The Q&A Archives: Will these grow in our zone?

Question: We love crape myrtles. Is there a variety that will survive Upstate New York Winters? Where can I find more information about them.

Answer: I love crape myrtles, too. Unfortunately, the hardiest are considered reliable only into zone 6. Your zip code places you in zone 5A, the coldest part of zone 5. So, sadly, I do not think any of them would survive the winter for you.

But if you wanted to experiment, you might check with your local county extension and local professionally trained nurseryman and see if by chance anyone has had luck with any of them in your local area. It is faintly possible that, if planted in a very sheltered and warm, sunny location with perfectly drained soil and heavily mulched every winter, one might be root hardy for you. That would mean it would die back to the ground every winter and regrow from the roots each summer. While you would never see the lovely tree form with attractive bark, you might get it to bloom a little bit for you in late summer. I am not sure if that would be worth it to you to even bother a try, or not.

Here is more information about them from the Kemper Center which is in zone 6. Look at the listings for Lagerstroemia, the botanical name.

In the meantime, there are some other terrific flowering shrubs that you should be able to grow in your area that do not do well in the warmer southern areas where crape myrtle grows best. Lilac and forsythia are examples along with peonies. Your local nursery should be able to show you a selection, maybe you will find something to fall in love with among those. I'm sorry I can't be more encouraging about the crape myrtles.

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