If you live in the warmer parts of America, there are many colorful trees and shrubs that you can grow – but Natchez Crape Myrtle is one of the best. Not only does it have beautiful pure-white blooms all summer long, but it grows rapidly into a large shrub or small tree. Crape Myrtles come in many sizes, so the wrong choice may leave you with a baby plant where you wanted a full-sized tree. Natchez is a full, tree-sized Crape Myrtle, quickly reaching 15 feet in height and ultimately reaching 20 feet.
It will grow 3 to 5 feet per year, so it quickly develops into a dense, beautiful flowering screen in just 2 or 3 years. Crape Myrtles are root-hardy into zone 6 and often 5, but the top-growth will die back in most winters. Natchez Crape Myrtle is such a strong grower that it will easily re-grow from the base and reach as much as 7 feet in a single season. So, now northern gardeners can enjoy spectacular Crape Myrtles they previously could only envy in the South.
The Natchez Crape Myrtle Tree is drought tolerant and any pests are minor, so they will be no problem at all. It is also deer resistant so it can be planted anywhere. In humid states Crape Myrtle may develop unsightly mildew on the leaves, but Natchez has been specially bred to resist this ugly disease, so it will remain clean and healthy all season.
Growing Natchez Crape Myrtle Trees
The Natchez Crape Myrtle quickly grows into a large shrub or small tree 15 to 20 feet tall and as much across, with glossy leaves and enormous clusters of beautiful white flowers which are produced all summer. The bark is a beautiful patch-work of grey, brown and maroon colors. The leaves turn beautiful orange and red colors in the fall and the twigs and bark are attractive all winter. This tree is attractive in all four seasons.
Natchez Crape Myrtle grows in zones 7, 8 and 9, from Virginia throughout the South, and from Texas across to California and right up the west coast. It can also be grown in zone 6 and even into zone 5, but it will die back to the ground in most winters in those zones. However it will quickly re-sprout in the spring and reach 5 to7 feet tall, full of blooms, in a single season. It needs full sun and does well in all kinds of soil except those that are often wet, where it will not grow well. So don’t over-water or plant in a low-lying, wet spot. We have lots of other choices of plants for those locations.
Planting as a Screen
Natchez is larger than many other Crape Myrtle trees and shrubs, so when planting a screen they can be planted 8 feet apart. When planting Crepe Myrtles it is important not to plant any deeper than the containers they are in and also not to cover the roots with a lot of soil. So dig a hole or a trench two or three times wider than the pot, but no deeper. Place your plants in the hole, replace most of the soil and firm it well down. Then water thoroughly and replace the rest of the soil, being careful not to cover the roots with any extra soil.
Sun Exposure and Watering
Natchez Crape Myrtle needs full sun, both for the health of the plant and so the flowers will develop well. It will take just a little shade, but the more shade the fewer flowers. Once established it is very drought-hardy and rarely needs water, so this is an easy tree to care for – in fact it cares for itself. If you want the maximum growth this tree is capable of, then water regularly and give fertilizer regularly, but this is not needed for mature plants.
Pruning and Maintenance
They need no special pruning, but they can be shaped during the winter. Prune while young, since it is best not to cut branches thicker than 3 inches across, and if plants are cut hard they will produce lots of growth but fewer flowers. But removing lower side branches it is easy to train this plant into a tree with a single trunk and a large crown.
History and Origins of the Natchez Crape Myrtle
The common Crape Myrtle (Lagerstroemia indica) was first brought to Charleston, South Carolina around 1790 from its natural home in China and Korea. It thrived in the warm climate there and has long been a symbol of summer in the South, with its huge clusters of blooms. From those original plants many forms have been bred. The National Arboretum in Washington D.C. launched a special program to develop mildew-resistant forms of Crape Myrtle and ‘Natchez’ is a hybrid between Lagerstroemia indica and Lagerstroemia fauriei which has the resistance they were looking for.
Buying Natchez Crape Myrtles at The Tree Center
Natchez is such a special plant that only the exact plant will have the right flower color and growth rate. For this reason, it must be produced directly from trees absolutely known to be right. Our trees are grown the correct way, from branch cuttings of these special trees. That way every tree is identical to the original so they will produce a very uniform effect when planted in a row. However these take longer to produce and Crape Myrtles labelled ‘White’ will definitely not be ‘Natchez’, so avoid cheaper seedling trees that will only be a disappointment.
We sell only trees that are true to the original form and we have a wide range of sizes to give you the best plant for your purpose. However, we are constantly renewing our stock so our customers get fresh, healthy plants, so supplies of this tree may be limited. To avoid disappointment order now.