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No Leaves On Crepe Myrtle: Reasons For Crepe Myrtle Not Leafing Out

No Leaves On Crepe Myrtle: Reasons For Crepe Myrtle Not Leafing Out


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By: Jackie Carroll

Crepe myrtles are lovely trees that take center stage when they are in full bloom. But what causes a lack of leaves on crepe myrtle trees? Find out about why crepe myrtles may be late leafing out or fail to leaf out at all in this article.

My Crepe Myrtle Has No Leaves

Crepe myrtles are one of the last plants to leaf out in spring. In fact, many gardeners worry that there is something seriously wrong when the only problem is that the tree’s time just hasn’t arrived. The time of year varies with the climate. If you don’t see leaves by mid spring, check the branches for tiny leaf buds. If the tree has healthy buds, you’ll soon have leaves.

Is a crepe myrtle tree appropriate for your climate zone? Crepe myrtles are suitable for temperatures in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 6 or 7 through 9, depending on the cultivar. When winter temperatures are too cold or when you have a freeze too late in the year, leaf buds can suffer injury. In areas that have no freezing temperatures in winter, the tree doesn’t receive the expected signal that winter has come and gone. Crepe myrtles need freezing temperatures followed by warm weather so that it will know when to break dormancy.

If your crepe myrtle is not leafing out, check the buds. Remove a leaf bud and cut it in half. If it is green on the outside but brown on the inside, it has suffered cold damage from late freezes.

Buds that are brown all the way through have been dead a long time. This indicates a chronic problem that may have affected the tree for years. Scrape off some of the bark near the dead buds. If the wood under the bark is green, the branch is still alive. If you find dead wood, the best treatment is to cut the branch back to the point where the wood is healthy. Always make cuts just above a bud or side branch.

Crepe myrtles make lovely street trees, so we often plant them in the space between the road and the sidewalk. Unfortunately, trees planted in this location suffer a lot of stress that can inhibit crepe myrtle leaf growth. Stress factors for crepe myrtles used as street trees include heat, drought, soil compaction and environmental pollution such as salt spray and car exhaust. Frequent watering can reduce the amount of stress on the tree. You should also remove root suckers and weeds in the immediate area to prevent competition for nutrients and moisture.

Leaves of Crepe Myrtle Not Growing on a Few Branches

If only a few branches are failing to leaf out, the problem is likely a disease. Diseases that cause leaf bud failure in crepe myrtles are rare, but they are sometimes affected by verticillium wilt.

Treatment for verticillium wilt is to cut back the branches to a point where the wood is healthy. Always cut just above a bud or side branch. If most of the branch is affected, remove the entire branch without leaving a stub. Many people feel that pruning tools should be cleaned with a household disinfectant or bleach between cuts when dealing with diseases; however, recent studies show that unless the plant has oozing wounds, disinfecting is not necessary, and disinfectants are likely to damage your tools.

This article was last updated on

Read more about Crepe Myrtle


Lagerstroemia Species, Crape Myrtle, Crepe Myrtle

Family: Lythraceae (ly-THRAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Lagerstroemia (la-ger-STREEM-ee-a) (Info)
Species: indica (IN-dih-kuh) (Info)
Synonym:Lagerstroemia chinensis
Synonym:Lagerstroemia elegans
Synonym:Lagerstroemia minor
» View all varieties of Crepe Myrtles

Height:

Spacing:

Hardiness:

USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 °C (0 °F)

USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 °C (5 °F)

USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 °C (10 °F)

USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 °C (15 °F)

USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 °C (20 °F)

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 °C (25 °F)

Sun Exposure:

Bloom Color:

Bloom Time:

Foliage:

Other details:

Soil pH requirements:

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:

From semi-hardwood cuttings

From hardwood heel cuttings

From seed sow indoors before last frost

From seed germinate in a damp paper towel

Seed Collecting:

Allow pods to dry on plant break open to collect seeds

Foliage Color:

Bloom Characteristics:

Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs Water regularly do not overwater

Where to Grow:

Regional

This plant is said to grow outdoors in the following regions:

Capistrano Beach, California

Citrus Heights, California

Clovis, California(2 reports)

Fallbrook, California(5 reports)

Mountain View Acres, California

Washington, District of Columbia

Daytona Beach, Florida(2 reports)

Fort Lauderdale, Florida(2 reports)

Hollywood, Florida(2 reports)

Jacksonville, Florida(2 reports)

New Port Richey, Florida(2 reports)

Panama City, Florida(2 reports)

Vero Beach, Florida(3 reports)

Shawnee Mission, Kansas(2 reports)

New Orleans, Louisiana(2 reports)

Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts

Brooklyn, New York(3 reports)

Concord, North Carolina(2 reports)

Connellys Springs, North Carolina

Fayetteville, North Carolina

Mooresville, North Carolina

Morehead City, North Carolina

Raleigh, North Carolina(2 reports)

Taylorsville, North Carolina

Wilmington, North Carolina

Beaverton, Oregon(12 reports)

Charleston, South Carolina

Hartsville, South Carolina

Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

North Augusta, South Carolina(2 reports)

Saint Helena Island, South Carolina

Spartanburg, South Carolina

Summerville, South Carolina

Thompsons Station, Tennessee

Fort Worth, Texas(2 reports)

San Antonio, Texas(3 reports)

Gardeners' Notes:

On Oct 21, 2020, nyy_ct119 from Waterford, CT wrote:

Not very common but seen with some frequency in private gardens in very visible locations on the Connecticut shoreline (zone 7a). Crape Myrtles have definitely gotten more common in Connecticut over the past couple of decades, but they are not typically fully hardy (without wood die-back) north of Essex, Connecticut unless in a very sheltered, urban location.

On Jul 23, 2018, vadertime from Melbourne, FL wrote:

About 7 years ago, my wife and I rescued a juvenile Crape Myrtle from her back yard on the Space Coast of Florida. The former homeowner had planted it under a large Pine tree and it was struggling in the shadow of the larger tree. We transplanted him to the front yard and for a few years he looked like he might not survive the transplantation. However, the past couple of years he has been getting healthier and this year he has had some prolific blooms along with his rich branches of leaves.

