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

Controlling Rapistrum rugosum (annual bastardcabbage)
March 09, 2012 - The invasive, Rapistrum rugosum, seems to be especially ubiquitous this year. I communicated with Dr. Mark Simmons a few years ago regarding his research, which indicated that over-sowing wit...
view the full question and answer

Evergreen non-native herbs for Bastrop TX
August 26, 2010 - I'm looking for evergreen herbs for Bastrop Texas. I planted an herb garden in the spring of 2009, but mostly all of them died in the winter. Rosemary, Tarragon and Sage made it. thank you!
view the full question and answer

Non-native house plants stressed from Allen TX
July 30, 2011 - I have three house plants that were plants I received from my father's funeral services. They were healthy for about two years and then we added some soil and now they are turning brown and appear t...
view the full question and answer

Non-native Chinese pistache in Eagle Pass, TX
June 14, 2009 - Hi Mr Smarty Plants!! I just bought a young chinese pistache tree, is no bigger than 7 feet. I've never had one of these trees before, I'm about to plant it and I would also like to fertilize it...
view the full question and answer

Is Thyme Toxic to Cats?
April 15, 2015 - Is 'Pink Chintz' thyme, the ground cover, toxic to cats?
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