- Can Crepe Myrtle Grow In Zone 5 – Learn About Zone 5 Crepe Myrtle Trees
- Cold Hardy Crepe Myrtle
- Growing Crepe Myrtle in Zone 5
- Hot Summer Color with Crape Myrtle
- Zone 6 Crepe Myrtle Varieties – Growing Crepe Myrtle Trees In Zone 6
- Hardy Crepe Myrtles
- Options for Crepe Myrtles for Zone 6
- Enjoying Crape Myrtle in Ohio landscapes
- Miami Crape Myrtle
- Lagerstroemia indica x fauriei ‘Miami’
- Basic Facts
- Tree Care
- Landscape Uses
- Moon Valley Nurseries Design Consultation
Can Crepe Myrtle Grow In Zone 5 – Learn About Zone 5 Crepe Myrtle Trees
Crepe myrtles (Lagerstroemia indica, Lagerstroemia indica x faurei) are among the most popular landscape trees in the southeastern United States. With showy flowers and smooth bark that peels back as it ages, these trees offer many incentives to willing gardeners. But if you live in a cooler clime, you may despair of finding cold hardy crepe myrtle trees. However, growing crepe myrtles in zone 5 regions is possible. Read on for information on zone 5 crepe myrtle trees.
Cold Hardy Crepe Myrtle
Crepe myrtle in full bloom may offer more flowers than any other garden tree. But most are labeled for planting in zone 7 or above. The canopies survive down to 5 degrees F. (-15 C.) if fall leads into winter with a gradual cool down. If winter comes abruptly, the trees can suffer severe damage in the 20’s.
But still, you’ll find these beautiful trees flowering in zones 6 and even 5. So can crepe myrtle grow in zone 5? If you select a cultivar carefully and plant it in a protected area, then yes, it
may be possible.
You’ll need to do your homework before planting and growing crepe myrtle in zone 5. Select one of the cold hardy crepe myrtle cultivars. If the plants are labeled zone 5 crepe myrtle trees, they will likely survive the cold.
A good place to start is with the ‘Filligree’ cultivars. These trees offer stunning blossoms in the middle of the summer in colors that include red, coral and violet. Yet, they are labeled for zones 4 through 9. These were developed in a breeding program by the Fleming brothers. They offer a brilliant burst of color after the first flush of spring.
Growing Crepe Myrtle in Zone 5
If you start growing crepe myrtle in zone 5 using ‘Filligree’ or other cold hardy crepe myrtle cultivars, you’ll also want to take precautions to follow these planting tips. They can make the difference in your plant’s survival.
Plant the trees in full sun. Even cold hardy crepe myrtle do better in a hot location. It also helps to do the planting in mid-summer so that the roots dig into warm soil and establish fast. Don’t plant in autumn since the roots will have a harder time.
Cut back your zone 5 crepe myrtle trees after the first hard freezes in autumn. Clip off all stems a few inches. Cover the plant with protective fabric, then pile mulch on top. Act before the soil freezes to better protect the root crown. Remove fabric and mulch as spring arrives.
When you are growing crepe myrtle in zone 5, you’ll want to fertilize the plants once a year only in spring. Irrigation during dry periods is essential.
Hot Summer Color with Crape Myrtle
Years ago, Crape Myrtle trees could only be enjoyed by our neighbors in the south. They were not hardy enough to live through our cold winter months and instead thrived only in warmer climates like North Carolina. Luckily many of those southern varieties have been cross-bred with hardier types, making crape myrtles more accessible to areas of the Northeast. Long Islanders can now enjoy growing a variety of these hardy crape myrtle hybrids.
This beautiful tree offers lilac-like flowers in pink, red, purple and white from July to September. Depending on the variety, they can grow anywhere from 5’ all the way up to 25-30’ and make a great specimen plant in the yard or even a nice hedge. Easy to grow and maintain, crapes have become one of Long Island’s most popular tree in the past 5-10 years.