About a year ago, I bought my retirement house in Fort Myers. I have been planting trees in the front yard, mostly Palms. However. after noticing the prolific bloom on the Crape Myrtle at the Space Coast house a few weeks back, I bought several Crape Myrtles for this house. Over the past . read more two weekends, I made trips to the Lowe's in Cape Coral to get these decidious, flowering trees. Now I have 4 of them planted in the front yard. A red, a purple and 2 pinks. I've got my fingers crossed and hope these take and do well over the next few years.

On Jun 17, 2015, wendymadre from Petersburg, VA wrote:

Crepe myrtles are common here in Petersburg, Virginia, Zone 7A. They come in many colors--a friend of mine has half a dozen white crepe myrtles planted along the sidewalk in front of her house, and in seven years or so they have grown up impressively. She pruned them carefully the first year or so, in order to accentuate the multi-trunk growth habit, and has demurred from committing crepe murder. (A pollarded tree looks like an anguished hand that has had its fingers amputated at the knuckles). However, the mature specimen (25 feet tall) in our back yard is an unapologetic, flagrant, and delightful magenta. It is healthy and when the blooms and leaves are gone, the peeling bark is an attractive feature in winter. We may move out to a nearby county, in order to develop more of a garden . read more than our half-acre affords, and I hope to be able to propagate some of our crepe myrtle for the new property. I haven't noticed any tendency for seedlings to sprout, although I wonder if it would be possible to cut off an independently rooted "runner." The dwarf crepe myrtles that have been developed recently could make beguiling Bonsai or potted patio trees.

On Apr 21, 2015, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

Most crepe myrtles are hardy only to Z7, but the US National Arboretum and Carl Whitcomb have been breeding crepe myrtles that are hardy here in southern New England Z6a. I've grown several for over 10 years and can testify to their performance here.

It's easy to hate a plant that's overused in the landscape, but here it's a rarity.

On Apr 20, 2015, h9kr4jg8ir5 from Spring, TX wrote:

Among any sort of native trees and shrubs, Crepe Myrtles look like ghostly, sickly, alien, pieces of plastic. Nothing grows beneath them or around them. No wildlife will touch them. They require careful pruning every year if you want that brief flash of gaudy pink to match everyone else on your block. This should be the official tree of McDonalds. They could call it McTree. If you want a tree that looks good on a large patio with plastic furniture, this could be perfect for you. If you don't have one already, you might want to hurry to your nearest big box store, lest you be the last one on your block to have the pink plastic toy tree in your yard. Your dog probably won't even urinate on it.

On May 13, 2013, cinemike from CREZIERES,
France (Zone 8a) wrote:

I looked at this entry to find out what plant #1 in the plant files was. These are grown by the local authorities here in France and to buy them is very expensive.
It is not the sort of tree I would choose.

On May 10, 2013, Mike_W from Sterling, MA wrote:

Last spring I had planted 4 different crepe myrtles in various spots in my yard. They thrived in our hot humid summer, one even bloomed for me. Considering this is Massachusetts, I was unsure of what would happen to them over the winter. The coldest night was a bone chilling +3'F and that week we had a couple nights in a row around 8 or 9 degrees. It is now early May and my crepes appear not to have suffered at all. They are all pushing out leaves and I should add that these are small, 16-20" tall plants. They weren't planted in a protected spot either. So I would tell anyone in southern New England who desires a crepe myrtle to go ahead and try one. I noticed the local Home Depots have started selling them.

On May 29, 2012, td1026 from Groveland, FL wrote:

I do not understand the fascination with this tree. Sure, the blooms look pretty all summer, but come winter, the tree defoliates and looks dead for months. Quite ugly. It is especially confusing as to why they plant this tree in south Florida, considering the variety of plants that will grow down there. I laughed driving down the road in Fort Myers in January, seeing a bunch of completely bare crepe myrtles planted alongside beautiful royal and coconut palms. Deciduous ornamental trees look out of place in Florida, especially planted next to palms. I could understand if it was native but it is not. There are more interesting trees, both native and non-native, that could be used in place of this one that also provide winter interest. I have come to hate this tree because it is so overused . read more in the south, from San Antonio, Texas to Miami, Florida and back. Also, the purple one is my favorite and the one I see the least. Of course.

On Mar 13, 2012, tracyb433 from Winter Haven, FL wrote:

I love Crape Myrtle trees. I have three in my lawn at this time and plan to plant more that I started from seed and cuttings. I have a white, lavender, and pink. I found the lavender shot up to ten feet in less than two years. They are beautiful when the limbs are weighted down by the flowers. I find in central Florida that lack of rain causes less blooms, so I plan to use irrigation to remedy that this year. And while one poster stated she hated the flowers covering the ground, I personally love the ground covered with whatever color flowers just adds more color to my lawn. And she also complained about sap. I tend to think she has aphids in her tree, and the droppings are sticky, as I have never had issues with sap, even in humid Florida. She could easily remedy that with a spray. Right . read more now the crapes are just coming out of dormancy, and the leaves are starting to sprout. I can't wait for the blooms to come!

On Oct 6, 2011, thinkinonit from Norfolk, VA wrote:

I recently moved into Norfolk VA. Where old neighborhoods built in 1942 had Crape Mertles placed every where in the neighborhoods by the city. Every house in my neighbood had trees including mine. (They actually belong to the city and you can not cut them down yourself). I have very old specimens of this, if not pruned correctly, they can become quite an eyesore I have to say.

On Aug 9, 2011, ratlover1 from Rising Sun, IN wrote:

We received a seedling from Arbor Day, and I am surprised to learn it is only supposed to be hardy to zone 7a (we're in zone 5b or 6a depending on where you look). This is only it's second summer in the ground here and it's doing magnificently. It grows very well and is drought-tolerant, but grows better with supplemental water, of course.
It hasn't bloomed yet, but I'm sure it will next year. It was a stick when we planted it in spring 2 years ago, and is a bushy three feet tall now. It would probably be bigger but the deer ate it to the ground last fall. So far, so good--we're keeping a close eye on it. It's surrounded by tall wildflowers which I think is protecting it a little.

