Crape Myrtle (Lagerstroemia ‘New Orleans’)

Plant: Table of Contents

Crape Myrtle (Lagerstroemia ‘New Orleans’): An In-Depth Guide

Crape myrtle, scientifically known as Lagerstroemia, is a stunning and versatile flowering plant that has become a popular choice for gardens, landscapes, and container gardening. One of the captivating varieties of crape myrtle is the ‘New Orleans’, which boasts unique characteristics and attributes. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the culture, uses, care requirements, and interesting facts about the crape myrtle ‘New Orleans’. Whether you are a seasoned gardener or a beginner plant enthusiast, this article is crafted to provide valuable insights into this remarkable plant.

What is Crape Myrtle (Lagerstroemia ‘New Orleans’)?

Crape myrtle, Lagerstroemia, belongs to the Lythraceae family and encompasses numerous species that are admired for their vibrant, long-lasting blossoms, attractive bark, and exceptional adaptability to various growing conditions. Of these species, the ‘New Orleans’ crape myrtle is a standout cultivar celebrated for its unique characteristics. The ‘New Orleans’ variety is renowned for its stunning flowers, exceptional growth habits, and striking fall foliage. Its captivating features make it a prized addition to gardens and landscapes, bringing beauty and elegance to outdoor spaces.

Key Takeaways – Crape Myrtle (Lagerstroemia ‘New Orleans’)

Before delving deeper into the specifics of the crape myrtle ‘New Orleans’, let’s highlight key takeaways that will be covered in this comprehensive guide:

  • Various Crape Myrtle Varieties: Discover the diverse array of crape myrtle cultivars, including the unique attributes of ‘New Orleans’.
  • Characteristics of Crape Myrtle: Gain insights into the growth habits, flowers, and foliage of the ‘New Orleans’ crape myrtle.
  • Cultivation and Landscaping: Explore the various uses of crape myrtle in landscaping, garden design, and container gardening.
  • Care Guide: Learn about the essential care requirements, including water, sunlight, fertilizer, soil, pruning, and propagation.
  • Pests and Diseases: Understand common diseases and pests that can affect crape myrtle plants, along with recommended prevention and control measures.



Crape myrtle, including the ‘New Orleans’ variety, is prized for its versatility and numerous uses in various settings, including:

  1. Landscaping: Crape myrtles are often employed in landscaping to add color, texture, and visual interest to gardens, parks, and urban spaces. With their spectacular blooms and attractive foliage, the ‘New Orleans’ crape myrtle can serve as a focal point in landscapes or be incorporated into mixed borders and hedgerows.

  2. Garden Design: These plants are favored by garden designers for their ability to provide seasonal interest, thanks to their colorful flowers and foliage. Additionally, crape myrtles can be used to create privacy screens, define garden boundaries, or enhance the aesthetic appeal of outdoor spaces.

  3. Container Gardening: Due to their compact size and stunning blooms, crape myrtles, including the ‘New Orleans’ variety, are well-suited for container gardening on patios, balconies, and small outdoor areas. They add a pop of color and beauty to container arrangements and can be easily maintained in pots.

  4. Pollinator Gardens: Crape myrtle flowers are attractive to pollinators such as bees and butterflies, making them a valuable addition to pollinator-friendly gardens. The ‘New Orleans’ variety, with its abundant blooms, can act as a magnet for pollinators, contributing to the health and biodiversity of local ecosystems.


The water requirements for crape myrtle, including the ‘New Orleans’ variety, are influenced by factors such as climate, soil type, and the plant’s stage of growth. As a general guideline:

  • Established Plants: Mature crape myrtles are relatively drought-tolerant once their root systems are well-established. They can withstand periods of reduced water availability, making them suitable for landscapes with drier conditions.

  • Young Plants: Newly planted crape myrtles, including ‘New Orleans’, require regular watering to aid in the establishment of their root systems. Adequate moisture is crucial during the initial stages of growth to promote healthy development.

  • Soil Moisture: While crape myrtles can tolerate periods of dry soil, consistent moisture can contribute to optimal growth and flowering. However, it is essential to avoid overwatering, as excessive moisture can lead to root rot and other issues.