Crape Myrtle trees have another awesome feature which is often overlooked, their bark. When they are not in bloom or in the dead of winter, specimens will exhibit a variety of colors and patterns from green to brown to grey on multiple stems. Some even have a peeling bark look which is a real showstopper in the landscape. If you are looking for a tree with year round interest and long-lasting flowers, this tree is a must have.
Crape Myrtles are also easy to plant, grow and care for. When planting, be sure to mix your existing soil with plenty of rich compost to give it the nutrients it needs to flourish. Each year you can top dress the area with additional compost or use an organic tree fertilizer like the Dr. Earth tree and shrub blend to keep nutrients high from year to year. Make sure you keep the soil around the tree well-watered during the first year until the plant establishes itself.
Pruning is also a piece of cake. You have the option to just let the tree go which will produce rigid branching that will give a full, upright form or you can prune it back to the large leader stems. The later method will allow it to grow a few feet on each branch and the heavy blooms will weigh down the fresh, new growth to give you more of a weeping habit. Either way, it will make for a beautiful addition to any garden or landscape.
Easy to grow, tons of color, year round interest, almost zero maintenance and no serious pests or diseases make crape myrtle the hottest plant for summer!
Here are a few of favorites:
Tuscarora: Upright large shrub or small tree with showy dark pink flowers all summer. Peeling and colorful bark really adds to its appeal. Mature size: 20-25 ft. tall.
Dynamite: Large multi-stemmed plant with beautiful crimson buds that open and turn cherry red in the summer. New leaves emerge crimson then turn dark green. Vigorous grower to 15 ft. tall.
Muskogee: Panicles of light lavender-pink flowers appear amid glossy green foliage that turns red in the fall. The cinnamon-colored bark is smooth, peeling to a shiny light gray. Moderate grower to 15 ft. tall.
Coral Magic: A shrub form crape myrtle with lovely salmon-pink flowers. Outstanding reddish new growth turns a brilliant green. Moderate grower 6-10 ft. tall.
Try a crape myrtle in your garden – you won’t be disappointed!
Coral Magic Crape Myrtle
Muskogee Crape Myrtle
Dynamite Crape Myrtle
Tuscarora Crape Myrtle
Japanese black pine needles last three to five years, and Scotch pine needles last about three years. Austrian pine needles begin dying at four, but some old codgers will hang on eight years, probably boring the younger ones with tales of how it was when they were young.
Crape Myrtle for Yankees
Q. On motor trips in Virginia, I have noticed a shrub with beautiful red blossoms. I’ve been told it is crape myrtle, and that it requires a milder climate than New York City’s. Even in Brooklyn, however, I have seen blossoming shrubs that resemble those I admired in the South. Has a strain of this shrub more resistant to cold been developed? If so, I would love to have one and would appreciate information on where it might be available.
A. Crape myrtle is primarily a Southern plant, hardy to Zone 7. It can survive on Long Island and in spots in and around New York City, wherever a sheltered microenvironment keeps plants from getting too cold for too long.
The National Arboretum began breeding crape myrtles in the late 1950’s, introducing its first hybrids in 1978. The main goal, however, has been disease resistance, especially to powdery mildew, not hardiness. As luck would have it, the arboretum’s introductions seem a bit closer to Zone 6 plants than traditional crape myrtles are. The hybrids are named for American Indian tribes, including Natchez and Tuscarora. Both are large, up to 30 feet tall. Also among the arboretum’s introductions are medium-size, multistem shrubs like Acoma (10 feet tall and wide) and even 2-foot-tall miniatures (Pocomoke and Chicksaw). More information and good color pictures of the National Arboretum’s plant introductions are on its Web site, www.usna.usda.gov.
