Planting a crape myrtle seedling or rooted cutting in your landscape or garden will bring year-round beauty. Crape myrtle, also known as crepe myrtle, is best grown through cuttings because seeds may not accurately match the parent plant’s flower color, growth habit, or size. There are several tried and tested ways for propagating Crape Myrtle, each of which may suit one grower better than another. Crape myrtle cuttings are hard to come by, so if you want to reproduce one of these low-maintenance shrubs at home, you’ll have to pick them yourself. In this article, we will discuss how to propagate Crepe Myrtle.
The standard crepe myrtle is either a small-to-medium-sized deciduous shrub or a miniature tree having a varied, moderately thick habit and a multi-stemmed shape. The name comes from the spectacular pink flowers having petals with wrinkles resembling crepe paper. The plant has dark green foliage that changes to orange, yellow, and red in the autumn. The tree’s thin, grey bark peels away to reveal a slick, polychromatic under-bark that changes from brown to grey.
When a crepe myrtle tree is young, it requires a lot of water. However, it will thrive in small soil spaces and become drought tolerant once established. Crimp new growth enhances the number of flowers and the “branchiness” during the growing season and anticipates the branches dropping narrowly as the tree matures. Many individuals prefer thinning the lower branches to highlight the tree trunk’s beautiful shape and color. Depending on the cultivar, crepe myrtle trees can be grown in zones 6–10. At maturity, they can reach an altitude of 15–25 feet and 6–15 feet spread.
Crepe myrtle trees cuttings can be efficiently propagated; the growing seasons of June till August are ideal for taking cuttings and rooting them. Moreover, you can also propagate Crepe Myrtle using seeds. Another simple technique to grow crepe myrtle plants is to learn how to start them from the roots.
1. Propagating Crepe Myrtle Using Hardwood Cuttings
- You can cut off a two to three-foot-long branch after the tree become dormant and loses its leaves, which normally happens by the end of November.
- Cut the branch into 4-8 half-inch diameter cuts, each four to eight inches long.
- Make your cuts along the branch right below a leaf bud/node.
- Plant the cuttings in one-gallon pots or directly into a well-prepared bed with the leaf buds pointing upward, using a decent potting soil mix.
- The cuttings should be placed in a sunny outside position regardless of your choice.
- Only two inches of the cutting should be visible above the earth.
- Plant one to three cuttings in the soil, depending on whether you want a single or multi-trunk tree.
- The cuttings will be fine outside, but make sure to wrap them up or bring them into an enclosed structure such as a storage shed or garage during severe freezes.
- If you have put your cuttings in pots, set them in a sunny area when you notice leaf sprouting in the spring, watering enough to keep the soil damp.
- You can then put the new roots in their permanent home in your yard once the new roots have spread across the container.
2. Propagating Crepe Myrtle Using Softwood Cuttings
The tips of crepe myrtle branches are where new growth appears. When the growth is green and tender, softwood cuttings are obtained. They can be taken at any time throughout the tree’s most active, rapid development season, which is normally between late May and mid-June. Softwood cuttings taken early in the summer will have plenty of time to establish themselves before the winter hibernation. After July, you should avoid taking softwood cuttings.
- Take softwood cuttings from the ends of the stems, right below a leaf node, where the new growth is green and tender.
- Your cut should be no more than six inches long.
- Remove the leaves off the bottom of the cuttings, leaving a couple of leaves at the top of each one once you have them.
- After removing the leaves, dip the cutting in a rooting hormone powder.
- Then, using a decent potting mix, place them in small containers or trays.
- If you’re rooting several distinct types, it’s a good idea to identify the cuttings with each variety’s name.
- Bring the cuttings inside and plant them under bright light if you have a greenhouse. If not, store them in a humidified environment.
- Keep the soil moist by misting the cuttings regularly.
- You don’t want the soil to dry out before the roots have an opportunity to grow, which should happen rapidly; three to four weeks is typical.
- Your cuttings can be moved into a larger pot once the roots have grown.
- Whether you want a single or multi-trunk tree, you can plant one to three rooted cuttings in a large pot.
- Plant your crepe myrtle in your landscaping once the roots have filled the soil in the larger container.
- Keep the soil moist, especially during the first year, to prevent it from drying up altogether.
3. Propagating Crepe Myrtle by Roots
- Another way to propagate Crape Myrtle is through root cuttings.
- Early spring is the greatest time to obtain root cuttings, which can subsequently be propagated in one of two ways: in containers or directly in the ground.
- Plant root cuttings in a pot with potting mix once they’ve been taken.
- Keep the pot moist and in a greenhouse or a setting with plenty of sunlight and warmth.
- Root cuttings can be planted in compost-filled rooting beds as well.
- Cuttings should be planted four inches deep and at least six inches apart.
- To ensure success, keep the roots thoroughly mulched and misted regularly.
4. Propagating Crepe Myrtle by Seed
- Seeds of Crape Myrtles can be grown.
- The Crape Myrtle produces berries that eventually become seedpods and are non-toxic and highly beautiful.
- When these seedpods are dry, they crack open, revealing the seed capsule.
- In the fall, the seed capsule ripens and can be gathered for spring sowing.
- In the spring, start seeds by placing them in a container or seed tray filled with potting soil or an organic soil and sand mix.
- Seeds should be planted in a spot that receives lots of sunlight and is at least 75 degrees Fahrenheit.
- It takes about three weeks for seeds to germinate.
- Crape myrtle may thrive in a variety of soil conditions. It does, however, grow and flower much better in properly-prepared soil, so the extra effort is well worth it.
It delivers a lot of summer colors with very little effort. Crape myrtle should be employed more frequently in residential landscaping and as street trees in community developments because of these characteristics. Crape myrtle is an excellent choice for community plantings since it lives for a long time, can endure drought once established, and is disease and insect-resistant.
Growing your own Crape Myrtle can be a rewarding and enjoyable experience. Now that you know how to propagate Crepe Myrtle and have gone through different methods, you can easily add this beautiful plant to your garden. Whatever method you use, make sure to give your Crape Myrtle enough sunlight and water, as well as some tender loving care. Good luck with your propagation!