It may seem kind of silly to write about “Choosing a Crape Myrtle”. Don’t you just decide what color you like and buy that one? Well, maybe. But there are other factors to consider as well.
We now have a plethora of varieties to choose from, some with dark colored leaves, different colors of exfoliating bark, brilliant fall colors from red to orange, and a myriad of flower colors. While all of these are important, remember to first identify the mature height of Crape Myrtle that would be appropriate for the area that you are going to plant it in. You can then choose from the colors available in that height range. In fact, the unhealthy and unsightly practice of “Crape Murder” began long ago when a tall variety of Crape Myrtle was planted too close to a house, and would have to be reduced in size annually to not encroach upon the eaves. Unfortunately, yard men, seeing this practice, assumed it was acceptable and continued to “murder” Crape Myrtles in all cases, even when size was not an issue!
Crape Myrtle heights range from dwarf groundcover (under 1’), weeping miniature (2’-3’), dwarf (3’-6’), semi-dwarf (5’-12’), small tree (10’-20’), and tree (20’-30’). Follow this link to view varieties for Texas: Crape Myrtle Varieties
Mildew resistance is another factor to consider. Of course, good air circulation will improve your chances of avoiding powdery mildew, but there are some varieties that are less prone to developing the powdery fungus.
Of course, if you are planting a Crape Myrtle where deer have access to it, you will want to purchase a tree that already has a canopy “above the browse”, or about 5’ of clear trunk. If you decide to start smaller, you can put a ring of fencing 5’ tall around the tree until it has outgrown the “browse” height.
So, once you have decided the height range, and have identified a mildew resistant variety that has the color you are partial to, all you need to do is decide how large a tree to buy, and your decision making is done!