Skip to Content

Crepe Myrtle Tree Care Guide — Make It Grow Healthy!

Crepe Myrtle Tree Care Guide — Make It Grow Healthy!

Crepe Myrtle (Lagerstroemia indica), often known as “Southern Lilacs,” are popular in the South. 

It is because of their stunning early spring blooms, brilliant autumn black leaves, and, in some cases, appealing bark. 

Crepe Myrtle is grown worldwide, but they grow best in tropical and subtropical areas, where the warm weather allows them to flourish and display their stunning beauty. 

Maintenance and proper care will ultimately reward you with a stunning-looking floral tree.

 

Crepe Myrtle Tree Care

A clay, loamy, and well-draining soil with 5 to 6.5 pH will be ideal, and watering it once a week during the growing season is ideal. It likes to grow in full sun and can withstand 0 degrees Fahrenheit (-17.7 degrees Celsius) temperatures. Pruning to maintain a proper shape is also important.

 

Soil

The Crepe Myrtle Tree will thrive in a variety of soil mediums. It enjoys growing in loamy, sand, clay, and a well-draining soil medium.

Although it likes well-draining soil, the soil should be moist to help it prosper. 

Crepe Myrtle thrives on acidic soil to mildly acidic, with a pH of 5.0 to 6.5. The pH for most gardening soils is in the band of 6.0 to 7.0.

 

Water

For your new Crepe Myrtle, the first year is crucial. Because it wasn’t given a chance to develop itself, it isn’t as powerful as an older bush. 

The plant needs to be irrigated once a week to avoid wilting. Make sure to immerse the root system thoroughly, which takes around 45-60 minutes.

Crepe Myrtle requires at least one inch of water per week for optimal development and yield. Water is required throughout drought periods. 

Flowers may be harmed if they are not adequately watered in dry weather. Your tree will be spontaneously drought-resistant when it achieves maturity.

Crepe Myrtle requires regular irrigation. The key is to keep the ground from becoming soggy. 

If this occurs, you’re inviting root rot to take hold of your tree. Cultivating in well-draining soil can help prevent this. 

You can always utilize the technique of deep watering. This is when you irrigate for extended lengths of time on fewer days. 

It guarantees that the tree gets the appropriate quantity of hydration while watering without being soggy. 

Allowing the plant to retain moisture during watering periods encourages the plant to absorb it. Mulching the plant’s base will let it stay hydrated for longer.

 

Light

Crepe Myrtle Thriving in Sunny Areas

Crepe Myrtle Thriving in Sunny Areas

While it can be trimmed into a tree-like form when immature, the Crepe Myrtle is a widely expanding shrub. 

Depending on the variety, enormous groups of crinkly blooms appear at the tips of its shoots from early summer through fall. 

The Crepe Myrtle, a very beautiful bloomer, requires full sun to give on its greatest result. 

This plant doesn’t perform well in fully covered areas, but it does great in areas with intense, hot summer sun where it gets sun in the mornings and moderate, screened shade in the afternoon.

 

Temperature

Crepe Myrtle has long been considered a southern landscape classic, but with the advent of numerous fresh and more cold tolerant Crepe Myrtle types. 

These floral marvels are making their way into new markets. 

Whereas all Crepe Myrtle are cold resistant to USDA Zone 7a, which means, they can withstand temperatures of around 0 degrees Fahrenheit (-17.7 degrees Celsius) in the wintertime. 

Several kinds are now cold hardy to USDA Zone 6a, with temperatures as low as -10 degrees Fahrenheit (-23.3 degrees Celsius).

Crepe Myrtle can be grown in pots that can be overwintered in an indoor place where temperatures wouldn’t fall under 20 degrees Fahrenheit (-6.6 degrees Celsius). 

If you’re ready to take risks, you might be able to grow Zone 6 Crepe Myrtle outside, although plant sections above ground may be injured or lost.

In the spring, though, fresh shoots frequently emerge from the tree’s base. If you’re in Zone 5 and want to test a Crepe Myrtle, ensure to grow it in a location that gets full light.

 

Humidity

Crepe Myrtle trees thrive in moderate humidity levels. 

It does not like to stay in very high humidity areas.

 

Fertilizer

It is enough to administer a slow-release fertilizer to the plant once a year to maintain its health.

You might even reapply fertilizer around the root of the Crepe Myrtle as it emerges from the dormant phase in the spring. 