On May 30, 2011, 4wiesgyz from Carmichael, CA wrote:

I have a couple of crape myrtles in my yard. They have become too tall for where I wanted them. I'd like them to have remained more "shrublike" because they are at the entryway to an out of the way patio. I have been told that I can cut them back seriously probably in late fall and they will survive.

Any advise or others with this question?

On Mar 22, 2010, dreadedfro from Myrtle Beach, SC wrote:

I hate this tree. It is incredibly invasive here. We had two of them in our yard. They sprout all over the yard.

One of the trees was planted 2 feet from the sewer line. Part of the sewer pipe was still clay and the roots broke through. After having sewage backup into our house four times, a good plumber figured out it was the crape myrtle. The roots were easily 3" diameter at 3 feet deep and after much excavating we found it definitely was in the pipe. It took 3 days to get the tree trunk out.

The other tree was in a 12' x 12' planting area. Nothing else seemed to grow in the area. After some digging, we found the roots had cross-hatched the entire space. I'm still digging out roots just pulled out two 12' long roots with 3-4" diameter. I had to cut. read more them at the edges of the planting area with a tree saw since they went under the walk, under the driveway, and under the foundation.

On Aug 16, 2009, Kenotia from Bedford, TX wrote:

This is just personal opinion speaking but I HATE this tree/shrub. There are 3 on our property, one in shade, two in sun. They bloom prettily, but the blooms make the smaller branches droop and if you so much as look at this thing wrong, it sheds leaves and the flowers like no tomorrow. The previous owners of my house planted one right in front of the back door so it bends over the concrete patio. Sap drips from them, making the concrete sticky and attracting ants all over in front of the door.

The one out front in shade is tamer and only needed basic pruning, but I still have red petals everywhere, covering every inch under all three. If I didn't know they were unkillable, I'd attempt to cut them down and pry them up.

On Aug 2, 2009, chezfran from Portland, OR wrote:

Agree with Tacoma reviewer, NW apparently not the place for this kind of tree. Fell in love with this tree in Claremont, CA, obviously better suited there. Have seen a few succeed here in very sunny parking strips, but we're further south than Tacoma. But my yard isn't hot/sunny long enough for our Arapaho Crape Myrtle (3 flowers last year, none so far this year) and Acoma Crape Myrtle(no flowers in 2 years). Also keep having to clean off spider mites on new growth. Leaves and bark pretty, but I want the flowers!

On Jul 26, 2009, jackstangle from La Conner, WA wrote:

Someone says this plant grows in Tacoma WA. I am about 70 miles north of there & I have had mine, (zuni) for over 10 yrs & it has NEVER bloomed. It is in an all day sunny spot, fairly dry & this yr especially we have gone nearly 3 mos. with less than an inch of rain & still no blooms, so it is not as if it's too cold or too wet. I am tempted to cut it down. WHY do nurseries sell you things that they know won't perform here?

On Jun 20, 2009, _Astrid_ from Ocala, FL wrote:

We have these all over and they are so beautiful when in bloom! Pinks, whites are my favorites.

Since we didn't have any my husband went today and finally got a few to put around our property. They are still small so I will come back to update on how they are doing in a few months. I can't wait to see them taller and in full bloom. We got the pink Crape Myrtles.

By reading the comments on these trees, it looks like it will be an easy growing process. Great for me since i'm not a green thumb type of gardener.

I tag this off as being neutral for now.

On Mar 1, 2009, purplesun from Krapets,
Bulgaria (Zone 8a) wrote:

I grow crepes at my garden in Krapets, Bulgaria, a village that is situated right on the Black Sea coast. This is the driest and windiest region in Bulgaria that also happens to have a quite alkaline soil. The only saving grace of the place is that the soil is of an extremely good quality - it's extremely fertile, drains perfectly, and plants that grow in it don't seem to suffer much from the regular droughts that we have every summer. As far as the crepe myrtles go, I have been growing a single specimen for 5 years now and it has never failed me. It was flattened the first two winters by cold winds, but has been quite robust ever since. It has never been bothered by aphids or powdery mildew, the latter I guess would be attributable to the constant breeze that blows in both directions.

On Oct 4, 2008, hdsink from Allen, TX wrote:

This is not my most favorite of trees as there is an over abundance of them in my yard. At last count I discovered two more among the red-tipped photinia bushes/trees on the east side of the house, which makes a total of 19. I am also reminded of two others that used to be in the yard whenever I mow over their stumps.

Honestly, these are beautiful when they bloom. They will stay that way until it rains again. Every time it rains the blooms are washed away. When you mow and bump into one of these, expect to be covered with the blooms. They fall off very easily. I thought the butterfly bush was changing color one day only to find out it was the blooms of the crepe myrtle falling onto it.

These trees are very drought tolerant and provide great shade depend. read more ing on how you prune them. Unfortunately, these trees are like boxwoods as they can develop new growth from their root system. This all depends on the type of Crepe Myrtle you get. You need to weekly trim off new growth near the base of the tree as it will consistantly keep putting off new sprouts.

I have had to pull up two of these as they are intrusive in gardens. They must enjoy very loose soil just as boxwoods. Excessive watering will cause rotting of the bark, which will lead to disease and insect infestation. Spiders love to make their homes in these trees. I have also noticed that ants of various kinds like to travel through crepe myrtles possibly searching for more food. Looks like I need to sprinkle some corn meal around the base of these trees to get rid of them.

On Sep 11, 2008, allynajsmimi from Conroe, TX wrote:

We moved onto family property, and in the frontyard along fence, there stands 4 beautiful crape myrtles. 2 fuchsia and 2 white. Our cousin gave me 2 small ones in pots, didn't think they were going to make it. My hubby went fishing and needed to bury parts that were not edible. He dug 2 deep holes, placed fish parts in them,then added these 2 small dead looking plants.

