En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
2 ratings

Monday - July 30, 2007

From: Lantana, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Non-Natives, Diseases and Disorders
Title: Bloom color change in Choctaw Crape Myrtle
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

In 2006 my wife bought a Choctaw Crape Myrtle from a local nursery. It had a tag from Greenleaf Nursery and had several blooms in the "correct" pink color. The plant was 5-6 ft tall. It has grown to about 7-8ft now. When the 2007 blooms came out, they are all white instead of the expected (and previously observed) pink. Any suggestions about why the color change?

ANSWER:

Crape Myrtle (Lagerstroemia spp.), native to SE Asia, is a widely popular woody ornamental flowering shrub throughout southeastern U.S. landscapes. The widespread use and popularity of Lagerstroemia has lead to its categorization as a "natulalized" U.S. plant. Although the focus of research and the expertise of the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is limited to those plants native to North America, we have been checking to find an answer to this interesting problem.

Since no one here at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center has experienced the phenomenon you describe, we decided to go directly to the source and contacted the Greenleaf Nursery in Park Hill, Oklahoma.

Mr. Leon Mancha of Greenleaf Nursery offered these two possibilities.
"On a cloudy day or just as the flower bud opens, crape myrtle flowers are often white. Exposure to sunlight fully develops the color.
Is there a chance that there is a liner (a cutting that was inadverdently placed in the wrong container) of Natchez or Sarah's Favorite that has outgrown the Choctaw. Look for different color or texture of bark and different leaf size, shape as a clue to what might be happening."

Since you wrote us with the question, the first possibility is probably not the answer, however the second one seems plausible. Check your Crape Myrtle carefully to see if there are in fact two different varieties.

 

More Non-Natives Questions

Rose bush varieties and time to plant from Hutto TX
October 31, 2013 - What rose bush varieties are recommended for the Hutto Texas area and what time of year is the best time to plant into ground? Thank you.
view the full question and answer

Propagation on bamboo in Washington State
August 30, 2008 - I have been trying for some time to grow bamboo in my garden. They rooted very well in the house but as soon as I put them in a large planter under the fir trees they turned yellow.They have a large h...
view the full question and answer

Non-native carrotwood tree in Simi Valley CA
June 25, 2009 - We have a beautiful 40+ foot carrotwood tree that has been covered with small nut-like pods growing in bunches. They are a mess. Is there a spray that controls/eliminates this problem?
view the full question and answer

Problems with non-native bi-color iris from Spring Branch TX
August 18, 2011 - Bi colored iris. I have four plants planted around our water feature last fall. Up until recently they all looked very healthy, yet not blooming. Several weeks ago I noticed that two of the plants ...
view the full question and answer

Erosion control in Spicewood TX
March 20, 2013 - I am from a small community along the Colorado River a few miles East of Marble Falls. We are looking for a ground cover/grass to prevent erosion on on our beach front. We had planned to use Bermuda G...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center