This will help provide a nutritional boost while also ensuring that any nutrients taken by the plant during the prior growing season are replaced.

New Crepe Myrtle trees require mild fertilizing once per month in the first spring or summer growth period. 

Mature Crepe Myrtle trees and shrubs profit from slow-release fertilizers sprayed at the first indications of new shoots in early spring. 

Furthermore, since they consume strongly throughout the planting season, Crepe Myrtle requires light fertilization twice per month throughout the spring and summer. 

After each fertilizer treatment, water thoroughly and add compost to preserve the roots during the winter.

Crepe Myrtle thrives on garden fertilizers that are general purpose like 16-4-8, 12-4-8, 10-10-10, or 8-8-8. Excessive leaf development and poor flowering are the results of over-fertilization.

Spread the fertilizer evenly throughout your tree’s canopy, excluding the 5-inch region nearest to the trunk. The fertilizer dosage should be modified considering the maturity of your plant.

 

Repotting

The optimal time for Crepe Myrtle repotting is probably late winter. You’ll have to wait until the soil is usable before taking action, but before the first leaflets emerge, you should do so.

The first step in Crepe Myrtle transplanting is to choose a new place for the tree. Consider its needs before deciding on the optimal location. 

For the maximum flowering, choose a sunny position with plenty of space for the tree. 

It takes some excavating to move Crepe Myrtles. To begin, create a fresh transplanting hole. 

It must be big enough to keep up all of the tree’s present roots but also broad enough to permit future growth. After that, you must dig out the tree. 

The larger your tree, enlist more people to assist you. Dig along the outside of the roots to create a 2 to 3 foot (.6-.9 m) wide root ball.

Transplant the root ball into the soil, making sure it is even in the soil. Add plenty of water onto the root area and keep watering for the first growing season.

 

Pruning

Pruning isn’t necessary for Crepe Myrtles. Some growers prune them every year; however, this distorts their native form and attractiveness. 

Trim any sucker sprouts that grow near the base of the tree. Always prune trees to contour them or remove any cross branches. 

You can get rid of old seedpods by pruning the tops of stems in the winter.

Three tools are required to trim a grown Crepe Myrtle correctly:

  • Hand pruners to trim the branches and twigs that are less than ½ inch thick.
  • Loppers for ½ inch to 1 inch thick branches.
  • Pole pruners for branches thicker than ½ inch.

Since it is dormant and you can see most of the branches, late winter is the perfect season to trim a Crepe Myrtle. 

Pruning now will not diminish flowering because it flowers on new shoots. In fact, it has the potential to grow it.

Go in the following order to trim the branches of Crepe Myrtle:

  • Start with the suckers that come out from the base of the tree.
  • The side branches that are longer than 4 feet should also be trimmed.
  • The tall branches are developing towards the center of the Crepe Myrtle.
  • Dead, crossing, and rubbing branches also need to be trimmed away.
  • The branches that appear in a weird shape deteriorating the appearance should be pruned right away.

It’s crucial not to trim the crowns of Crepe Myrtle trees in order to encourage them to flower. Although topping produces larger blooms, it has little effect on the overall number of flowers. 

Extremely Pruned Crepe Myrtle

Extremely Pruned Crepe Myrtle

Extreme topping frequently produces sluggish growth that bends or breaks during rainfall.

 

Propagation

Picking up the plant from your garden store is the most typical technique to propagate Crepe Myrtle. Choose a sunny spot with well-draining soil once you’ve brought the plant home.

Make a borehole at this exact spot. The hole must be 3 times the size of the plant and only shallow enough that the root ball is placed safely.

Insert the plant in the hole while also adding mulch. It should aid in the soil’s ability to hold moisture.

Compact the soil all around the root of the Crepe Myrtle after it’s in place. Thoroughly irrigate the plant and cover the base to act as a moisture and pest screen.

If cultivating Crepe Myrtle in a pot, you can use the same planting procedure. Ensure the container’s large enough to keep the plant in. 

Plant the Crepe Myrtle in good soil, cover it and hydrate it thoroughly.

Mulching all around the plant in the pot will help it stay hydrated for a longer amount of time.

 

Root Cuttings

Crepe Myrtle can also be propagated through root cuttings, which is a popular method for cultivating Crepe Myrtle. 

Start digging up mature Crepe Myrtle trees in the springtime.