They are 3 feet tall now, (just planted around March/ April), and have beautiful fuchsia flowers. They don't cause me any grief as they are far enough away from house. I keep telling hubby to go fishing when I want to plant something or baby an almost looking dead plant LOL.

On Aug 15, 2008, swgiff from Garrett Park, MD wrote:

there are many crape myrtles in our area, in a variety of light to deep pink shades. i have always admired them, so i planted a young tree in my yard. the first summer it developed a bad case of powdery mildew from the high humidity in this area. the woman at the nursery told me that it is not unusual with young plants, especially during their first year, to fall prey to powdery mildew. i treated it throughout the summer with a commercial spray, and this year it is thriving, and even squeeked out some little blooms. i can't wait to watch it grow and hope that it will be as stunning as those across the street!

On Jul 9, 2008, ShereeGardner from Keota, OK wrote:

My neighbor and others in my area have these beautiful trees, and I have seen no mess from the leaves, or fallen blooms. They do little to no matenance on them at all and they have no sign of mildew or any fungus. Its very hot and humid here so Im thinking these will do beautifully. I bought 2 at walmart, of all places! They are thriving so far, Pink and a red one. The tag says 10 ft tall at maturity, I love them!

On Jul 3, 2008, cangrowanything from Livingston, TX wrote:

They are pretty and can be shaped and pruned. They add color when other things are having trouble w/ the TX heat and sometimes limited or excessive rain. They come in a variety of colors. I saw some wonderful RED ones near Hutto, TX.

On May 4, 2008, CarloInTX from Denton, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

I like the way these plants grow and the color it adds to the landscape. The drawbacks are the spent buds that drop all over the place at the end of the season and the tendency of the plant to get powdery mildew. I have seven of these in a row planted along the driveway here, and the first couple of years we moved in, they were great. The last two years, I've been battling white powdery mildew that at times gets so bad it looks like it's been flocked.

On Mar 18, 2008, malchow456 from Edmond, OK wrote:

We have many mature Crape Myrtles on our land (they were there when we moved).

On Sep 13, 2007, lks928 from Elkton, KY wrote:

We planted a small, what I assumed to be, bush in our front yard last fall which we had dug up from the front of my mother in laws burnt down house. I didn't even know what it was!! lol Anyway, I was at a friends house when I noticed a tree in her back yard that resembled the little bushy mass that I had planted behind an oak in the front yard next to our porch. I was pleasantly surprised to discover what I had although now I am going to have to transplant this in another location.

On Jul 24, 2007, tropicaldude from Orlando, FL wrote:

Here in Orlando it's often planted along city roads but when the winter comes this tree turns into the ugliest sight for months without leaves. At least the Oleander is evergreen. Like IslandJim said some colors look flat (sort of like a plastic flower look).
My mother planted one in the front yard that's nice right now with an open form that looks like an exploding fireworks. It shall stay that height, around 5' feet otherwise I'll be tempted to cut it down or move it when it loses its leaves again.
Down in the Caribbean it's evergreen so it's not so bad but in Florida, I wish this city planted nicer evergreens instead of Crape Myrtles and those dull oaks they usually plant which are ugly the whole year.

On Jul 9, 2007, praisin247 from Fairfield, OH wrote:

New to this site. I just purchased 3 of these plants from Lowe's to use as a screen on the side of my driveway. I live behind a strip shopping center. The rear of the building is visible from my front porch. I liked the fact that they would get bushy, require little maintenance & flower. I'm hoping that they'll provide some cover for the finches that have been frequenting the small ornamental pond I have in my front yard. The lot has full southern exposure. I was concerned about the amount of sun they'll be getting, but if the folks out in Texas are growing them with ease, I don't think my Midwest sun will bother them at all. My neighbors are already loving them because of the color they're adding to the neighborhood. I have sandy soil with good drainage. I have great expectations f. read more or these bushes.

On Jun 4, 2007, luvmydaylilies from Dundalk, MD (Zone 7a) wrote:

I am in central Maryland, and have several 10 yr old crapes. The largest has recently developed a problem in the foliage. The entire tree leafed out perfectly, but now, half of the tree(the south side), has leaves that are curled from stem to tip. They are green and supple. I see no visible pests, fungi, mildew, etc, and have shown it to my local extension service, who was unsure what the problem was. One suggestion was drought stress, another was frozen buds.

On May 9, 2007, death_trooper30 from Salyersville, KY wrote:

On Mar 25, 2007, peachespickett from Huntington, AR wrote:

Not a big fan. Tedious to properly maintain, prone to mildew, planted anywhere and everywhere. Show me one that's sixty feet tall and fifty feet wide and I'll be impressed. Oh, and please don't chop their tops off. You're basically killing the tree and growing suckers. Thin out crossing or inward growing branches, cut off seed spikes, maybe cut back a few of the taller branches by a foot or two. But don't turn it into a stump please! It's so ugly.

On Dec 14, 2006, rancherhusband from Mico, TX wrote:

My first experience was when living in San Antonio, TX 20 years ago. The crape myrtle that we planted was always prone to fungal disease. I have since heard that there are varieties that are less affected. Would be interested in knowing a red variety of that ilk.

On Oct 1, 2006, Gina_Rose from Hollywood, FL (Zone 10b) wrote:

My grandmother has had a Crape Myrtle for many, many years, and only recently did I discover a volunteer growing- so I've potted it to possibly plant here at my house. It's beautiful when it does bloom, and a pretty tree when it isn't in bloom. It grows near our banana plants, and I've never come across any sap or drippings from the Crape Myrtle, nor seen anything "sticky" marring the top of the large banana leaves.

Crape Myrtles wouldn't make good shade trees, but I think they'd work great for any "filtered light" plants to live beneath.

These trees are definitely deserving of their popularity! :)

On Sep 30, 2006, Alan_Taylor from Macon, GA (Zone 8a) wrote:

This plant is cheap, and it requires no maintenance. That's why it's popular. Personally, I think it's a menace. I lived with one in my yard for eight years and hated it. I had to move away from the plant because I couldn't kill it. Near my new home is a park at which the city decided to plant these gnarly-looking weeds. They rain sticky sap all over the park benches, rendering them useless. Avoid this palnt at all costs! Don't get suckered into the crepe myrtle fad. The fad will pass, but the plant will be a menace forever!