If those crinkly conical flower heads, beautiful peeling bark and great fall color keep calling out to you, try one. Until they grow beyond reach, crape myrtles can have their branches tied in after they go dormant. They can be wrapped for winter in burlap stuffed with a thick insulating layer of leaves. They will need protection once temperatures are in the teens. When you want a shrub badly enough but your environment is borderline, a little extra preparation is often enough to make the difference.
Crepe Myrtle Varieties
Crepe myrtles are beautiful flowering trees that bloom out in the summer. They are highly resistant to heat and droughts. They grow well in most soil types. Their blooms appear on new wood so they should be pruned in the winter or early spring. During the growing season, trimming off spent flowers will promote a second bloom. The trees are susceptible to mildew, but planting in full sunlight will inhibit the fungus. There are also hybrid crepe myrtles that are resistant to rust. Crepe myrtle trees make excellent privacy hedges or decorative borders. There are several different types of crepe myrtles to choose from, or they may be mixed and grown in clusters to produce a striking display.
The Natchez white crepe myrtle is often used in landscaping. It is a dwarf shrub or small tree. This hybrid was formed by crossing a crossing Lagerstroemia indica with a Lagerstroemia fauriei. They are widely grown in the southern part of the United States but also extend into the northern states. The Natchez white crepe myrtle typically grows to be between grow 20 to 30 feet in height in southern areas where it is the hardest. Its flowers grow in clusters and last longer than those of other flower plants. The blooms yield brownish colored fruits that persist through the winter. Excessive fertilizing will diminish the tree’s blossoms. This variety of crepe myrtle is highly resistant to mildew.
The red rocket crepe myrtle produces massive blooms all through autumn. Large, cherry red clusters bloom out in the spring. Some flowers are as large as 8 inches. During the autumn months, the foliage turns to a bright orange. Then it changes to crimson before returning to green in the spring for another spectacular display. The red rocket crepe myrtle grows to be approximately 20 to 30 feet in height and 8 to 10 feet in width. This plant is a natural plant to grow and requires very little maintenance. The tree grows outward with multiple stems but can be trained to have only one trunk.
The purple crepe myrtle is a semi-dwarf variety that grows to be 6 to 10 feet in height and 5 to 6 feet in width when mature. It produces large clusters of dark purple blossoms. The foliage is dark reddish orange color when new but changes to dark, glossy green as it matures. This crepe myrtle is susceptible to mildew, black spot, and aphids. Regularly inspecting the trees will prevent damage by these organisms. They bloom best in full sunlight.
The pink crepe myrtle has soft pink flowers beginning in the summer months. Its blooms take on an appealing contrast against the dark purple foliage. These trees grow to be 10 to 12 feet in height. They make excellent ornamental trees. They can also be used for privacy since they may spread 8 to 10 feet. Since they tend to spread as they grow, they should be planted 4 to 5 feet apart. The pink crepe myrtle grows best and produces more blooms when in full sunlight.
Zone 6 Crepe Myrtle Varieties – Growing Crepe Myrtle Trees In Zone 6
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.
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.
Enjoying Crape Myrtle in Ohio landscapes
The Ohio valley is on the northern edge of hardiness for Crape Myrtle, but some Crape Myrtle varieties can be successful here if care is taken to protect them from the harsh winters we get occasionally.
Crape Myrtle is a woody shrub or small specimen tree that will behave like a perennial in northern climates, often dying back to the ground in winter only to reappear when the weather gets warm. Some varieties are hardier than others; it’s important to check the hardiness zone on the label before buying. We are in Zone 6a, but a harsh winter can bring root temperatures below zero, and most Crape Myrtle varieties will not survive.
Crape Myrtles are often the last plants to re-emerge in spring. They can appear dead, and in fact may have lots of winter-kill, but eventually you’ll see fresh green shoots springing from the ground. These will grow rapidly in a single season and then flower on the new growth. Simply cut off the dead wood, fertilize and you’ll be rewarded with bloom by late summer.