Remove a section of the root from the plants with a paring blade or scissors. Put the mature Crepe Myrtles again in their original locations once you’ve taken the desired portion of the root.

In a container with good soil or dirt, insert the root cuttings. The container should be put in a warm environment with enough sunlight.

Give the roots plenty of water for the next few weeks until they form their own root systems. 

Allow the roots to settle in the containers for about 2-3 months until they’re fully rooted. This is a good moment to transplant.

Another alternative is to plant the root cuttings in a permanent garden immediately. Bury the roots four inches deep in the soil, with a six-inch gap between every root cutting.

The roots require sufficient amounts of sunlight, warmth, and water. 

They will form a root system and become mature plants over time. Ensure the plant’s roots get enough water as they continue growing.

 

Cutting of Established Plant

Take a look at a mature Crepe Myrtle. Find the point where the tree’s new shoots, which contains nodes, hits an older branch. 

Trim it where it touches the branch, keeping the cutting length around six and seven inches.

Each cutting should have about three nodes. Only four leaves should be left on the cutting. Discard the remaining items.

Put the cutting in a sand-filled container after dipping it in rooting hormone. During the next 2 to 3 months, give enough sunlight, heat, and moisture.

After this time frame, the cutting should have formed a root system and be prepared to transfer into a bigger pot or perennial bed.

 

Blooms

Crepe Myrtle tree blooms from July through September, with certain varieties producing flowers until the first frost hits. 

Crepe Myrtle Flower Colors

Crepe Myrtle Flower Colors

You will find the lowers of this tree in several different colors ranging from red, pink, white, and purple.

 

Growth

Standard single-trunk and multi-trunk trees can reach 20 to 30 feet (6-9 meters) tall and 10 to 15 feet (3-4.5 meters) broad, with annual growth rates of up to 3 feet (1 meter). 

Then there are dwarf shrubs 2 to 5 feet (0.6-1.5 meters) tall, semi-dwarf shrubs 3 to 6 (1-1.8 meters) feet long, and smaller variants 6 to 12 (1.8-3.6 meters)feet tall. 

Make certain you select the right Crepe Myrtle shrub or tree for your area and style.

 

Common Problems for Crepe Myrtle Trees

 

Aphids

These light-yellow bugs can be found on the undersides of Crepe Myrtle foliage, draining sap from the tree and causing harm. 

Aphids also generate adhesive honeydew drips that cling to the tree and neighboring patios and furniture. 

Predators, such as ladybugs, keep these insects in check. If you use insecticides, the hunters may be killed instead of the aphids. 

Stop applying pesticides and see what occurs, the prey population should expand, and the aphids will be eaten. 

If it doesn’t help, try using an insecticidal soap or an oil product like Neem Oil Spray or a paraffinic oil to spray your Crepe Myrtle.

 

Powdery Mildew

Although there are a few robust types, generally, Crepe Myrtle is mildew-prone. On Crepe Myrtle, it is the most frequent illness. 

Powdery mildew can be identified by a grey or white powdery deposit on the foliage and bloom buds of your Crepe Myrtle. 

A fungal disease affects trees by interrupting photosynthesis and other key life functions in their leaves and flowers. 

It can be treated with any fungicide labeled for mildew and applied weekly till the bud blooms. 

Furthermore, cutting off branches to promote sun and airflow entry into the canopy can assist lessen mildew vulnerability.

 

Tips for Growing Crepe Myrtle Tree

  • Always disinfect your pruning shears to avoid the spread of infections.
  • Always place it in a spot that is sunny and warm for optimal flower growth.
  • Water it thoroughly during the first few weeks of the growth period.

 

Frequently Asked Questions about Crepe Myrtle Tree Care

 

How long does a Crepe Myrtle live?

If you take care of your Crepe Myrtle, they can live for many years. A Crepe Myrtle can live for about 50 or more years.

 

Does Crepe Myrtle need lots of water?

Crepe Myrtle requires at least one inch of water per week for optimal development and yield. Water is required throughout dry periods. Flowers may be harmed if they are not adequately watered during dry weather.

 

Conclusion

Crepe Myrtle is a beautiful asset to any scene, whether you’re searching for a colorful fence, an eye-catching showpiece, or just a flash of floral magnificence. 

Understanding how to care for these plants correctly will guarantee that you enjoy a spectacular display of blossoms all summer.