On Aug 31, 2006, frostweed from Josephine, Arlington, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

Lagerstroemia indica is Naturalized in Texas and other States.

On Aug 24, 2006, hellnzn11 from Rosamond, CA (Zone 8b) wrote:

In this zone fast, easy growing plants are hard to come by. Where I live things don`t grow well from seed unless you have put a lot of time and money into the soil first. Not the crape Myrle, it took off a few weeks after I soaked them and are several inches tall a couple weeks after that, strait in the clay soil.

On Aug 17, 2006, weluv2garden2 from Seaford, NY (Zone 6b) wrote:

We love our crepe myrtles ! After frequent travel to the Carolinas, we fell in love with them. Purchased as small shrubs in 1 gallon pots down in the south, we thought they would not do well, initially. Especially since our boys trampled them over & over playing basketball nearby. Now in a new spot, they are doing fantastic! One is 12' tall with beautiful multicolored bark, the other is a mini shrub version that is sooooo prolific and about 3' x31/2'. They bloom up here later in summer (August on) when everything else is loosing altitude. The Brooklyn Botanic Garden has a wonderful selection showing pruned & unpruned versions of them.

On Aug 4, 2006, winging from Cincinnati, OH (Zone 6a) wrote:

I inherited two mature crape myrtles planted together when I purchased this home. They are alongside the house with an eastern exposure, slightly downhill from the very sunny front yard. They do well in that protected spot and are quite lovely in full bloom. One is a bright bright pinky rose and the other is white.

My husband complains about how far they lean down over the driveway when they get heavy with blooms and it rains. He also complains about the pink petals all over the cars. I don't mind that so much.

On Jul 8, 2006, katlowe from Pasadena, TX wrote:

We planted 2 Crepe Myrtles in our front flowerbeds about 4 yrs ago and they are just beautiful. Our neighbors comment on their beauty all the time. Very low maintenance as well.

I was weeding out the beds a month ago and noticed about 6 strange looking "weeds". As I examined them closer, I realized they were baby Crepes and so I tried transplanting one to the backyard but no success. My neighbor took 2 shoots and tried just placing them in water but no success. I will try the sandy pot method I read about here because I would love to grow more of these.

On Jun 29, 2006, pino661 from Amelia, OH (Zone 6a) wrote:

I did my Graduate studies in Athens GA and feel in love with Crape Myrtles. I am now back in my hometown of Amelia, OH and know of only one home that has crape myrtles. An old home owned by an ederly woman and her myrtles are large, bush-like shrubs, protected by the rather large house. I have several crape myrtles that I planted last summer. Many of them were from the clearance area of Lowes garden section (burnt out from the summer heat), a few others were from Kentucky through an Ebay auction.
All have made it through a fairly mild winter. Likewise, my Dusty Miller has survived and now has yellow flowers in its second year. The Ebay crape myrtles had all died back to the ground where as the Lowe's crape myrtles did not and are producing growth on last year's branches. Also, one. read more of the Ebay crapes had been mowed over in earlier spring( not by me!) and I thought it was dead, so I pulled it up, scratched the bark and saw a green cambium layer. I replanted it and after a good rain it put out a nice green branch.
Generally, crape myrtles do not grow in SW Ohio, so- so far so good. I believe the Lowes trees are bred to be hardier for this climate. I look forward to having grown trees full of blooms!

On Jun 23, 2006, creeping_jenny from Rochester, NY wrote:

For many years I admired the mysterious bush my neighbors had growing in front of their house. I used to think of it as a summer azalea, because that was what it resembled, superficially. When I finally asked my 90-year-old neighbor what the bush was, he explained that he had brought a cutting of it with him from Texas when his family moved up here to Rochester, NY (zone 6a-5b). I couldn't quite understand what he called it in Spanish, so it still took me awhile to figure out what the heck it was.

Once I found out that it was a crepe myrtle, I was intrigued, especially since I had never seen it growing up here. My neighbor's bush is about 3 feet high, despite a northwest exposure and winter storms that can drop 2 feet of snow. It comes back every year, mainly from the base,. read more and blooms late summer.

My neighbor gave me some fall cuttings, but I think the timing was wrong--they didn't take, even indoors. There aren't any crepe myrtle plants available at nurseries here, either. My only option was to start some mail-order seeds indoors during Winter 2005. I ended up planting out several vigorous plants with pretty pink, lavendar, and white blooms in a sheltered area of my garden. About half of them made it through winter 2006 and have resprouted this June. I'm excited to see how they will do this summer, and if they will get appreciatively bigger.

On Jun 18, 2006, adoehe from Middletown, OH wrote:

plant is located on south east corner of our house. It usualy dies back in the cold winter,but comes back in spring. their are about three in our nearest town that we have seen. we injoy this plant ,only wish it would not die back as much.

On May 2, 2006, knautiamom from South Bend, IN wrote:

I grow this in a zone 5 climate, with protection from the wind from the north, and a southern exposure. It adds a beautiful end to summer here in northern Indiana.

On Apr 12, 2006, Monkaree from Jackson, LA wrote:

This tree grows well with little maintenance in south Louisiana. hot and humid. We have over 30 various types lining our driveway and around the property and the only maintenance we've done is to prune suckers and cross-branches every year. It's not a big deal for us because we just take care of suckers when we're out cutting the grass. I can't stand to see a tree that's had its foliage lopped off down to the trunk. We prefer to let them form a more natural shape and only trim what is necessary to avoid a painful whack to the head while cutting grass on the tractor. My favorite is the Nachez because of its cinnamon colored bark and large clumps of white flowers. The only caveat I have for these trees is around a pool. We have one next to our pool and will be removing it this summer becaus. read more e of the "trash" it deposits into the pool. The small dead flowers and seed pod pieces go through the skimmer baskets and end up in the filter basket (sometimes in the filter) just before the pump. just more to clean out and maintain.

