The Acoma crape myrtle is a hybrid variety of the Lagerstroemia, most frequently known by its common name the crape (or crepe) myrtle. This particular variety only attains a height up to ten feet or so and is frequently reported as staying small in size and being more shrub-like instead of appearing like a tree.
These plants are a great option for planting in urban or suburban environments. Its small size makes it an ideal option for gardens or lawns, or it can be used as part of a commercial landscaping plan. In addition, this cultivar demonstrates greater resistance to powdery mildew—a frequent problem with some crape myrtle trees.
|Botanical Name||Lagerstroemia x ‘Acoma’|
|Common Name||Acoma crape myrtle|
|Mature Size||2 to 10 feet tall and 2 to 10 feet wide|
|Sun Exposure||Full sun|
|Soil pH||Slightly acidic to neutral|
|Bloom Time||Spring, summer|
|Hardiness Zones||7 to 9|
|Native Area||Asia, Australia|
How to Grow Acoma Crape Myrtle
The Acoma crape myrtle is a rewarding shrub or small tree to cultivate since it produces weeping branches with lush foliage and delicate blooms. While this variety requires abundant sun, it succeeds in a variety of soil conditions and has just basic needs for water or fertilizer.
Described as having a medium rate of growth, you’ll have plenty of time to watch these trees mature. Just don’t think you'll have much more to do than watch; the Acoma crepe myrtle requires only occasional pruning of its lower branches.
Full sun is necessary for crape myrtle to bloom to its full potential. These plants are known for their beautiful blooms, and to make the most of the flowering display, ensure that your crape myrtle receives at least six hours of sun each day.
The crape myrtle is adaptable to varying soil conditions—including loam, clay, or sandy soils, as long as the ground is well-draining. When it comes to soil pH, these plants prefer slightly acidic to neutral pH levels, but they can grow in slightly alkaline soils as well.
When first planted, the crape myrtle will need regular watering as it gets established. However, once mature, these plants have modest water needs and do well with about an inch of water per week.
They have proven to be relatively drought-resistant, but keep in mind that a lack of water during bloom season may result in a less showy display. If possible, supplement rainfall with regular watering if you experience an extended period of dry weather and you don’t want to see your flower production impacted.
Temperature and Humidity
Like other crape myrtle varieties that thrive in the sun and heat, the Acoma crape myrtle does well even in hot climates, and it has a tolerance for humidity or drought.
On the other end of the spectrum, it is hardy in USDA zones 7 to 9, and can generally withstand temperatures down to about zero-degrees Fahrenheit successfully.
For the best blooms, you may need to fertilize your crape myrtle. While these plants are adaptable to even low nutrient soil conditions, they do require sufficient nitrogen to support bloom production.
If you have soil that is lacking, then you might consider fertilizing your Acoma crape myrtle with a balanced formula—like an 8-8-8 or 10-10-10. The fertilizer can be applied at the start of the growing season and should be distributed immediately after rain or else watered sufficiently afterwards.
While the right amount of fertilizer can bring out the best in your crape myrtle, too much can have an adverse effect. Be cautious that you don’t supply too many nutrients—doing so can lead to foliage overgrowth and reduced blossoms.
Propagating Acoma Crape Myrtle
The most successful way of propagating Acoma crape myrtle is by cuttings. You can either use soft or hardwood cuttings, in addition to root cuttings.
Follow these steps to propagate with cuttings:
- Use clean scissors or garden shears to remove hardwood or softwood cuttings. Hardwood cuttings should be about eight inches in length. Take hardwood cuttings once the tree has become dormant for the year, typically in the late fall. Softwood cuttings are obtained in the spring or summer and should be about six inches in length with several nodes.
- Plant the cutting in a container with quality potting soil, leaving about one inch of the cutting above the soil line.
- Maintain soil moisture and position the pot in a location that receives plenty of sun. Softwood cuttings should see new growth in about a month. Hardwood cuttings will grow more slowly, but won’t be ready for planting until summer anyway.
- Once the cutting has taken root and is showing signs of new growth, it can be planted out. Be sure to water generously and position your new plant in a location with abundant light.
Toxicity of Acoma Crape Myrtle
If you’re concerned about your pets or other animals nibbling on your crape myrtle, you can rest assured that this tree will do them no harm. The Acoma crape myrtle is non-toxic, to both animals and humans.
Keep your Acoma crape myrtle in good form with light pruning; this is best done in the spring before the lush foliage fills the branches.
Since this hybrid variety is known for having a petite form, it won’t need extensive pruning to retain its height, but you may want to clean up low branches on the tree to show off the attractive red-and-white smooth bark.
In addition, you can spur the tree on to increased branching by pinching off new growth, which will encourage your crape myrtle to grow fuller and bushier rather than taller. In addition, remove spent blossoms to support further flowering.
While crepe myrtle trees are often subject to powdery mildew, one of the advantages of this hybrid variety is increased resistance to this fungus. However, Acoma trees are still subject to infestation by aphids. While this can produce a black mold, it isn’t overly threatening or damaging to the tree.