Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
3 ratings

Tuesday - July 08, 2008

From: Granite Bay, CA
Region: California
Topic: Non-Natives, Trees
Title: Changing color of crape myrtle blooms
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I have 5 well established crape myrtle trees whose blooms are a very light lavender/pink color. I would like to know if there is any way to deepen or change the color of the blooms. I would prefer a much more vivid bloom (deep pink or purple) if possible, but even a subtle change would be welcome if it is doable at all.

ANSWER:

Oh, gosh, sorry, our Magic Wand doesn't have a color-changing setting. There are a very few plants (hydrangeas being the only one that comes to mind) whose bloom color can be changed from pink to blue according to the soil they are growing in; pink for alkaline soil and blue for acidic soil. But we can find no indication that crape myrtle bloom colors can be altered. The crape myrtle is one of the most widely hybridized plants around, and each cross in the hybridization program requires a lot of time and care in getting just the right height, or bloom color or growing habit sought by the grower. To unravel how your particular trees acquired their lavender/pink color would require intricate retracing of the genetics involved, and you still couldn't change the colors of the ones you have. This University of Georgia Cooperative Extension Service website Crape Myrtle Culture lists a number of cultivars by color, etc. However, your best bet, if you want to purchase plants with a certain plant color, is to go to the nursery and actually see the colors of blooms before you buy the plant. And learn to love lavender/pink.

 

More Trees Questions

Soils for Acacia greggii and Bauhinia lunarioides
May 02, 2007 - What kind of soil do you recommend for anacacia tree? I was stunned by the one blooming at Center. I have had one for years and it has not been happy. I figure it must be the soil.
view the full question and answer

Can Crataegus viridian be grown in Houston, TX?
June 21, 2015 - I am looking to plant Crataegus viridis (species or cultivar "Winter King") at a location in full sun in Houston. Many places I've found online say that it is hearty through Zone 9, but others have...
view the full question and answer

Care of lemon cypress (Cupressus macrocarpa)
June 09, 2008 - How do I care for a Lemon Cypress tree? Does it require a lot of sun? How often should I water it? It is 18" high and I have it in a pot on my screen porch. Thank-you
view the full question and answer

Is Lemon Cypress toxic?
August 15, 2012 - Is the Lemon Cypress toxic?
view the full question and answer

Denying cows access to flowers through fence
March 20, 2008 - What flowers can I plant that cows will not eat? They stick their heads through the fence and eat anything they can reach. I would like to plant something in the fence row that will not hurt the cows...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.