When you remember a southern landscape filled with summer blooms, it’s likely you’re thinking of crepe myrtle, the classic flowering tree of the American South. If you want to start growing crepe myrtle trees in your home garden, it’s a bit of a challenge in zone 6. Will crepe myrtle grow in zone 6? Generally, the answer is no, but there are a few zone 6 crepe myrtle varieties that might do the trick. Read on for information on crepe myrtles for zone 6.
Hardy Crepe Myrtles
If you ask about hardiness zones for growing crepe myrtle trees, you’ll probably learn that these plants thrive in USDA plant hardiness zones 7 and above. They can even suffer cold damage in zone 7. What’s a zone 6 gardener to do? You’ll be happy to learn that some new, hardy crepe myrtles have been developed.
So will crepe myrtle grow in zone 6 now? The answer is: sometimes. All crepe myrtles are in the Lagerstroemia genus. Within that genus are several species. These include Lagerstroemia indica and its hybrids, the most popular species, as well as Lagerstroemia fauriei and its hybrids.
While the former are not hardy crepe myrtles for zone 6, the latter can be. Various cultivars have been developed from the Lagerstroemia fauriei variety. Look for any of the following at your garden store:
While these hardy crepe myrtles can survive in zone 6, it is a stretch to say that they thrive in regions this cold. These zone 6 crepe myrtle varieties are only root hardy in zone 6. That means that you can start growing crepe myrtle trees outdoors, but you’ll have to think of them as perennials. They will probably die back to the ground over the winter, then resprout in spring.
Options for Crepe Myrtles for Zone 6
If you don’t like the idea of crepe myrtles for zone 6 dying to the ground every winter, you can look for microclimates near your home. Plant the zone 6 crepe myrtle varieties in the warmest, most protected spots in your yard. If you find the trees a warm microclimate, they may not die back in winter.
Another option is to start growing zone 6 crepe myrtle varieties in large containers. When the first freeze kills back the leaves, move the pots to a cool location that offers shelter. An unheated garage or shed works well. Only water them monthly during winter. Once spring comes, gradually expose your plants to outdoor weather. Once new growth appears, start up irrigation and feeding.