Most Crape Myrtle varieties are hardy in Zone 7 or warmer, but southern Ohio is in Zone 6a. At our nursery we carry only Zone 6 or Zone 5 Crape Myrtle cultivars. These will withstand most Ohio valley winters if they have protection from winter wind, in locations where the ground doesn’t stay frozen for long periods. Typically this would be the east or southeast side of your home, in a sunny spot (Crape Myrtles do best in full sun all day).
One of our strongest impressions from travels in the south is the abundance of showy Crape Myrtle shrubs and trees everywhere. Down south we see lots of Crape Myrtle trees over 10 feet tall, most often multiple trunk clumps with the lower branches removed to show off the handsome bark and interesting branch structure of this distinctive tree. Up north, it’s harder to get this effect, since the tree will often freeze back and have to re-grow from the ground up. We carry “Zuni,” a dark lavender variety that grows in a classic “clump form tree” with multiple trunks.
A better approach for Ohio is shrub-form Crape Myrtles. Most of these are on the large side, from 6 to 10 feet tall and wide, but dwarf forms are available. “Dynamite” is a red variety that is fairly hardy in the Ohio valley and “Enduring Summer” is a new “re-blooming” variety with bright red blooms.
“Pocomoke” is a more compact shrub form that fits well in foundation plantings. In late summer it makes a gorgeous display, reminiscent of azaleas, when most shrubs are looking a bit tired from the heat. The “Filli” series is a low-growing form hardy to Zone 5, a better bet for Ohio than most Crape Myrtles. We have “Red Filli” and “Violet Filli”.
Crape myrtles are a taste of the south, very interesting accent plants. We would be cautious about depending on them as the backbone of an Ohio landscape, but we’ve seen them thrive here in the right setting.
Steve Boehme and his wife, Marjorie, own GoodSeed Nursery & Landscape near Winchester.
Miami Crape Myrtle
Lagerstroemia indica x fauriei ‘Miami’
- Displays large clusters of pink-red flowers
- Bronze-like foliage in spring, dark-green in summer, and orange-red color in fall
- Attractive bark
- Long-lasting blooms!
- A small deciduous shade tree
The Miami Crape Myrtle (botanical name: Lagerstroemia indica x fauriei ‘Miami’) is a small-to-medium flowering tree or shrub that produces vibrant clusters of pink/red flowers throughout the summer. Crape Myrtles are native to many regions of Asia and brought to North America in the 18th century.
The Miami variety grows upright and has a moderate-to-fast growth rate. This deciduous tree grows dark green leaves that turn the perfect autumn red/orange through the fall. This Crape Myrtle can grow between 8-15 feet tall and up to 12 feet wide.
The Miami Crape Myrtle thrives in multiple regions and hardiness zones due to its tolerance to drought and heat. This tolerance makes them an excellent option for the Southwestern states when you want flowers or color in your landscape. It can even handle poor soil but prefers a balanced pH level.
This pink Crape Myrtle loves full sun exposure and is easy to grow in well-drained soils. Once established, it develops a higher tolerance to drought conditions and can handle fewer watering sessions. Always water deeply to develop an optimum root structure. Late winter and early spring are the best times of the year to prune this Crape Myrtle.
This Crape Myrtle is often used in landscape designs as a focal point in a landscape, to add more color to your yard, or to create summer shade for your home or patio space. Its smaller size makes it possible to plant in narrow or tight spaces.
When the dark pink/red flowers bloom, you will even see butterflies, hummingbirds, and other nectar/pollen gatherers throughout your yard. For a unique and colorful hedge, plant the Miami Crape Myrtle in rows or groupings along the edge of your property.
Moon Valley Nurseries Design Consultation
With our free professional landscape design consultation, it is easy to create the perfect landscape. From design to delivery and planting, we do it all.
Visit your nearest nursery location and choose the perfect Miami Crape Myrtle for your yard today. For the best trees on Earth, go straight to the Moon!