Crepe Myrtle Changing Colors

September 23, 2008 | By | Comments (12)

Q: My dwarf crepe myrtle bloomed in July—a beautiful deep red/watermelon color—same color it has been for ten years. I deadheaded the blooms, fertilized it, and two weeks ago it bloomed again. Guess what? It was pink. What happened to my beautiful red blossoms? Now the blooms are either pink or coral on same stems. I had repotted it in February and fertilized it.

HELP!
Jean

A: The Grump thinks the color change is related to the weather. Temperature and strength of sunlight can affect flower color. For example, flowers of some of the newer bright red crepe myrtles, such as ‘Dyamite,’ open white on a cloudy day. This is because the pigment responsible for red coloration, anthocyanin, is produced only in the presence of sunlight. I’ll bet your plant will be back to its original color next summer.

Grumpy

COMMENTS

  1. Steve Bender

    Cinda,

    Sorry, but you live too far north for crepe myrtles.

    October 28, 2014 at 3:06 pm
  2. Cinda barton

    I live in port Clinton Ohio and have tried several times to plant crape myrtles but they always die,,is the weather to harsh here or are they only a warmer climate tree.imwould love to have one

    October 27, 2014 at 5:16 pm
  3. Steve Bender

    RC,
    Stress on the plant (heat + plus just being planted) probably is responsible for the off-color. Once the plant gets established, you’ll probably see the color you want.

    June 23, 2014 at 3:29 pm
  4. rc

    Hi Grumpy! My landscaper planted a 9-10 foot twilight crape myrtle about 3 weeks ago. It is in full sun with good drainage- I am watering one time a week for 15 minutes plus we have a sprinkler system. We are in a hot area-Dallas, TX. I read that the twilight will bloom the darkest of the purple crape myrtles. This tree is actually blooming a fuchsia color- it is not even as purple as a Catawba. Do you know what may be wrong? Thanks!

    June 17, 2014 at 12:22 pm
  5. Amy

    I have had the same problem. I have a deep red myrtle, almost maroon. Last year mine started out red but the second set of blooms were also pink and white. But here is where I’m different. This year they were back to deep maroon, and I was sort of sad. I loved the fact that I had multiple shade during the season. I just hope the red proves more dominant because I really dislike pink myrtles due to the fact everyone down here in South Texas has either pink or lavender and I like being a bit different!

    November 28, 2011 at 3:52 pm
  6. Grumpy Gardener (His Magnificence)

    Brent,
    Yours is one of many complaints about color-changing crepe myrtles I’ve gotten this year. In fact, I don’t ever remember getting so many. I suspect the problem has to do with the genetics of many new varieties, such as ‘Dynamite’ and ‘Red Rocket.’ When there is an abrupt change of weather, like hot, sunny days turning to several cloudy days of rain, the flowers often open up red flecked with pink or white. Eventually, the blooms turn red again, but this is just the way this one behaves.

    September 12, 2011 at 4:57 pm
  7. BRENT MACINTOSH

    i JUST PLANTED A 5 GALLON RED CRAPE MYRTLE (DYNAMITE) THE BLOOMS WERE RED, 2 WEEKS LATER THE BLOOMS NOW ARE TURNING PINK AND WHITE. AFTER READING ALL OF THESE COMMENTS ABOUT COLOR CHANGE IS ANY BODY OUT THERE THAT HAS A CLUE AS TO WHAT IS HAPPENING TO OUR RED CRAPE MYRTLES AS TO THEIR COLOR CHANGE, I HAVE 12 CRAPE MYRTLES ALL COLORS BUT THIS IS MY FIRST RED, AND MY FAVORITE COLOR. PLEASE HELP i WANT MY RED CRAPE MYRTLE BACK, THIS IS THE SECOND ONE i HAVE PLANTED IN THE NORTH EAST SIDE OF MYHOME THAT HAS GONE FROM RED TO PINK.

    September 10, 2011 at 3:54 pm
  8. Grumpy Gardener (His Magnificence)

    Something weird is going on here. Crepe myrtles are not supposed to change color like that. One possibility is that the change is caused by weather or stress. Another is that the color changes slightly as the plant ages. I have not heard of soil pH affecting flower color, but I suppose it’s possible.

    August 29, 2011 at 12:41 pm
  9. BigDogMom

    I have 2 crepe myrtles that were planted 13 yrs ago. One bloomed light pink the first year, the other was a spectacular magenta – almost purple. Now the pink is white and the dark magenta/purple is now a very light lavender.
    This change occured over the course of about 5 years. I think it could be a soil change that causes the color change. I am trying to change the ph level to see if I get my vivid color back.

    August 25, 2011 at 9:19 pm
  10. Wilde gardener

    I, too, have crepe mertles that have changed bloom color. I have 2 trees, one was watermellon, one was very a light shade of pink. This year they are both the exact same color of pink! They’re about 20 feet apart, and 5 years old. Now they are both a hot pink color. I’ve always kept the suckers cut off.
    Could it have to do with the fact that they’re in the same soil?? Seems unlikely.

    August 24, 2011 at 4:34 pm
  11. Grumpy Gardener aka His Excellency

    I can think of two rather unlikely possibilities. One, your crepe myrtles were grafted and the pink rootstock has taken over the red graft. Two, your crepe myrtles through some genetic abnormality gradually changed color. Unfortunately, I think you’re stuck with the new color.

    August 13, 2009 at 7:32 am
  12. Trish

    I have two at least 10 yr-old
    red crape myrtles that over the last several years have gone from red, to dark pink and now for the last several years are a lighter pink. I don’t think the weather is responisible as this has been happening over a several year period. I’ve tried fertilizer and it doesn’t seem to make any difference.

    August 12, 2009 at 4:07 pm

Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s