On Mar 6, 2006, FLtropics from Pompano Beach, FL (Zone 10b) wrote:

I planted it next to a fence so that it gets part shade until 11Am and again after 2PM. It is growing beautifully in my South Florida yard.

On Jan 26, 2006, raisedbedbob from Walkerton, VA (Zone 7a) wrote:

I have only one - the cultivar is Hopi. All I do is some occasional suckering. Because it's a dwarf cultivar, pruning is very easy.

On Jan 22, 2006, Victoria945 from Wilmington, NC wrote:

We live on the coast of N.C. in the beautiful town of Wilmington. Our home is located on a tidal creek off of the Intracoast Waterway and we have transplanted two 5 Ft. Myrtles in our backyard right on the water. They are a sight to behold when in bloom and so far they seem to love their location. Love the tree and want to keep it through thick & thin.

On Dec 16, 2005, casonbang from Plano, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

The previous owners of my house thought it would be a good idea to plant a Crape Myrtle. This massive 15 foot weed hung over the pool and dropped blooms for months. and months. We couldn't empty the skimmer baskets fast enough.

Eventually we chainsawed it down to a stump since it just wasn't cost-effective to move. Two months later, this October, we notice it was 7 feet tall again! Luckily just some weedy-looking shoots. I still can't believe it.. amputated and left for dead and it just won't die.

Plant this by a pool and you'll regret it.

On Sep 16, 2005, escambiaguy from Atmore, AL (Zone 8b) wrote:

I live near Mobile,AL and agree this plant is sometimes overplanted. I mainly get tired of seeing the pink and red ones. I like the"softer" white and lavender ones. Natchez,Yuma,and Muskogee are my favorites. It's good to only have maybe one or two of these in a average sized yard, that way they don't overpower the landscape. I have blended them with native wax myrtle on a fenceline.

On Sep 10, 2005, Breezymeadow from Culpeper, VA (Zone 7a) wrote:

I am not a fan of this tree, although that is merely personal preference/observation.

Here in VA I find it way too overused in the landscape, & except for the white (one of which I do have on my property), I find the other flower colors almost obscenely garish. In fact, most of the pinks I've dubbed "Pepto Bismol trees" - lol!! A large specimen blooming like a neon sign can be difficult to effectively work into a nice landscaping scenario, & on a hot day is almost an eyesore.

Again - I do realize that this is just personal feeling, which is why I made my rating "neutral" rather than "negative".

On Sep 10, 2005, rmp064 from La Vergne, TN wrote:

Ours are absolutely fabulous! Nothing prettier in the yard this time of year! Just about the time everything else is looking a little "haggard and worn", the Crapes start putting on their spectacular show! I have terniflora Clematis (Sweet Autumn) winding up and thru a very nice pink one on the front fence-row . just gorgeous! My white one (Natchez?) is so tall and heavy with blooms, it actually looks like a "weeping" variety. And except for some mildew problems, mine are very hardy and prolific. One nice mature tree actually had to be transplanted up close to the house due to a driveway extension. not only did it make it. it looks more sensational every year! I recently discovered a supplier who offers a "landscaper special" 20/ $125. I think I'm going to order it. (I just hat. read more e the thought of having to dig 20 more holes this time of year. I'm already hot and tired and ready for fall!!)

On May 2, 2005, ladyannne from Merced, CA (Zone 9a) wrote:

Sensational landscaping plant. Requires very little water or care and produces incredible colour. The seeds are very prolific when picked, dried and planted, so I am not sure why there are not hundreds of babies below the mother plant.

On Apr 13, 2005, nevadagdn from Sparks, NV (Zone 7a) wrote:

This is growing slowly, very slowly for me. I started with a small "tube", and it has overwintered two years in a row, getting a little larger each year. Another variety, purchased in California, gave up the ghost this winter (presumably because of 4' of snow over the very small plant). The one that's surviving is 'Sioux', and it's making steady, if slow progress.

On Apr 13, 2005, emama2 from Tampa, FL wrote:

I love Crepe Myrtle. Just bought a house in August and I will definitely give a Myrtle the best spot in the front yard!! (there were no trees previously planted) But, there is a woman that will give me one if I dig it up. It is about 20 ft tall and approx 19 inches around the trunk. I am hesitant to take on a job like that. not only to maybe hurt the root system but I would only have a shovel to do it. My son said the root system is fairly spread out. I could also prune it back so it would handle easier, but don't know if any of this is advisable. Maybe somebody could email me with some suggestions. would really appreciate any enlightenment. They are such beautiful plants, I can't wait to have one, whether i dig it up or buy it. this summer will be spectacular!!

On Apr 9, 2005, nick89 from Tallahassee, FL (Zone 8b) wrote:

Although Crape myrtle is an excellent tree, its many good attributes have led to it being a bit overplanted, by the highway department in particular. It has a nice long bloom period, survives heat and humidity and doesn't make much of a mess. It only rarely seems to self sow which is unusual for how many seeds it produces. I have grown a very vigorous seedling transplanted from a lawn but it hasn't bloomed yet. Also easy to propagate from layering. Hacking all the branches off does NOT make the tree flower better and is a bad practice that should be stopped!

On Apr 2, 2005, normhill007 from Simpsonville, SC wrote:

I had never seen a Crepe Myrtle being from the snowbelt in Northeast Pennsylvania. When we moved to South Carolina when my wife was relocated, they were everywhere and they were used heavily for accent trees in our subdivision, including the front corners of my property line. I decided to plant a couple of extras in my front yard and watched for two growing seasons these scrawny plants that appeared near death. After deciding to to major landscaping in my back yard, I bought 3 more from Walmart for half what Lowes was charging-(the old what the heck, if I dies I saved a few bucks)-I also transplanted the scrawnyr 3rd season out of dormancy near death plants to the back and they took off like crazy-they thrived-quadrupled in size and actually had a good batch of blooms-can't wait to se. read more e what they do this season

On Sep 2, 2004, dlucy from Memphis, TN wrote:

Crepe Myrtle grow in this area like weeds. Only they are beautiful, as opposed to weeds. There are so many colors. I like the lavender and purple best. We have some fuchsia pink ones that have grown over 40 ft tall. They are completely out of hand. I want to cut them now, but don't want to harm them.

