Pink Velour Crepe Myrtle: Beauty Throughout All the Seasons

As a tribute to its originator, the plant commonly referred to as ‘Pink Velour’ or ‘Whitt III’, officially known as Lagerstroemia indica, showcases some of the most enchanting blooms compared to other crepe myrtle varieties.

Happily, it takes little maintenance to see this tree grow big and beautiful, but how big can this cultivar grow to?

With excellent care and minimal pruning, Pink Velour crepe myrtle trees can attain a maximum height of 12 feet with a mature spread of 2 to 6 feet wide. Most growers, especially in milder climates, typically see Pink Velours growing between 6 and 10 feet high.

Though small compared with other crape myrtle varieties, the Pink Velour packs a mighty punch with its intensely colored blooms and distinctive foliage changes in fall.

In this guide, we’ll walk you through its most impressive features, its ideal care needs, how to make the best use of a Pink Velour in your landscape, and much more.

Expand your Crepe Myrtle knowledge with my in-depth round-up of the Best Crepe Myrtle Varieties.

Pink Velour Crepe Myrtle

Crepe myrtle trees were first introduced to the States in 1790, and one of the best to be bred from these original species is the Pink Velour.

This bright and bold cultivar was introduced to the US in 1998 by world-renowned horticulturist and plant breeder Dr. Carl E. Whitcomb.

Dr. Whitcomb bred various crepe myrtle varieties, but Pink Velour is considered to be one of his most popular creations.

Keep reading to find out about the beautiful blooms on the Pink Velour, its growth rate, and its overall appearance.

Botanical nameLagerstroemia indica ‘Whit III’
Mature height10-12 ft.
Mature width2-6 ft.
Growth rateFast
Light preferences6 hours or more daily direct sun
Ideal soilWell-draining, slightly acidic, not overly fertile
Watering needsTwice daily every 3-5 days during establishment period, once weekly in dry conditions thereafter
Bloom timeJune to late September (or first frost)
Fall foliageOrange to coppery-brown

General Appearance

The Pink Velour is a large multi-stemmed shrub or mid-size tree with an upright vase habit featuring clusters of bright pink blooms and leathery privet-like leaves of glossy dark green that are stunning wine-red when they emerge in spring.

Pink Velour’s foliage then transforms to purple-green throughout summer before turning orange-coppery brown in fall.

The tree’s pale pinkish-gray bark also has an eye-catching color transformation of its own, peeling away with age to reveal a smooth cinnamon-red inner bark.

Growth Rate & Mature Size

Pink Velour is a fast-growing tree, growing up to 4 feet each year. With great care and its ideal deep-south climate, it can reach a maximum height of around 12 feet at maturity with an average height of 6-10 feet tall in milder areas.

It can take as little as 2 to 3 years for Pink Velour to reach its mature height with a mature width of around 2 to 6 feet, giving you a dense privacy screen in no time!

Blooms

As its name suggests, Pink Velour produces a dazzling display of large trusses of papery magenta-pink (almost neon) blooms with crimped petals.

These enjoy a lengthy blooming period, typically flowering in mid-summer and lasting on the branch until first frost.

TIP: When the blooms are spent and showing signs of fading vigor and color, dead-heading the old growth will encourage a new flush of flowers in late summer lasting into mid-fall.

Hardiness

Pink Velour can cope well with winter temperatures that dip to 0°F, but in much colder climates, the roots will survive, but the branches above ground will die.

If you live in areas that experience harsh frosts, it’s crucial to protect young trees for the first few winters until it becomes well-established with horticultural fleece or bubble wrap.

As a fast grower, a Pink Velour struggling in winter will happily re-sprout and reach 2-4 feet within a single season, so your ailing crepe myrtle tree can return as a more manageable shrub if this form appeals to you and your landscape!

Pink Velour Crepe Myrtle Growing Conditions

Now that we’ve covered Pink Velour’s blooming habits and key growth facts, let’s look at where you can hope to grow one of these beauteous trees, the soil type that suits it best, and its ideal sunlight requirements.

Grow Zones

USDA Grow Zones 7 through 9 are ideal for Pink Velour, covering Virginia and Texas and stretching from California up to the west coast. It will struggle in colder Zones 6 and 5 with only the roots surviving over winter.

Those north of Grow Zone 7a can still grow Pink Velour crepe myrtles in containers that can be brought indoors between late fall and early spring.

Sun Requirements

To enjoy the brightest of magenta-pink blooms on your Pink Velour, full sun is preferable (at least 6 hours of daily direct, unfiltered sunlight).

Small amounts of shade are tolerated, but it needs sun to flourish, so you could consider planting this crepe myrtle close to a warm fence or wall in your garden — this can help to shelter it from harsh weather conditions too.

Soil Preferences

Pink Velour will fare well in most soil types as long as they drain well and are not overly wet, so try to avoid planting these trees in a low-lying, damp location.

