Ask a Question forum: Crape Myrtles in roof container in NYC???

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Name: Nancy Dantonio
New York City (Zone 6a)
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ndantonio2
Jul 26, 2014 10:02 PM CST
I have been researching crape myrtles for my roof garden. I have mostly perennials and annuals that require a lot of work, and would love a flowering shrub that would be lower maintenance. There are crape myrtles growing around the city against buildings and houses, and some of the dwarf varieties are supposed to be cold hardy to zero degrees. Does anyone have experience with crape myrtles in a large container in zone 6? I would wrap the planter for the winter.

Thanks.
NancyD
NancyD in NYC
[url=www.nycrooftopgardener.blogspot.com]www.nycrooftopgardener.blogspot.com[/url]
Name: Hetty
Sunny Naples, Florida (Zone 10a)
Plumerias Photo Contest Winner: 2015 Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level Plant Database Moderator
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Dutchlady1
Jul 27, 2014 5:05 AM CST
Welcome! nbantonio2

The person who could best answer this is @GordonHawk. He has a roof garden in Brooklyn.
Name: Arlene
Southold, Long Island, NY (Zone 7a)
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Tomato Heads Houseplants Garden Ideas: Level 1 Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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pirl
Jul 27, 2014 7:11 AM CST
Welcome, Nancy! Hetty is right - Gordon Hawk has a wonderful, magical, rooftop garden in Brooklyn.

Here's a link to Garden Rooms - http://garden.org/forums/view/gardenrooms/

Under the heading "Thread starter" just look for Gordon's name for ideas and inspiration.
Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
The one constant in life is change
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dyzzypyxxy
Jul 27, 2014 7:25 AM CST
I agree Gordon's roof garden is fabulous but I think he has a greenhouse, or at least brings a lot of his plants indoors in winter. Many things he grows are tender tropicals.

A Crepe Myrtle in the ground is going to be more cold-tolerant than one in a container, no matter how much you wrap it. But since it will be in a container, you could perhaps have wheels on the container, (or use a mover's dolly) and move it to a protected spot for winter? Up against a south-facing brick wall that would act as a heat sink might keep it warmer through the winter.
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Name: Gordon
Brooklyn , New York
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GordonHawk
Jul 27, 2014 9:10 AM CST
Well...thanks folks... love ya all.. way too sweet...
Nancy... Like Elaine said...it helps to pick a spot... find a microclime that will have it survive...there's alot to consider... not just it being in NYC or in a container or in the ground.. I feel I'm in zone 4 - 14 here on the roof... it freezes solid in the container.... much like something in zone 4 might ... freeze to a depth of 2-3 ft... during winter ... and in the summer... with the bare roof membrane... getting up to about 165*F on a sunny day.. and the winds bloowing off this onto the plants... is surely like you might find in zone 14... [ a little off the scale ] where do you know where it gets to be 165*F on a regular basis.....We are in zone 7 here in the city... most all your crapes are good to this zone...could you tell us a little about your roof...location..floor height.. height of near by buildings any and all would be helpful..
I'd be happy to talk with you about them there..with you.. or have you by here to visit.. I'm in Carroll Gardens Brooklyn... 4th stop in Brooklyn on the "F" train...
there's a video up of it here.. on a site of other hardcore New Yorkers... like was mentioned.. I grow mostly tropicals and other tender exotics... and a bit of fruits and veggies... with lots of annuals and some others... NYorkers.com/Gordon-Hawkins pop me a note if you'd like to visit here or chat on the phone.. and I'll send my information..
the biggest killer of roof top plants.. overwintering.. is them heating up in the late winter...whene the sun is warm and it heats up the roof like May.. then it freezes in the night.. this YoYo effect does in plants.. rated 2 or three zones colder than we are..... good luck there...
Name: Lin
Florida (Zone 9b)
Region: United States of America Morning Glories Region: Florida Houseplants Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
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plantladylin
Jul 27, 2014 9:16 AM CST
There are a few dwarf varieties that are said to only grow to 2 to 3 feet in height so those would be quite easy to move indoors during extremely cold temperatures if you have a location inside for them during the winter months.

