Lagerstroemia indica – Pride of India – Crape myrtle

Native to China and India, Lagerstroemia indica is grown all over the world for its long blooming season of showy flowers and a winter season of architectural beauty, highlighted by distinctive exfoliating bark. The Pride of India either grows as a multi-stemmed shrub or small tree reaching a mature height of about 6m metres under ideal growing conditions.

This beautiful deciduous tree is often characterised with a wide flat topped crown. The dark green leaves of L. indica are simple and are arranged in an opposite manner. They turn yellow, orange and red before dropping off the tree in autumn. Branches of this tree droop as the tree grows and will require pruning for pedestrian clearance beneath the canopy. The bark exfoliates in early summer revealing the smooth lightly mottled bark. L. indica has different varieties; from mid to late summer white, pink, mauve, purple or carmine red flowers with crimped petals are produced. The flowering period lasts from 60-120 days.

Pride of india has a high drought tolerance, grows well in full sun. The tall growing variety of Lagerstroemia indica is well suited for street planting while the dwarf versions make excellent container plants for the patio. It is frost resistant and can tolerate clay as well as alkaline soils.  Although deciduous, Lagerstroemia indica can be used for hedging or screening.