Where to cut crepe myrtles?

How To Propagate Crepe Myrtle Trees

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 (24 C.). 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 (15 cm.) 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 (15-20 cm.) 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 (7.5-10 cm.) 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.

Propagation

The Crape Myrtle Trails of McKinney
Susan Owens
Board Member,
The Crape Myrtle Trails of McKinney

The most difficult step in the propagation of crape myrtles is keeping each variety true to its type. Being able to identify a dormant young plant or hardwood cutting is next to impossible, so correct and efficient labeling is the most important part of getting new plants started.

Propagation of crape myrtles can be accomplished in several ways, but hardwood cuttings and softwood cuttings are the preferred methods.

(Note that asexual propagation of those few patented crape myrtle varieties without written permission of the holder of the patent is illegal.)
Hardwood Cuttings

Hardwood cuttings are taken in early winter after the leaves of the trees have fallen. Cut several 2- to 6-foot branches of the same variety, being careful to keep each variety identified and bundled together. Mark the bottoms of the branches if there is any question as to which ends were the basal ends. Cuttings that are inserted upside-down will not root.

Hardwood cuttings must have a dormant storage period. Pack them in sawdust or dry peat moss in a cool, dry location. In early spring, these branch cuttings will be removed from storage. Cut the sticks into 6- to 8-inch cuttings and plant them into prepared beds directly in the ground or into 1-gallon pots filled with a good potting soil mix. Plant each cutting deeply enough that only 1 to 2 inches will be above the soil. Once again, be certain they are right-side-up and carefully label each cutting as to the proper variety.

Softwood Cuttings

Softwood cuttings are taken in late May or early June. The late spring and early summer growth of crape myrtles is most vigorous. These cuttings are taken from the new growth that is still green and soft. Make your 6-inch cutting just beneath a leaf node, again being very careful to label each variety and keep each separate from the other varieties. Remove the leaves from the bottoms of the cuttings leaving a couple of leaves on the top of each cutting. Stick these cuttings into a porous rooting medium such as half Canadian peat moss and half horticultural grade perlite.

The cuttings must be placed in an area of high humidity or under a greenhouse misting system in bright light. The roots should form quickly, probably in just two to three weeks. At that time, carefully transplant each individual plant into a 4-inch pot and allow it to continue to grow. You will probably need to repot it into a 1-gallon (or larger) container by fall.

These softwood cuttings are preferred by many growers. Taken at that time of year, the cuttings will have plenty of time to get established and endure the winter dormant period. Some growers prefer to put three cuttings into each pot to help the plants develop into multi-trunked specimens more quickly. However, that makes it all the more critical that you keep variety identification accurate.

For the record, if you have root sprouts coming up around a mature crape myrtle, or if they have emerged following transplanting of an old plant, those sprouts will be genetically identical to the mother plant. You can dig and transplant them during the winter dormant season to get new plants of the same type.

Crepe Myrtle Transplanting: When And How To Transplant Crepe Myrtle Trees

With long-lasting, beautiful blooms, easy-care crepe myrtle is a garden favorite. It is an ideal landscape tree for the high desert and a lovely ornamental in any backyard. If your mature crepe myrtle needs to be transplanted, it’s critical to be on top of the procedure. When to transplant crepe myrtle? How to transplant crepe myrtle? Read on for all the information you need to make transplanting a crepe myrtle a snap.

Moving Crepe Myrtles

If you plant a tree, you hope to put in in a “forever” location, where it can live out its life comfortably and in harmony with its surroundings. But life happens all around us, and sometimes these plans don’t work out.

If you planted your crepe myrtles in a spot you now regret, you aren’t the only one. Crepe myrtles flower best in sun. Perhaps you chose a sunny site but now neighboring trees are throwing shade on the area. Or maybe the crepe myrtle just needs more space.

Crepe myrtle transplanting involves essentially three steps. These are: digging a

hole in an appropriate new site, digging out the rootball, and transplanting a crepe myrtle in the new spot.

When to Transplant Crepe Myrtle

Before you get starting digging, you’ll want to figure out when to transplant crepe myrtle. The best possible time to start moving crepe myrtle is when the tree is dormant. That period runs from the time the tree loses its leaves to spring leaf break.

Late winter is usually cited as the best time for crepe myrtle transplanting. You’ll need to wait until the soil is workable but act before the first leaves appear.

How to Transplant Crepe Myrtle

Crepe myrtle transplanting starts with selecting a new location for the tree. Think about its requirements then find the spot that works best. You’ll need a sunny location for best flowering, plus some elbow room for the tree.