Lagerostromeia indica 'Bayou Marie' and 'Pixie White are said to only attain heights of 2 to 3 feet and 'New Orleans' is a ground cover type only attaining a height of 8 inches or so. To see photos, scroll to the bottom of this page: http://www.crapemyrtle.com/

Also check out some of the dwarf and semi dwarf varieties listed here: https://www.clemson.edu/extension/horticulture/landscape_orn...

and here: http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/databases/crapemyrtle/cra...
~ Eat, Sleep .... Play in the dirt ~
Name: Nancy Dantonio
New York City (Zone 6a)
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ndantonio2
Jul 27, 2014 9:03 PM CST
Thanks for responses so far. My container garden is on the roof of a 10 story, pre-war brick building on West 98th St in Manhattan. There are a few buildings in a row that same height, the garden portion of the roof faces the back courtyard and is off the street. We get the blasting sun starting just after dawn in the east all day long on most of the roof, and the water tower on the Western corner provides some shade starting around 1:00. On the sides facing West End Ave (and the Hudson River) the buildings are taller - like 20 stories so there is some protection. We are also only 2 blocks from Riverside Drive and the Hudson River, and that equals cold winds in the winter.

I like your suggestion of finding the right spot. We used to move some pots down to the courtyard in winter but they are just too heavy, and there are steps, and the elevator does not come all the way to the roof. So we have been wrapping the pots with bubblewrap, and moving some of them to more protected areas in the winter.

I have looked at the crapemyrtle.com website, and emailed them, and they said they have crape myrtles all over the city in the ground and in containers with no problem, and the ones with Indian Names were the most hardy, and right size. I am looking for some height (10-12 feet).

Gordon - I recently joined the NYC Rooftop Gardeners Meet-Up and signed up for your tour. So thanks for the offer to visit, but I will probably wait until the 9th, because I just got back from a long trip and am busy for the next week at least.

Now what does this mean? >>>>> find a microclime that will have it survive.>>>>

Thanks again. Thank You!
Thumb of 2014-07-28/ndantonio2/094b35

NancyD in NYC
[url=www.nycrooftopgardener.blogspot.com]www.nycrooftopgardener.blogspot.com[/url]
Name: Lin
Florida (Zone 9b)
Region: United States of America Morning Glories Region: Florida Houseplants Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
Garden Procrastinator Birds Butterflies Bee Lover Hummingbirder Container Gardener
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plantladylin
Jul 27, 2014 9:36 PM CST
Wow, that looks like a great space for gardening. I love the view and it looks like you've got some nice plants there already; a couple of Crepe Myrtle trees blooming all summer will really brighten it up!

Rooftop gardens are such a great concept! I've never been to N.Y. city but always thought of it as a cold place with nothing but cement and skyscrapers ... until I saw Gordon's photo's!! It's wonderful to be able to bring greenery and a garden to the roof.
~ Eat, Sleep .... Play in the dirt ~
Name: Gordon
Brooklyn , New York
Charter ATP Member Miniature Gardening Container Gardener Region: United States of America Butterflies Garden Art
Tropicals Plumerias Roses Ponds Birds Plant and/or Seed Trader
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GordonHawk
Jul 28, 2014 6:03 PM CST
Well...Nancy.. i see you are signed up for my tour on the 9th... we can talk at length then;;; we always have a great time there// you can get a pre feel for it by visiting the link i posted...
funny you were already index to meet up with me ... before I was recomended to you by my old plumeria friend Hetty... to talk to about the crape's.. I don't have any here ... but I do have some at my house in AL... in this little town that claims to be the crape mirtle capital of the state.. it's the same zone there as we are here .. 7..
this means >>>>> find a microclime that will have it survive.>>>> well even on your roof... there are places that are quite different from one another ... places that play to the needs of the pants... and others that minimise the undiserable aspects of your situation.. these we wish to identify and use to the benefit of the garden.. and individual plants...
like tucked behind the bulkhead wall where you access the roof from.. you'll get radient heat from the structure .. and be blocked from the westerlies .. comming up across the river .... some times being behind a single building... could cause even higher winds for you... as the air traveling across the land.. encounters the blocking building... and like an airplane wing... the air it encounters has to speed up to go up and over the obsticle.. it wants to remain connected to the air mass it is traveling with...it then pancakes down on top of you at a higher velocity [ you'll see although only on the fifth floor level with my roof... I'm the tallest structure for perhaps 20 miles out to Short Hills in NJ ] remind me to go into the benefits of foam liners for your planter ... much better than wrapping ...and see the one in my red maple... it helps keep it cool in the spring .. to prevent over heating before it's time.... all my planters warm up faster than the ground planted plants near by... which is why it is a mecca for squirrels in the hood... comming up the 4 floors on the fire escape to burry the nuts they are given in the park.. and acorns that they find on their own.. they know they know the planters will thaw out faster .. and they can access their stash weeks before the ones in the ground.. come spring..
Looking forward to meeting you at the tour...
[Last edited by GordonHawk - Jul 28, 2014 6:10 PM (+)]
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