A slightly acidic soil (between 5.0 and 6.5 pH) is ideal, so opt for amended clay soil, loam, or sandy soil types.

Steer clear of overly fertile soils (rich in organic materials like manure, tree bark, etc.) as this can encourage lush foliage growth in place of the abundant pink blooms this tree is famous for!

The S&J Tree Farm and Nursery in Florida notes that Pink Velour crepe myrtles are not known to be salt tolerant, advising that trees should not be planted near ocean spray or where saline water is used for irrigation.

Pink Velour Crepe Myrtle Maintenance and Care

With the basic growing conditions mastered, it’s essential to keep your Pink Velour crepe myrtle looking its bright and beautiful best by acing its regular care.

Here’s how to keep this tree well maintained in terms of watering frequency, feeding, and when to prune.

Watering

Crepe myrtles are very tolerant of drought once they are well established, but right after planting, they’ll need a thorough watering twice daily every 3 to 5 days for about 2 months.

After this establishment period, give them a deep watering once a week in periods of little to no rainfall.

Fertilization

Pink Velour can be fertilized in early spring and perhaps again in late spring to support the second flush of blooms.

Use a small amount of slow-release granular fertilizer with a ratio of 8-8-8 or 5-10-5 each time, taking care not to overfeed as this will redirect energy to the foliage and not the flowers.

Alternatively, use a fertilizer made just for crepe myrtles, following package directions for dosage and frequency.

Pruning

As well-ordered upright shrubs/small trees, Pink Velours won’t require much pruning.

Always be on the lookout for dead or diseased branches or branches that cross each other as this can inhibit airflow and increase the risk of disease. These can be removed at any time.

If you want to control the height, spread, and overall shape of the tree, you can prune back no more than 1/3 of its growth in late winter during its dormant period.

Close-up look at a single bloom of a Pink Velour crepe myrtle.

Pests & Diseases 

Aphids, Asian Ambrosia Beetles, and Japanese Beetles are common nuisances of the Pink Velour tree as are the newer threat of crepe myrtle bark scale insects.

Collectively, these pests introduce fungi to the tree via egg laying and suck the sap from tree leaves, coating the foliage in a sticky honeydew substance that in turn attracts sooty mold.

The good news is that these pests can be spotted and hand-picked to prevent damage and can be managed with gentle, chemical-free insecticidal sprays such as neem oil.

A healthy watering and feeding regimen can also help prevent most pest infestations.

Pink Velour is resistant to most of the common crepe myrtle diseases, but it can be susceptible to sooty mold and Cercospora leaf spot in its lifetime.

The former is commonly caused by aphids or other sap-sucking pests, while the latter is caused by a fungus spread by poor airflow and consistently wet foliage.

If possible, it’s important to plant your Pink Velour crepe myrtle with a minimum spacing of 5 feet (taking mature spread into account) from nearby trees or buildings to promote better air circulation as poor airflow is one of the main contributors to disease in an otherwise hardy and tolerant variety.

Landscape Uses

Pink Velour’s smaller stature compared with other crepe myrtles makes it ideal in modest container gardens or as an accent piece in a small garden or front lawn.

When planted together, Pink Velour trees could also make a stunning privacy hedge with dense trusses of neon-pink blooms!

Companion Plants

Ideal pairings for your Pink Velour tree are plants and flowers that enjoy shady conditions and shallow soil to prevent nutrient competition and root disruption.

If opting for colorful flowers, you should decide whether to match your Pink Velour’s bright pink blooms or go with softer, neutral shades.

Here are some great companion suggestions:

  • Hostas
  • Coreopsis
  • Rose of Sharon
  • Chrysanthemums
  • Daffodil
  • Hibiscus
  • Verbena
  • Columbine
  • Dahlia
  • Impatiens
  • Geraniums
  • Creeping Lilyturf
  • Lantana

Where To Buy

This special variety is prized for its vibrant pink blooms, so you want to be sure you’re getting the actual Pink Velour cultivar and not crepe myrtles simply labeled “Pink.”

Most reputable online tree nurseries grow their trees from branch cuttings or from seed to ensure uniform quality and color.

The following sites are great places to buy your Pink Velour crepe myrtle:

Closing Thoughts

It’s hard not to be cheered by the sight of this gorgeous semi-dwarf shrub/tree with its elegant vase shaping and dazzling neon-pink flowers.

Growers can enjoy a long blooming period and unique burgundy-green foliage that puts on a beautiful display of purple-green to orange throughout the seasons.

Thankfully, Pink Velour crepe myrtles won’t require a lot of work to look good due to their high tolerance to drought and disease resistance.

Just be sure to respect their ideal Grow Zones, sun, and watering needs, and your garden will be pretty in pink!

Still not sure which Crepe Myrtle you like the best? Here are 2 other popular varieties to consider: