The Q&A Archives: Crape Myrtle seeds

Question: I work at one of the local Home Depots in Maryland and encountered a customer who grows c. myrtles from seed. I hadn't thought it possible. Is there a special process entailed? I've lined my yard-instead of a fence-with Natchez whites, and would like to attempt to spread the

Answer: What a great idea! Crape myrtles can be propagated from seeds or from cuttings. 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. Germination should take place within 2-3 weeks.

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 in length with about 3-4 nodes per cutting. Remove all the leaves except the topt two or three.

Although rooting hormone is not usually required, giving them a boost does make it easier to propagate the cuttings. Dip the cut end into the rooting hormone and place the cuttings in a pot of moist sand and potting mix, about 3-4 inches deep. Cover with a plastic bag to keep them moist. Rooting usually take s place within 4-8 weeks.

Once seedlings have germinated or cuttings have rooted, remove the plastic covering. Prior to planting crepe myrtles, acclimate the plants for about two weeks by simply placing them near the site you intend to plant them. After they've acclimated they can be transplanted to their permanent locations.

Hope this answers your question!

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