By Nikki Phipps
(Author of The Bulb-o-licious Garden)
Crepe myrtle (Lagerstroemia fauriei) is an ornamental tree that produces beautiful flower clusters, ranging in color from purple to white, pink, and red. Blooming usually takes place in summer and continues throughout fall. Many types of crepe myrtle also provide year-round interest with unique peeling bark. Crepe myrtle trees are tolerant of both heat and drought, making them ideal for nearly any landscape.
You can propagate crepe myrtle trees as well, for planting crepe myrtles in your landscape or giving them to others. Let’s look at how to grow crepe myrtle from seed, how to start crepe myrtles from roots or crepe myrtle propagation by cuttings.
How to Grow Crepe Myrtle from Seed
Once flowering ceases, crepe myrtles produce pea-sized berries. These berries eventually become seedpods. Once brown, these seedpods split open, resembling small flowers. These seed capsules usually ripen in the fall and can be collected, dried and saved for sowing in spring.
To propagate crepe myrtle from seed, gently press the seeds into moist potting mix or composted soil using a regular sized pot or planting tray. Add a thin layer of sphagnum moss and place the pot or tray in a plastic grow bag. Move to a well-lit, warm location, about 75 degrees F. Germination should take place within 2-3 weeks.
How to Start Crepe Myrtles from Roots
Learning how to start crepe myrtles from roots is another easy way to propagate crepe myrtle trees. Root cuttings should be dug up in early spring and planted in pots. Place the pots in a greenhouse or other suitable location with adequate warmth and lighting.
Alternatively, root cuttings, as well as other cuttings, can be planted directly in composted rooting beds. Insert the cuttings about 4 inches deep and space them about 6 inches apart. Mulch generously and mist regularly to retain moisture.
Crepe Myrtle Propagation by Cuttings
Crepe myrtle propagation by cuttings is also possible. This can be accomplished through softwood or hardwood cuttings. Take cuttings in spring or summer where they meet the main branch, about 6-8 inches in length with about 3-4 nodes per cutting. Remove all the leaves except the last two or three.
Although rooting hormone is not usually required, giving them a boost does make it easier to propagate crepe myrtle cuttings. Rooting hormone can be purchased at most garden centers or nurseries. Dip each end into the rooting hormone and place the cuttings in a pot of moist sand and potting mix about 3-4 inches deep. Cover with a plastic bag to keep them moist. Rooting usually take s place within 4-8 weeks.
Planting Crepe Myrtles
Once seedlings have germinated or cuttings have rooted, remove the plastic covering. Prior to planting crepe myrtles, relocate them and acclimate plants for about two weeks, at which time they can be transplanted to their permanent location. Plant crepe myrtle trees in fall in areas with full sun and moist, well-drained soil.
Learning how to propagate crepe myrtle trees is a great way to add interest to nearly any landscape or simply share them with others.