Crape myrtles, including the ‘New Orleans’ cultivar, thrive in locations that provide ample sunlight. When choosing a planting site:

  • Full Sun: These plants prefer full sun exposure, which typically equates to at least 6 to 8 hours of direct sunlight per day. Adequate sunlight promotes robust growth, abundant flowering, and vibrant foliage.

  • Partial Shade: While crape myrtles can tolerate partial shade, they may produce fewer flowers and exhibit reduced vigor in shaded environments. To maximize their ornamental value, it is advisable to plant them in sunny locations.

  • Sun and Heat Tolerance: Crape myrtles, including the ‘New Orleans’ variety, are known for their resilience in warm climates and can thrive in regions with intense summer heat, provided they have access to sufficient sunlight.


Applying fertilizer can promote healthy growth and flowering in crape myrtles, including the ‘New Orleans’ cultivar. Here are essential considerations for fertilizing these plants:

  • Balanced Fertilizer: A balanced, slow-release fertilizer formulated for flowering shrubs and trees can provide the necessary nutrients for crape myrtles. Opt for a formulation with a balanced ratio of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, along with micronutrients.

  • Timing: Fertilize crape myrtles in early spring, prior to the onset of new growth. Avoid late-season fertilization, as this can stimulate late, tender growth that may be susceptible to damage from frost or cold temperatures.

  • Application Technique: When applying fertilizer, distribute it evenly within the plant’s drip line, avoiding direct contact with the trunk or stems. Water the plants thoroughly after fertilization to facilitate nutrient uptake.


The soil characteristics play a pivotal role in the growth and overall health of crape myrtles, including the ‘New Orleans’ variety. Consider the following aspects related to soil:

  • Well-Drained Soil: Crape myrtles thrive in well-drained soil that allows excess water to percolate freely. Avoid waterlogged or compacted soils, as they can lead to root suffocation and poor plant performance.

  • Soil pH: These plants prefer slightly acidic to neutral soil with a pH range of 5.5 to 7.5. Conduct a soil test to assess the pH of the planting site and make amendments as needed to achieve the preferred pH range.

  • Organic Matter: Incorporating organic matter such as compost or well-rotted manure into the soil can improve its structure and fertility, providing an optimal growing medium for crape myrtles.


Pruning is an essential aspect of crape myrtle care, contributing to the plant’s overall appearance, health, and flowering. Here are key points to keep in mind regarding pruning ‘New Orleans’ crape myrtles:

  • Timing: Prune crape myrtles, including the ‘New Orleans’ cultivar, during late winter or early spring, prior to the emergence of new growth. This timing allows for the removal of dormant branches and facilitates vigorous regrowth during the growing season.

  • Pruning Objectives: The objectives of pruning crape myrtles include shaping the plant, removing dead or diseased branches, improving air circulation, and promoting the development of strong, well-spaced limbs.

  • Techniques: Utilize proper pruning techniques, such as making clean, angled cuts to minimize the potential for disease entry. Avoid excessive or indiscriminate pruning, as this can lead to the production of weak, spindly growth and reduced flowering.


Propagating crape myrtles, including the ‘New Orleans’ variety, can be accomplished through several methods, including:

  • Softwood Cuttings: Propagate crape myrtles from softwood cuttings taken during the active growing season. The use of rooting hormone and a suitable rooting medium can enhance the success of softwood propagation.

  • Semi-Hardwood Cuttings: Semi-hardwood cuttings, harvested from the current season’s growth that has begun to mature, can also serve as viable propagation material for crape myrtles.

  • Division: Divide established crape myrtle plants to create new specimens, ensuring that each division possesses a sufficient number of roots and healthy growth points.

Container Popularity

The ‘New Orleans’ crape myrtle is well-suited for container cultivation, offering numerous advantages for gardeners and landscapers. Some key reasons for its popularity in container gardening include:

  • Compact Size: The ‘New Orleans’ variety exhibits a compact growth habit, making it an ideal candidate for container culture on patios, decks, and balconies.

  • Attractive Blooms: The abundant blossoms of the ‘New Orleans’ crape myrtle can provide a striking focal point in container arrangements, enhancing the visual appeal of outdoor living spaces.

