Crape myrtles are originally from Asia but have been adopted by the south since the late 1700s because they thrive in our southeast climate. Crape myrtles will properly bloom in extra hot summers, putting on some stunning displays of flowers. Many cultivars have exfoliating bark as the tree matures, meaning as they age the bark will actually begin to peel, revealing a cinnamon colored trunk. They also adapt well in a diversity of soil conditions including heavy clay to sandy loam, acidic to alkaline, and lower damp sites to high and dry. Crape myrtles are pest and disease resistant too. Some cultivars are more susceptible to aphids and powdery mildew than others, but many varieties today have been selected for their resistance to these problems as well as their growth habits, color of flowers, how prolific it blooms and resistance to pest problems. Another major benefit to crape myrtles is that they are deer resistant, so they are a great selection for properties with high deer pressure. Crape myrtles are famous for their stunning display of summer color, but they also put on a big show in the fall. As temperatures drop, they can display leaf color from reds and maroons to yellows and oranges. All these characteristics combined make them an excellent selection for the southern landscape. Following is a list of more traditional, larger growing, full size cultivars we have grown fond of over the years and consider them a staple in our crape myrtle selections.
‘Tuscarora’ is a favorite of many and for obvious reasons. They have bold, almost neon, watermelon pink flowers during the summer followed by stunning red and yellow fall foliage color. A mature specimen averages 25x20ft and has good exfoliating bark characteristics.
‘Natchez’ is a popular favorite among many. They have snow white blooms during the summer followed by stunning red and yellow fall color. This cultivar is so prolific that when it blooms, it has more of a weeping structure due to flowers weighing down the canopy. A mature specimen averages 20x20ft, and is extra famous for having exceptional exfoliating bark characteristics.
‘Sioux’ is an excellent selection when looking for a vibrant pink that has a solid, upright habit. They are very prolific, yet when in full bloom during the summer, they tend to not weep as much as many other cultivars. A mature specimen will average 20ftx15ft and exfoliating bark characteristics is good.
‘Muskogee’ is a great, full size selection when looking for pinkish lavender blooms. They also have great fall color including red, orange and yellow. A mature specimen will average 20x15ft and exfoliating bark characteristics is good.
‘Dynamite’ is one of our most popular red flowering cultivars. Blooms are a true blood red and are very prolific during the summer. Fall color is stunning as well, with mostly red with some orange and yellow foliage. A mature specimen averages 15x12ft making it more of a medium size crape myrtle, with exfoliating bark characteristics average.
‘Tonto’ is a medium size crape myrtle with an average mature size of 12x10ft. Blooms are reddish-purple followed by maroon and red fall foliage color. This is an excellent medium size selection that seems to quickly jump up in size while keeping a smaller build once mature. Exfoliating bark is average.
‘Pink Velour’ is a very fitting name for this cultivar. Summer blooms are neon pink set on green with purple haze summer foliage, creating a bold color pallet followed by purplish red fall color. A mature specimen averages 12x8ft. Growth habit is not aggressive and exfoliating bark characteristics is average.
‘Red Rocket’ is currently the largest growing red blooming crape myrtle with a mature specimen reaching an average size of 20x20ft. Flowers are cherry red during the summer followed by yellow and red fall foliage color. This cultivar has average exfoliating bark color.
‘Sarah’s Favorite’ is another white flowering selection. The most noticeable difference between it and ‘Natchez’ is its more upright growth habit. It tends to not weep so much during blooming season in the summer. They are then followed by yellow with some red foliage color in the fall. A mature specimen averages 20x20ft and exfoliating bark is average.
Summer heat and deer browsing can be a huge challenge for southeast landscapes. Following are 15 heat loving perennials that not only sing and burst with color during our hot southern summers, but are deer-resistant as well.
‘Yellow’ butterflyweed is a bushy, fast-growing perennial that is prized for its brilliant flowers. They are one of the monarch’s favorite food sources that will have your yard filled with beautiful butterflies. They start blooming in late spring and continue through the entire summer. Also known as tickseed, they will thrive best in full sun and reach an average of 3x3ft.
‘Red’ butterflyweed is a deer-resistant perennial that stands out with its bright red flowers. Blooming in late spring through summer, this tickseed will have your yard fluttering with butterflies. When planted in full sun they will reach an average of 3x3ft.
‘Paprika’ yarrow is truly one of a kind! The flowers mature from red to pink creating a beautiful multi-colored effect throughout the landscape. Its deer and drought resistance make it a must for yards here in the south. When planted in full sun, ‘Paprika’ yarrow will reach 10-20 inches.
‘Cheyenne Spirit’ echinacea gives you a burst of color from summer to fall with a mix of red, pink, yellow, orange, purple, and white flowers. Its drought tolerance and deer resistance makes it an irresistible, low maintenance perennial. Plant this coneflower in full sun. Reaching about two feet, it adds height, color, spirit, and beauty to any landscape!
The ‘Pow Wow Wildberry’ echinacea is sure to add some powerful color to the landscape. Its intense rose flowers are complimented beautifully with the dark rose centers. This deer-resistant perennial will mature to about two feet and will do best when planted in full sun.
The ‘Pow Wow White’ coneflower, also known as echinacea, has eye-catching pure white flowers with yellow-gold centers. Its drought tolerance and deer-resistance makes it a perfect selection for our area. From summer to fall, this perennial will make a statement in any landscape!
