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Begin planting crape myrtles

By ELMER KREHBIEL

Home Grown

Now’s the best time to select crape myrtle shrubs for planting based on their flowers. Crape myrtle shrubs are easy to transplant and the soil should be well-mulched and watered.

Plants are available in several shapes and sizes — from 18 inches to 40 feet — and available colors are equally wide-ranging. Gardeners like crapes in their landscaping plans because they are becoming more disease/ insect resistant and more attractive.

Early on, crape flower colors ranged from white, pink, red, maroon and lavender to purple. But now a host of colors with exotic names have been developed.

Following are a few sizes and their flower colors:

1. Weeping-miniatures — 18 to 24 inches. Baton Rouge/deep red; Bayou Marie/bicolored pink; Bourbon Street/watermelon red; and Cordon Bleu/lavender. These should be suitable for five-gallon containers.

2. Dwarf sizes — 3 to 4 feet: Centennial/purple; Chickasaw/purplish pink; Okmulgee/red-maroon; Tightwad/red; and Victor/dark red. These should be suitable for 10-gallon containers.

3. Medium sizes — 5 to 10 feet. Acoma/white; Caddo/pink; Cherokee/red; Pecos/pink; Prairie Lace/pink white; and Tonto/red.

4. Shrub-tree varieties — 10 to 20 feet. Apalachee/ light lavender; Catawba/violet purple; Conestoga/pale lavender; Near East/light pink; and Raspberry Sundae/pinkish red/white.

5. Shrub-tree varieties of the largest sizes — 20 feet or more. Basham’s Party Pink/light lavender; Biloxi/pale pink; Byers Wonderful White/clear white; Carolina Beauty/dark red; Kiowa/white; and Red Rocket/bright red.

• Elmer Krehbiel is a retired Texas A&M University professor and a Brazos County Master Gardener. His e-mail address is el-mil-k@cox-internet.com.

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