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Propagating Crepe Myrtle: Create a Garden of Southern Charm

If you’ve ever passed by a classic southern home garden, you may have noticed an array of small trees with colorful flowers scattered throughout the green leaves. Full of beauty and vibrance, these trees, known as Crepe Myrtles, are hard to miss and easy to fall in love with.

For those who already have Crepe Myrtles in your yard, you may be eager to have more of these bright plants. If so, propagation is a simple and efficient way to get the most out of your plant and create a garden of Southern charm.

Keep reading to learn all about propagating Crepe Myrtles and how to use different methods to ensure success.

Propagating Crepe Myrtle Bloom

What You’ll Need

Before you get started propagating Crepe Myrtle, you’ll need to gather a few supplies. Although each method has some variations, you’ll generally need a sharp hand pruner, a planter or nursery pot, and a growing medium. You may also need a rooting hormone if you’re struggling to get your plant going, but it’s usually not necessary.

Lastly, make sure you have a little bit of patience and a great attitude! Propagating Crepe Myrtles is a fun and rewarding project that’ll bring excitement to both your garden and anyone who passes by.

Propagating Crepe Myrtles with Suckers and Splitting

Raspberry colored crepe myrtle tree in Virginia residential neighborhood. Crape or crepe myrtles are chiefly known for their colorful and long-lasting flowers which occur in summer.

Using the splits and suckers from your plant is a common, but sometimes risky, method of propagating Crepe Myrtles. There are two ways of doing this, so make sure to keep reading and learn which process is best for you and your plant.

Separating Suckers from the Main Plant

Separating the suckers, or stand-alone shoots near the main tree, is a great way to propagate Crepe Myrtles, especially for beginners. Because the suckers have already established themselves independently, they have a greater chance for growth success.

To propagate your Crepe Myrtles with this method, simply dig up the suckers that are near the main plant, and transplant them anywhere you want more to grow. Then continue growing them as you would any young Crepe Myrtle plant and eventually you’ll have a new tree!

Separating Stems from the Main Rootball

Splitting trunks from a single Crepe Myrtle is another way to grow additional plants in your garden. It’s a more challenging and risky way to propagate Crepe Myrtles, but when done correctly it can be very successful.

Timing is everything when it comes to splitting the trunk. The first tip is to split the trunks from the single tree when the tree is still young. Also, make sure to do this during the winter months, while the plant is in a period of dormancy so your plant will experience less stress and a greater chance of growth.

To split the young plant, carefully separate the root ball into sections, and split one of its trunks away from the others.

While this method can work, your best bet for success is to use the suckers from the main plant to avoid stress and harm to your tree.

Propagating Crepe Myrtles with Cuttings

Pink Crepe myrtle - Latin name - Lagerstroemia indica

Tree cuttings are a piece of the plant that can be used to grow new plants, asexually. Although using cuttings is common in gardening, using this method for propagating Crepe Myrtles can be challenging. Below we’ve outlined some tips and steps you can use to help make sure you succeed.

Air Layering

Air layering is a unique way to propagate Crepe Myrtles that you may have never heard of. It’s done by using stems that are still attached to the parent plant to help encourage root formation. This method is especially helpful if you’re dealing with plants that are harder to propagate from cuttings (like Crepe Myrtles).

First, you’ll need to find a healthy branch on your tree and make a two-inch vertical cut, about one-third of the way deep in the branch. If you have root hormone, use a small piece of wood to prop the cut open and apply the solution.

Next, you should wrap the open area with damp sphagnum moss and follow that up with plastic wrap to cover it. After a few months, you’ll notice roots forming in the moss. Once these roots grow in, cut the branch off below the roots and plant it where you want your new Crepe Myrtle to grow.

Ground Layering

Ground layering is easier than air layering, when it comes to propagating Crepe Myrtles. It’s done by stretching a low-hanging branch onto the ground and covering it with soil to encourage root growth.

Make sure the branch you choose is somewhat flexible, so that it doesn’t break when you bend it. Then, make a vertical cut on the underside of the branch, again about one to two inches long.

Next, bend the branch to reach the ground and cover the cut you made in the soil. Make sure you cover the cut and leave the end of the branch exposed.

You can stabilize the buried part of the branch with heavy rock to ensure it stays covered, no matter the weather conditions. Most importantly, the soil should always be moist.

Three to four months later, roots will have formed from the cut which you can separate from the parent and transplant to your desired garden location.

Frequently Asked Questions

Detail of  crepe myrtle in blossom. Australia.

Can you grow Crepe Myrtles from seeds?

The short answer is yes! If you’re looking to propagate Crepe Myrtles, but don’t have a parent plant yet, you can grow these trees by seeds, and it’s actually one of the easiest ways to do so.

First, you’ll need a sealable glass jar, four to six-inch pots, and a seed starting mix. Make sure to start your seed planting in late spring, when the weather is warm and the Crepe Myrtles grow best.

You can start by saturating the soil in your pots and adding the seed starting mix. Then, place two seeds into the soil about a quarter of an inch deep, before misting with water. Next, cover the pot with a plastic bag and make sure only to spray with water when the soil looks dry.

You’ll want to leave your pots indoors in a sunny spot, and in three to four weeks you’ll see sprouts begin to appear. Remove the plastic bag once these sprouts reach two inches, and when the tree grows a foot tall then you can plant it in partial sun, outdoors.

Remember to have plenty of patience and enjoy the process of growing your new plant!

What kind of environment do Crepe Myrtles need to grow?

When propagating Crepe Myrtles, it’s important to note that these plants do have specifications when it comes to their growth environment. Crepe Myrtles ideally prefer full sun (meaning six hours of direct sunlight, every day).

These trees can grow in many types of soils that range from alkaline to acidic. They prefer moist and well-drained soil, but can also tolerate occasional droughts.

Time to Get Growing!

Now that you know about all the ways to propagate Crepe Myrtles, it’s time to start planting! Whether you’re looking to enhance the look of your garden or are hoping to reap the benefits of these unique trees, all you need is a little time, dedication, and yard space.

Looking to propagate other types of plants? Check out our ultimate guide to growing fig tree cuttings for all you need to know!