On Sep 2, 2004, cortney12 from Forney, TX wrote:

When I was a child, my mother had planted crepe myrtles in our backyard, and they grew so well. Then, a few years later, I got a german shepherd dog with an affinity for "pruning" anything that grew in the backyard. (Re: chewed anything in sight.) Needless to say, my dog chewed those bushes down to the ground. Later, when she was gone, I'll be danged if those bushes didn't grow back, and prettier than before! It had been easily four years since those bushes had tried to grow. They're just so hardy, and they're attractive. Now, I've got a new house, with absolutely NO landscaping. Guess what the first bush I'll be planting is.

On Aug 17, 2004, greeneyesrme2 from Jeffersonville, IN wrote:

We are buying a house that has a beautiful crape myrtle right in front of the dining room window. It is beautiful and actually made me like the house because the plant added such much "curb appeal" to it. My only concern is whether we should cut it back to keep it below the window or let it grow! The other concern I have is that it's so close to the front porch, will it have growing room. We'll see but would appreciate feedback on this message if possible.

On Aug 11, 2004, DaisyJen from Pensacola, FL (Zone 8b) wrote:

If you are driving through Pensacola, Florida, you will see Crape Myrtles of all colors everywhere. They are so interesting because of the beautiful colors and the peeling bark. If I find a young plant, I will pot it up for a friend. Be sure to dig them up before they get too large. Before mine grew too large, I snipped the branch just below the seeds, and the reblooming was prettier than the first blooms.

On Aug 10, 2004, Buckdude from Lees Summit, MO wrote:

My mother planted one about 35 years ago here in Lees Summit, MO and it keeps growing beautifully every year. I try to keep it going now.

On Jul 25, 2004, IslandJim from Keizer, OR (Zone 8b) wrote:

It's almosr un-American to say it, but I don't care for this plant very much. I find all the colors [except the white, "Natchez"] to be flat and dull. And if you grow it as a tree, you'll spend a lot of time cutting off suckers. But with all the hype and tripe that have been given it, it's easy to see why it's become a darling of highway landscape departments.

On Jul 25, 2004, MotherNature4 from Bartow, FL (Zone 9a) wrote:

Much good information has already been recorded above, but I don't think anyone mentioned cutting off the clusters of seeds to encourage more blossoms and bushier branches.

On Jul 24, 2004, jester from San Antonio, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

A tree that not only has beautiful flowers but also bark that is very attractive and interesting. Many types and all grow well in San Antonio. Hundreds in my neighborhood alone. My personal Crepe Myrtle has bright pink flowers 30' tall with three very thick trunks. I believe the tree is 20 years old (I have lived here for 8 years).

On Jul 16, 2004, aviator8188 from Murphysboro, IL (Zone 7a) wrote:

Grow's well along with other Crape Myrtle's here in extreme southern Illinois(USDA zone 7a). Tree Crapes, although all Crape Myrtle's are actually bushes are great! I love the single trunk which gives it that "bonsai" look. This tree Crape is much more entertaining than any of the mini Crape's. Although most Crape's grow throughout zones 6 - 10, the Tree Crape grow's best in zones 7 and above. Leaves are yellow, red, and orange in the fall. Lagerstroemia indica is also a very fast grower!

On Jun 15, 2004, Wingnut from Spicewood, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

Beautifully tough tree for this area. I have a row of six planted by my mother and father 30 years ago. I do nothing to them (neither did Mom really) besides prune so the elegant trunks can be seen and they're doing wonderful! Every now and again I notice aphids on them, but they seem to clear up on their own by the time I get the ingredients together to spray for them. This tree, once established, laughs at the heat and dryness of Texas.

On Nov 16, 2003, nipajo from Dallas, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

This can be invasive if you do not like the crape mytle. However either birds are planting it or it has underground roots. It does transplant well but is prone to mildew. I planted one in the front yard and now have three in the back. Must be the birds.

On Nov 13, 2003, ozzer from Amsterdam,
Netherlands (Zone 9b) wrote:

Added this tree to my collection about two months ago, colours are reported to be purple/white.

This specimen is a Chinese yamadori, and the chance acquisition of this tree set the foundation/bonding of a new relationship with an excellent and knowledgeable bonsai grower/supplier, just can't wait 'till Spring.

On Nov 12, 2003, noxiousweed from El Sobrante, CA (Zone 9b) wrote:

What a pleasure the crape myrtle is in bloom - then it blends into the woodwork for the winter. I am forever looking below crape myrtles on public property for their inevitable offspring, which I dig up, take home, and (at least attempt to) grow into a standard.

The one we have that is in shrub form gets mildew on its bottom half. I'm a fan of the standard anyway - but moreso for this plant.

On Aug 24, 2003, bellagato from Atwater, CA wrote:

Hi, I live in sunny Central California and Crepe Myrtle is a very popular plant. I don't personally have one but is on my list as one I would like to have. It is grown as a tree and is very hardy and very beautiful when in bloom. It comes in different colors too. pink, lavender and white is what I've seen.

On Aug 19, 2003, Bairie from Corpus Christi, TX (Zone 10a) wrote:

The beautiful pinkish lavender crepe myrtle that grows in a sheltered corner of my house was here when I bought the house in '91. It is about 20' tall, and struggles to get some sunlight. The upstairs bedroom gets all the benefit because that's where it blooms. Crepe myrtle is probably the most used plant (along with oleander) for landscaping here in the Coastal Bend of South Texas. Usually they are seen around large apt. complexes or large buildings because they are so tall and full---trees in fact. They grow fast and bloom beautifully almost all year. In fall when we have the first chill (I can't say cold--we don't have that), the leaves turn bright bronzey orange. I have never done anything to or for mine, except to cut down a tree near to it because the tree was too close to the . read more foundation of the house. The CM appreciated that and was able to spread out a little more. It would be a lot happier out in the open in full sun and not crowded as it is now. But it's still gorgeous! and healthy!