Moving crepe myrtles requires a bit of digging. First, dig out a new planting hole. It has to be large enough to fit all of the tree’s current roots, but somewhat wider, to allow those roots to expand.

Next, you need to dig out the tree. The bigger your tree, the more friends you should invite to help. Dig around the outside of the roots, taking a root ball that is some 2 to 3 feet (.6-.9 m.) in diameter. This will ensure that the plant moves to its new location with sufficient roots to survive.

The next step in transplanting a crepe myrtle is to get the root ball out of the soil. With the help of your friends, lift the root ball onto a tarp. Then pull the tarp over to the new planting site and set the root ball in the hole.

During this stage of crepe myrtle transplanting, position the tree so that the top of the root ball is even with the soil surface. Flood the root area with water. Keep watering regularly during the first few growing seasons at the new location.

These interesting trees and bushes also display attractive crepe myrtle bark in the wintertime. . For best results, remove shoots and buds growing at the base of the tree, Transplanted Crepe Myrtle saplings do need a little bit of special care. Q: I have new crepe myrtles that have sprouted up a few feet from the main tree. Leave the sprout in place until next fall and transplant it, with its new roots, then . Shoots at Base Q: I have a crape myrtle that keeps growing shoots at the. If you want to transplant a crepe myrtle to a different spot, taking a bit of extra care before the move and choosing the time and method carefully can help ensure.

If you want to transplant a crepe myrtle to a different spot, taking a bit of extra care before the move and choosing the time and method carefully can help ensure. Removing crape myrtle sprouts can seem like an endless, mundane task. In fact Alternatively, dig around the sucker with a trowel, about 1 to 2 feet away. This gives it time to develop its own root system without the stress of transplanting. If your mature crepe myrtle needs to be transplanted, it?s critical to be on top of the procedure. When to transplant crepe myrtle? How to.

The shoots are on the left side of the tree on the border of the grass and bed. Crape myrtle root divisions are pretty easy to transplant. I have a Camellia & a Crepe Myrtle that both have two shoots growing from the Unfortunately, these cannot be transplanted to grow new trees. Q: How big of a root ball needs to be dug to transplant a crepe myrtle? I have one that is an off-shoot of a larger tree the one I want t.

Despite the fact that crepe myrtles adorn just about every yard, bloom for months on end, and are . Instead, closely inspect the base of each shoot where it connects to the trunk. Question: When is the right time to transplant a crepe myrtle?. Q: I have new crepe myrtles that have sprouted up a few feet from the main tree. Leave the sprout in place until next fall and transplant it, with its new roots, then . Shoots at Base Q: I have a crape myrtle that keeps growing shoots at the. They are growing on the roots of the parent tree so you will need to dig straight down with a sharp shovel between the parent tree and the sucker to sever the.

Propagating Crape Myrtle Trees

Propagating Crape Myrtle

Propagated Crape Myrtle Rooted Cutting

The ornamental tree, Crape Myrtle is a fantastic specimen for propagating on your own. There are a few tried and true methods to propagating Crape Myrtle – one might work better for one gardener than another.

Propagating by Seed

Crape Myrtles can be grown from seed. The Crape Myrtle produces berries that, among being non-toxic and quite ornate, eventually become seedpods. Once dried, these seedpods split exposing what is called the seed capsule. The seed capsule will ripen in the fall when it can be harvested for spring sowing.

Seeds can be started in spring by planting in a pot or seed tray prepared with potting mix or an organic mix (made of soil and sand). Seeds should be placed in a location with plenty of sunlight and with temperatures of 75F.

Germination takes approx. three weeks.

Propagating by Roots

Root cuttings are another method of propagating Crape Myrtle. Root cuttings are best taken in early spring and then propagated in one of two methods, in pots or directly in the ground.

Once root cuttings have been taken, plant in a pot with potting mix. Place the pot in a greenhouse or a location with plenty of sunlight and warmth and keep watered.

Root cuttings can also be planted in rooting beds* that are filled with compost. Cuttings should be planted at a depth of four inches and a minimum of six inches apart. It is key to keep the roots well mulched and misted regularly to ensure success.

Propagation by Cuttings

One of the most common and perhaps the easiest ways of propagating Crape Myrtles is by cuttings. Both hardwood and softwood cuttings can be used for propagation, however, there is a slight difference in the methods used. Before taking any cuttings, be sure to clean and sterilize your knife or pruners to prevent any disease or infection contaminating your cuttings.

