Crapes don’t get any better when it comes to Natchez. Evaluated and released by the United States Department of Agriculture National Arboretum for its superior qualities, Natchez is the best of the best in tree-sized Crape Myrtles. Its proven overall performance in the landscape from the southernmost region of Florida to hardiness range 7A has resulted in an undeniable status of distinction.
A member of the Indian Series, the best of the best earns its distinction aesthetically from a variety of traits. Its large pure white flowering panicles (6-12” long by 4-7 ½” wide) frequently last for more than 100 days. The extraordinary cinnamon-brown exfoliating bark remains spectacular throughout the year. Natchez foliage is dark green and can turn from orange to brilliant red in the fall. When grown as a tree form, this cultivar is naturally vase-shaped with uniform multiple branching for a moderately dense canopy.
Combine the outstanding aesthetic qualities of Natchez with its environmental strengths of great cold and heat tolerance, excellent resistance to powdery mildew, and good resistance to Crape Myrtle aphids and it becomes clear why Natchez has been chosen the ‘Best of the Best.’ Natchez is clearly the undisputed king of Crape Myrtles.
Crape myrtle seeds will germinate mostly at any time, but they will do best in early spring when the days are lengthening. Soak the seeds in water, and let them stand in water for 24 hours. It does not require stratification. However, a brief cold period seems to induce germination. Sow seed 1/16" deep, tamp the soil, and lightly mulch the seed bed.
The Natchez will delight you with hundreds of delicate white flowers from June to September. Especially since it's a fast grower that delights all summer long. This tree also delivers unusual bark coloring of cinnamon on the trunk and stems, along with its smooth, sleek distinctive texture. This coloring gives you great winter interest with a brightness not found in most other trees during the cold season.
Once established, water occasionally; more in extreme heat. Crape Myrtles should be watered deeply about 2 times per week after planting for about 3 months. After this establishment period, water deeply about once weekly when conditions are dry. Crape Myrtles are drought-tolerant once established. Fertilize in early spring and when planting to give your tree a boost and help it achieve the best blooms. Crape Myrtles do not generally require pruning, but if needed, prune when they are dormant to remove any dead, dying, or crowded branches.
Late fall to early spring is the best time to plant. Watering well during the summer months is crucial to transitioning it into your garden. No matter when you plant, water your crepe myrtle well before putting it in the ground. This will help it take up water after planting.
Ideal planting in zones 7 - 10, 12 - 14, 18 - 21. We do recommend avoiding planting when temperatures are above 85 degrees. These trees prefer full sun, but can tolerate some shade and are adaptable to just about any soil as long as it is well-draining. The best plants are often located in irrigated landscapes.