On Aug 18, 2003, broozersnooze from Jacksonville, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

These are very popular in NE Florida & tolerate our winters very well. They come in several colors from what I've seen - white & different shades of pink & lavender.
Some people make the mistake of trying to prune them like a shrub but they're best left alone.

On Aug 17, 2003, suncatcheracres from Old Town, FL wrote:

I grew several varieties of crape myrtles in Georgia and found Japanese beetles love them, especially in newly disturbed ground like a new subdivision. We spent a bunch of money on milky spore, which gradually controlled them.

The most mildew resistant varieties have Indian names like 'Natchez'--which is a beautiful white Osage, Yuma, Zuni, etc. These are hybrids of L. indica and L. fauriei that were developed by the National Arboretum. 'Natchez' is especially lovely with peeling cinnamon like bark once it is mature.

It is a misconception that crape myrtles should be severely pruned back to their trunks every year. This has been discussed thoroughly in Southern Living Magazine in an article called "Crape Murder." Professional landscapers do this regularl. read more y in highway medians and in apartment complex parking lots where these July blooming trees are ubiquitous, as this does promote larger blooms, but only at the expense of the tree which is trying to survive such rough handling. Ultimately the tree succumbs to this treatment, so it is not something you want to do in your home landscape. Municipalities and corporations include re-landscaping in their budgets and don't really want these trees to get very large--only to provide cheap summer color--but a fully mature crape myrtle, with only cross branches and suckers pruned out, is a spectacular sight. The famous Calloway Gardens, in Pine Mountain, Gerogia--home to the Victory Garden TV show--has huge specimens of the white crape myrtle 'Natchez' shading the patio in front of their gift shop, and these are the largest crape myrtles I have ever seen, and you may be assured they were not pruned back heavily every year!

November 13, 2003: Have recently transplanted almost 20 cuttings of a white shrub type crape myrtle called 'Acoma,' which is another National Arboretum cultivar, released in the mid 1980's. A friend trimmed low branches of her 'Acoma" that were overhanging her driveway, and I got about 40 cuttings, about half of which "took" in a pot of my sandy dirt in a shady spot, without any rooting hormone. I just sprayed the pot every day with a hose to keep the leaves from drying out, and in a few months I transplanted the cuttings with short white roots into individual pots, again in my sandy soil, without any potting soil added, to overwinter outdoors, all huddled together under fallen autumn leaves. I'll probably keep potting them up into larger pots until they are a few feet tall and large enough to go into the ground.

On Aug 17, 2003, docturf from Conway, SC (Zone 8b) wrote:

Crepe Myrtles do very well in coastal South Carolina, blooming from mid-June through mid-September (or even longer if weather is favorable. The greatest problem is that of aphids -- if not controlled early in the season, the sooty mold fungus becomes prevalent. This fungus thrives on the sugary content of the aphid's "honeydew". The winter aspect of the Crepe Myrtle is wondereful because of the beautiful bark texture.

On Mar 15, 2003, ranch45 from Interlachen, FL wrote:

When we first moved to Northern Florida, two years ago, this tree kept popping up near my Mimosa Tree. After unsuccessfully trying to get rid of it (we did not know what it was) my husband decided to transplant it to the back yard (under our bedroom window). Am I glad he did. It is an absolutely beautiful tree, with delicate pink flowers. Last year, three more just popped up in our front yard -- and are growing in an arched shape -- we decided to keep them. I am happy to report that they have started to come back again this month - bringing BIG smiles to our faces each morning.

To keep the tree fresh and in bloom longer, I have found that if you tip the dead blooms, the tree will continue to grow and bloom long into the fall season.

If I have learned nothi. read more ng else about gardening, I have learned this --- anything that fights so hard to live is worth keeping.
HAPPY GARDENING.

On Mar 14, 2003, Kelli from L.A. (Canoga Park), CA (Zone 10a) wrote:

This is a nice plant for all seasons - pretty flowers, great fall color, nice bark, and interesting branch structure.

On Aug 8, 2002, smiln32 from Oklahoma City, OK (Zone 7a) wrote:

Gorgeous color and low maintenance. Pruning helps in shaping this shrub/tree. Some of mine are taller than our two-story house. Blooms last until late fall/early winter.

I live in Oklahoma and have grown this plant. I find crepe myrtles to be the easiest plant I have ever grown. They bloom from mid-summer to frost. They are an excellent value.

The Crepe Myrtle is a beautiful shrub or small tree that is found mostly in zones 6 and up.

The limbs should be pruned back each winter, revealing a beautifully smooth trunk. It is rapid growing, with many varieties reaching over 30 feet. In late summer, the crepe myrtle will produce an explosion of color (most commonly red, white, lavender, or pink). The blooms are long lived and in the lower areas of the United States will bloom all the way into October or later.


Propagating Crape Myrtle

Crape myrtles are so lovely and easy-going that it would be a pity not to propagate them and have more babies around! Or, why not, to fill the gardens of your family and friends with their mesmerizing foliage and flowers. Luckily, these plants can be propagated as easily as you can imagine−from semi-hardwood cuttings. Find your courage and get to work, as they cannot wait to be loved unconditionally and cared for by a new mother!

Crape myrtle trees respond well to propagation if the cuttings are taken during their active growing season. Look for young branches and cut about 5-6 inches (13-15 cm) off them using a sharp and sterilized knife. You must remove all the leaves until you have only three or four nodes on each cutting. The branches must be allowed to form a callous in a warm and shaded location for a few days. For optimal results, dip the cuttings in rooting hormone after they calloused well.

The cuttings can be grown in pots or outdoor rooting beds filled with proper potting soil combined with peat moss, pine bark, or leaf mold. If you keep the baby Crape myrtles moist by misting them regularly, they will develop a strong root system in three or four weeks after planting. Once this period has ended, the cuttings are ready to be transplanted in the garden or their individual pots in fall or winter.


Watch the video: Crape Murder - What NOT to do to Crape Myrtles


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