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?


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
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


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.


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

Problems with Acer rubrum in Sacramento
September 06, 2009 - We live in Sacramento California and have two seven year old Magenta Maple trees in our front yard that are planted about 65 feet from each other. This is the second year in a row that the tree on th...
view the full question and answer

Leaves wrinkling on Tecoma stans from San Antonio TX
August 16, 2013 - My two year old esperanza (planted in the ground) froze back last winter, came back from the roots & has been doing well all summer. Recently one branch has leaves that are nice & green but very wrin...
view the full question and answer

Caterpillars on Mountain laurel in Austin
September 11, 2009 - One of our 18+ year old Texas Mountain Laurels seems to be in distress this year. We treated it for caterpillars this Spring but many of the new leaves had been eaten by then. I recently started wate...
view the full question and answer

Are Eastern White Pine suitable for Waxhaw NC
February 13, 2011 - Pinus strobus ( White Pine )- I wish to plant four of these evergreens along our property lines as a screen. Our county is selling one foot plants in a container. Our soil is clay. Are these t...
view the full question and answer

Osage orange thorn in foot in Redford MO
June 01, 2010 - I ran an osage orange thorn through my foot,it is very sore and very red around it. Is that something I might need to see a dr about, or it is just going to be sore for a couple days. It only happened...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center