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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.

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

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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!

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Friday - July 17, 2009

From: Henderson, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Non-Natives
Title: Return to original color of non-native crape myrtles in Henderson, TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Mr. Smarty Plants, I bought 3 Dynamite Crape Myrtles that were about 3 -4 feet tall (at Lowe's). In the late Spring, I planted 2 of them about 100 feet apart, in full sun, and left the other one in a pot. They all bloomed out the pretty red that they are supposed to, then the 102 + degree weather hit and I guess I let the two planted ones get a little dry. They are in full sun and no clouds have been in sight. Immediately after watering the two planted, dry crapes, they began blooming - but this time they bloomed a medium pink!! They are the same plants that had bloomed red. The one in the pot is still blooming red. Do you have any idea what happened, and if they will revert back to the red that they first bloomed?

ANSWER:

Lagerstroemia indica (crapemyrtle) is native to Asia and therefore out of our range of expertise. At the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center we are committed to the care and propagation of plants native not only to North America but to the area in which they are being grown. The non-native crapemyrtle has been so extensively hybridized to get different colors and bloom times that there is no telling what feature in your plant's ancestry caused it to change color. We have heard of crape myrtles changing color before, but we have no idea if they will change back.

Here is a website from Floridata on Lagerstroemia indica that will give you some more information.

 

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