The fiery orange-red flowers of the ‘Arizona Sun’ gaillardia are sure to add a burst of vibrant color to your landscape. Growing 8-10 inches tall, this deer-resistant blanket flower thrives in full to partial sun. What makes this show-stopper even better? It is drought tolerant making it a low-maintenance beauty for those who occasionally forget about watering. The hotter it is, the more it shines which makes it perfect for Statesboro summers!
The ‘Anne Marie’ lantana is an eye-catching perennial with magenta, orange, and yellow blooms from spring to fall. Its low mounding habit makes it great as a groundcover to add vibrant color to your landscape. When planted in full sun, it will grow to its potential of two feet. Its deer-resistance and drought tolerance make it a low-maintenance option that will be sure to light up your landscape!
The lavender flower clusters of the ‘Lavender Trailing’ lantana add a sense of serenity and beauty to the landscape. This drought tolerant perennial does best in full sun and quickly grows to 1x3ft. The low growing spreading habit of this lantana adds a burst of color to the yard plus they are deer resistant.
The ‘Miss Huff’ lantana adds vibrant colors from pink to orange and yellow that will light up any landscape! Blooming from spring to fall this variety is drought tolerant, deer-resistant, and cold hardy. When planted in full sun, it will quickly reach 4-5ft. The light green foliage of ‘Miss Huff’ compliments beautifully with the stunning blooms, making it an irresistible option.
Looking to brighten up your yard? The golden flower clusters of the ‘New Gold’ lantana will add striking splashes of sunshine throughout your landscape. This drought tolerant and deer-resistant perennial will do best in full sun and will quickly grow to 2x5ft, blooming from spring to fall.
‘Red Spread’ lantana produces bright flowers that open orange and then darken into a deep rich red over dark green foliage. It works wonders as a ground cover or for spreading over the edges of mixed containers. Reaching about 3x3ft, this deer-resistant perennial does best in full sun. If you are looking to add bursts of color to your landscape that is drought tolerant, ‘Red Spread’ lantana is perfect for you!
‘Purple Showers’ ruellia, also known as mexian petunia, bears the most beautiful, tubular, petunia-like purple flowers that bloom almost every day from late spring to fall. ‘Purple Showers’ is extremely easy to grown when planted in full sun with consistently moist soil, reaching 4 feet. When placed together in mass plantings, this deer-resistant perennial makes an even more eye-catching statement in the landscape.
‘Mexican Bush’ sage is another great deer-resistant option if you are looking for a perennial that attracts hummingbirds. Purple flower spikes stand out over gray-green foliage for a very complementing combination. This type of salvia sporadically blooms during the summer, ending the growing season in the fall with a giant burst of color with flowers on almost every stem. Many people love this trait because it is like a grand finally to the growing season. Once the roots have established, this plant is very drought tolerant. If planted in full to partial sun and given moderate water, it typically reaches 5 feet. ‘Mexican Bush’ sage is a show stopper that is sure to add some color to your landscape!
Growing about 24 inches tall, Society Garlic is a clump-forming perennial with narrow leaves and fragrant, violet flowers in spring and summer. As you can probably guess, this plant is known for its garlic scent, but what most people do not know is how drought tolerant it is. For those who occasionally forget to water, this plant can actually withstand it in our Statesboro heat. Another plus to the garlic aroma is that it works as a deer repellant. This is a useful and low-maintenance option that will add height and color to your landscape, while keeping those pesky deer away!
We are in the dog days of summer meaning your turf and plants have been growing for over 4 months. While gardeners are motivated to fertilize their landscape in the spring, many miss their August feeding. Remember, you are dealing with living organisms that need nutrition. Just because you have it looking good now, doesn’t mean it’s time to leave it be until next spring. Missing your August feeding can set your plants and turf up for disappointment and stress on many levels, even following into the next year’s growing season. Most fast release granular fertilizers last only 30-90 days depending on quality of product. This means if using a fast release, what you put out this spring is, or has been gone for a while. Making a midsummer application is critical. To help you master your southern landscapes nutrition needs, following are 4 important reasons to feed in August you need to be aware of.
Even if plant or turf looks lush and healthy now, that is no reason to starve them the rest of the growing season. There is a delay from the time you put granular fertilizer out and when it’s available to the roots of whatever you are feeding. Therefore, even if plants or turf looks healthy, keep the momentum with another feeding before it shows signs of malnutrition. Most plants and turf will have an aggressive, late summer flush towards the end of August and through September. Feeding now helps for a strong second half and ending to the growing season.
Healthy roots are critical, it will determine how well plants or turf hold up through times of drought, how durable they are in extreme heat or cold, how well they absorb nutrients, and how well trees and shrubs hold up to high winds. Healthy roots will even help your turf handle wear and tear from heavy foot traffic and the mower. Also, roots are where plants and turf store all their energy to break dormancy the following spring. Unhealthy roots in the fall can lead to higher risk of winter damage due to severe winter temperatures and a poor spring flush. Yes, how you feed them now can directly affect how well plants or turf overwinter and their spring flush the following year.
Disease and Pest resistance
Just like any living organism, plants and turf must have proper nutrients to have a healthy immune system. Proper fertilization can dramatically reduce fungal issues and even naturally suppress some types of bug infestations. Healthy plants are always the best defense before the use of fungicides and insecticides.
Last chance this growing season
If you see obvious signs of malnutrition, August really is your last month this growing season to make a proper correction. Feeding too late in the year (September-October) can result in more damage than good. This is because you don’t want your plants and turf to still be growing vigorously from too much nitrogen in soil when temperatures start dramatically dropping in the fall. This can result in winter damage due to stems not hardening off well and nitrogen burn from too much nitrogen on the roots when not absorbing it.
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