  • Seasonal Interest: Container-grown crape myrtles, including the ‘New Orleans’ cultivar, contribute to seasonal interest, offering blooms, foliage, and potentially fall color in a portable and manageable format.

Common Diseases

While crape myrtles, including the ‘New Orleans’ variety, are generally resilient plants, they can be susceptible to certain diseases. Common diseases that may affect crape myrtles include:

  1. Powdery Mildew: This fungal disease manifests as a powdery white coating on the leaves and can impair the plant’s health and aesthetics.

  2. Cercospora Leaf Spot: Cercospora fungi can cause the development of circular, dark-colored spots on crape myrtle leaves, potentially leading to premature leaf drop.

  3. Anthracnose: Anthracnose infections can result in the appearance of dark, sunken lesions on the leaves, stems, and flowers of crape myrtles, affecting their vitality.

Disease Diagnosis

Upon observing symptoms of disease in crape myrtles, including the ‘New Orleans’ cultivar, it is essential to accurately diagnose the issue to implement appropriate management strategies. Common diagnostic steps include:

  • Symptom Observation: Take note of the specific symptoms exhibited by the affected plant, such as leaf discoloration, wilting, or unusual growth patterns.

  • Examination of Plant Parts: Inspect the leaves, stems, and flowers for signs of fungal growth, lesions, or other indicators of disease presence.

  • Consultation: Reach out to local agricultural extension services, plant clinics, or horticultural experts for assistance in diagnosing the specific disease affecting the crape myrtle.

Common Pests

In addition to diseases, crape myrtles, including the ‘New Orleans’ variety, may face challenges from certain pests. Common pests that can affect crape myrtles include:

  1. Aphids: These small, sap-sucking insects can cluster on the undersides of leaves, causing distortion and yellowing of foliage.

  2. Scale Insects: Scale insects can affix themselves to the stems and foliage of crape myrtles, where they feed on plant sap and create honeydew excretions.

  3. Spider Mites: Spider mites are microscopic pests that can cause stippling and webbing on crape myrtle leaves, leading to diminished plant vigor.

Botanist’s Tips

To ensure the successful cultivation and management of crape myrtles, including the ‘New Orleans’ cultivar, consider the following botanist’s tips:

  • Selecting Suitable Cultivars: When choosing crape myrtle varieties, consider characteristics such as mature size, flower color, and disease resistance to match the specific needs of your garden or landscape.

  • Proper Planting: Plant crape myrtles at the appropriate depth, ensuring that the root flare is at the soil surface and the root system has sufficient space to spread and establish.

  • Regular Monitoring: Conduct routine inspections of crape myrtles to detect signs of pests, diseases, or nutrient deficiencies early, allowing for prompt intervention.

Fun Facts

  • The ‘New Orleans’ crape myrtle derives its name from the vibrant city of New Orleans, evoking the spirit of Southern charm and elegance.
  • Crape myrtles have been esteemed for centuries, with their cultural significance evident in the poetries and artworks of various civilizations.

Links to External Resources

Discover more about crape myrtles, including the ‘New Orleans’ variety, by exploring the following external resources:

  1. American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA): Toxic and Non-Toxic Plant List – Crape Myrtle
  2. Clemson Cooperative Extension: Crape Myrtle Culture
  3. University of Florida IFAS Extension: Crape Myrtle Pruning

In conclusion, the ‘New Orleans’ crape myrtle, with its enchanting blooms, robust growth habits, and adaptability to varied growing conditions, stands as a testament to the charm and allure of this beloved plant genus. By understanding its culture, care requirements, and remarkable attributes, gardeners and plant enthusiasts can fully appreciate the beauty and resilience of crape myrtles in diverse outdoor settings.

As a plant scientist, I find great joy in exploring the remarkable world of crape myrtles and sharing insights to inspire a deeper appreciation for these captivating plants. Whether adorning a garden, gracing a landscape, or enlivening a container arrangement, the ‘New Orleans’ crape myrtle enriches outdoor spaces with its timeless elegance and natural splendor.

Picture of Peter Taylors

Peter Taylors

Expert botanist who loves plants. His expertise spans taxonomy, plant ecology, and ethnobotany. An advocate for plant conservation, he mentors and educates future botanists, leaving a lasting impact on the field.