Softwood cuttings are best taken in spring or summer, although they can be taken at any time during the year. Cuttings should be a minimum of six inches in length and contain three to four nodes. It is recommended that the leaves be removed from the cutting with the exception of the last few at the top of the cutting. Using rooting hormone* is not required but it will definitely give your cutting a head start. If using rooting hormone, dip the cutting into the hormone then place the cutting into a small pot filled with potting mix. Place the pot in a sunny location and keep moist. Keeping the cutting from drying out is crucial. Softwood cuttings take approx. one month to propagate.

Hardwood cuttings are best taken in late fall. Cuttings should be eight inches long and a half-inch in diameter. Once cut, take several of the cuttings and stick into a pot filled with potting soil until only one inch of the cutting is seen above the soil line. Pots with cuttings can be left outside but should not be left to freeze. When new growth is visible, move the pot to a sunny location and keep watered until the cutting is planted the following summer or fall.

Propagating your own Crape Myrtle can be a fun and rewarding exercise. Whatever method you choose, be sure to provide your Crape Myrtle with the sunlight and water it requires, as well as a little TLC. Happy propagating!

*Rooting Hormone is available at most garden centers and hardware stores

*Rooting beds are long narrow beds, often framed with 2x4s and filled with an appropriate growing medium

Starting a Crape Myrtle from a Cutting

By Ellen Brown

Question:

I have a crepe myrtle. I am moving and wanted to get a start of the tree. I am wondering when is a good time to take a cutting?

Hardiness Zone: 8a

Thanks,
Rita from Dallas, TX

Answer:

Rita,

Crepe myrtle trees can be propagated by both hardwood or softwood cuttings.

Hardwood cuttings from dormant plants root easily in the winter, especially with a bit help from some rooting hormone. They can be taken in December.

Softwood cuttings root easily in the summer (May). I would recommend taking several cuttings in the event that some fail. If you end up getting several cuttings to root, you can always give them away to your new neighbors.

Take 4-inch long cuttings, each with a bud 1/4 of an inch from the top end. They should be about as thick as a pencil.

Dip the bottom of each cutting into a rooting hormone and insert the cuttings into a pot filled with a moist lightweight potting soil or soil-less mix.

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The cuttings should be kept humid and moist (not wet) until they have developed several sets of leaves. This can be accomplished by placing the top half of a 2-liter bottle over the pots.

If things start to get too moist, just remove the covering for a few minutes to allow them some air. Keep the cuttings in a warm, bright location, but out of direct sunlight.

Good luck with your move!
Ellen

More Answers

Starting a Crepe Myrtle from a Cutting

I have been rooting crepe myrtles for 9 years and they are so easy to propagate. I have rooted, planted and given away in excess of 100 crepes. Trust me it’s easy.

The following information is from University of Georgia Cooperative Extension.

Crape myrtle is easily propagated from semi-hardwood cuttings taken during the growing season. Advertisement
June, July and August are excellent times to root cuttings. Take cuttings from new growth of the season, leaving three to four nodes per cutting and several leaves. Rooting hormone is generally not necessary, and cuttings should root in three to four weeks. Place cuttings in a well-drained rooting medium in a shaded area and keep them moist by enclosing them in a clear plastic bag.

Cuttings also can be placed in prepared outdoor rooting beds. Thoroughly cultivate the soil to a depth of 10 to 12 inches. Add 4 to 5 inches of organic matter such as peat moss, leaf mold, or pine bark to the surface and thoroughly mix it into the soil.

Place the cuttings approximately 6 inches apart. Insert them one-half their length into the soil. Mulch with 2 to 3 inches of pine straw, leaf mold, or pine bark to conserve moisture. Keep them moist with regular misting. The young rooted plants can be transplanted to their permanent location during the fall and winter.

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(09/18/2006)

By texylady

I also make cuttings from my own purple crepe myrtles. I take semi hard cuttings that are 12 inches with 3 or 4 branches on each cutting, removing all the leaves. I have a glass jar that holds 3 to 5 cuttings that is large with a wide opening. I always keep 3 inches of water in it. By keeping them in the water, I can see the white nodules begin to grow and turn into roots.

I do this with my Confederate Rose, also. I have white ones and the pink, too. It works for me every time. After I see the roots I plant them in pots of potting soil. Here is a pic of a pink Confederate rose of mine. I did this with cuttings from a seven Sisters Rose, also Sherry Hampton. (10/12/2006)

By Sherry Hampton

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