Flowering trees offer a different kind of beauty to the exterior space of various properties; what’s even nicer about them is they often change hues over time. In Australia, there’s a diverse mix of flowering trees that homeowners can select from to improve the aesthetic appeal of their outdoor space, and among the best flowering trees in the country (and the rest of the world, actually) are crepe myrtles which reach different heights and spreads, and come in different variants.
Crepe myrtles or Lagerstroemia indica are native to eastern Asia and Australia and they are distinguished by their vase-shape and trusses of white, different depths of pink, and purple flowers that have a crepe-like texture, which typically appear late in the summer. These flowering trees are easily pruned to maintain their beautiful, natural shape, and when summer turns to autumn, the leaves turn into a visual delight of yellow green, yellow, orange (rust) and red before they actually fall. And in addition to their pretty flowers and the changing colours of their leaves, crepe myrtles also look particularly nice because of their coloured, smooth, mottled trunks.
The crepe myrtle is a favourite among gardeners, particularly the native and Indian Summer range, because they grow easily and are resistant to powdery
mildew, a fungal disease that often attacks older crepe varieties. Likewise, they have good cold tolerance — they don’t require special care when warm weather turns cool.
To keep these flowering trees healthy, Jim’s Mowing advises keeping them properly hydrated, especially in the summer. Make sure that you water them long and deeply to encourage roots to go deeper as well and have the ability to “forage” for additional moisture; this is so that even when the top soil is parched, these trees will continue to grow and yield the beauty they are known for.
And to further reduce the risk of powdery mildew, make sure that there’s good air circulation in the garden. As for weeds that like to grow at the base of the tree, aside from strategic mowing, the introduction of fresh mulch can take care of them. Meanwhile, to encourage fresh growth and maintain the nice vase shape they have, especially during the turnover of seasons, prune wilted leaves and branches — when you do so, you can expect new flowers to sprout soon.
Crepe myrtles can be found in all nurseries in the country; they are very affordable — just about $20 a pot for really young seedlings.