Pink Crepe Myrtles.jpg

To get the right match for crape myrtles in a yard, bring a bloom to the nursery for comparison. 

CONTRIBUTED PHOTO FROM LEE ROUSE, LSU AgCENTER

Gardeners are often advised to plant trees and shrubs in late fall or early winter, when the cooler temperatures make it easier for roots to become established.

While this is true and great horticultural practices, there is an argument to be made for picking out and planting crape myrtles in summer.

It's not that summer is better for planting purposes; it's so you can accurately pick out the exact color flower you want in your landscape.

As a former nurseryman, I know nurseries try their absolute hardest to keep varieties separated, whether that's writing the variety names on the pot, keeping tags on the tree itself or keeping the different colors separated. But mix-ups do happen, and when a tree is not in bloom, it's hard to tell the different varieties apart.

If you are picky about the color crape myrtle you would like in your yard or trying to plant a matching variety to an existing crape myrtle, then waiting until summertime when the nursery stock is in full bloom will ensure you choose the correct one.

If you're trying to match a crape myrtle already in your landscape or one in a neighbor's yard, bring in a cutting of the flowers. Your "light pink" might not be the same as that of the folks at the nursery.

There are hundreds of different varieties of crape myrtles, and nurseries carry a limited selection. The nursery might not carry the exact type you're looking for. Bringing a sample of any plant you're trying to match will produce far better results than a verbal description. The same concept applies when you want to match azaleas, daylilies, roses or any other plant species that has numerous varieties and colors to choose from.

Got a question?

Email gardennews@agcenter.lsu.edu.