in partial shade conditions if it gets at least 6 hours of full sunlight daily. 

Soil type and pH

Early bird white crape myrtle flourishes in well-draining loamy and clay soil with decent moisture retention. 

It also blooms better in 5.5-6.5 pH soil containing moderate fertilizer nutrients. The best approach to fertilizing this tree is using organic compost or commercial fertilizer once a year in spring. It thrives under slow-release fertilizer coupled with two inches of mulch.

Avoid over-fertilizing the soil, as this exposes Lagerstroemia ‘Early bird white’ to winter damage and a slower blooming rate.

Water

Lagerstroemia Early bird white has average water requirements. Young plants need frequent watering for better root establishment and top growth. However, once fully established, you can reduce the watering frequency for this crape myrtle variety.

USDA hardiness zones

Lagerstroemia ‘Early Bird White’ is cold-hardy in USDA plant hardiness zones 7-10. This ornamental plant can withstand winter weather in these zones, and the foliage stays put all year round. However, in colder regions, Early bird white crape myrtle dies back to the ground during the harsh winters.

From zone 7a-10b, winter temperatures usually fall between 0°F and 10°F, which is favorable for Lagerstroemia early bird white. This garden plant will die back to the ground when exposed to sub-zero temperatures.

Pruning

Like other varieties of Lagerstroemia, Early bird white crepe myrtle sprouts flowers on new shoots. Thus, you can trigger prolific blooming by cutting back the stems for new wood to grow. The best time to cut back the shoots is from the end of winter to early spring, right in time for the start of the growing season.

You can also lightly prune Early bird white crepe myrtle to eliminate dead and diseased branches. Light pruning and trimming can be done periodically at any time of the year.

References

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