Pacific Northwest Gardening forum→Crepe myrtles in the PNW?

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Name: Ali
Key Peninsula, western WA (Zone 8b)
lohrn4
Aug 12, 2015 2:49 PM CST
Should I even bother?
Name: Linda
Bellevue, WA (Zone 8a)
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In2art
Aug 19, 2015 2:52 PM CST
I would probably want to select the cultivar of the crape myrtle; and it would also be a shame to miss an opportunity to visit Wells Medina Nursery. I do appreciate the offer though.

I have a wish list for that trip already started. Japanese Maple 'Fairy Hair', and a few perennials...
Name: Julia
Washington State (Zone 7a)
Photo Contest Winner 2018 Garden Photography Region: Pacific Northwest Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Forum moderator Plant Database Moderator
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Dog Lover Sempervivums Container Gardener Foliage Fan Greenhouse
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springcolor
Sep 14, 2015 11:52 AM CST
I went to the Miller horticultural Library by the University of Washington on Friday and they have some beautiful Crepe Myrtles in there garden flowering now. Wish I would have had my camera.
Sempervivum for Sale

lawndawg78
Dec 18, 2015 4:15 AM CST
I have only seen one crepe myrtle where I'm at (southwest wa coast) I dont think it flowered much but I don't think it mattered.... The bark was the spectacular trait for this one. It was 15 ish feet and guessing planted 20-30 years ago. Multitrunked, with a high sparse canopy... Kind of didn't really notice it until you got close. The colors of the bark were amazing!! I wish I had some pics of it.

Ali- if u decide to get the lil trees I would love a couple of dogwoods and the crepe myrtle even a redbud. Smiling

If u decide to
Name: Deb
Planet Earth (Zone 8b)
Region: Pacific Northwest Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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Bonehead
Dec 18, 2015 10:08 AM CST
Welcome Dawg! Sounds pretty. I don't even know what a crepe myrtle looks like (other than from photos). Are they the same as the myrtles down on the coast by you - all the myrtlewood shops? Or is that a different tree?
I want to live in a world where the chicken can cross the road without its motives being questioned.

lawndawg78
Dec 19, 2015 1:48 AM CST
The crepe myrtle with the awesome bark is Lagerstroemia fauriei... The myrtle you might be thinking of is probably pacific wax myrtle. Useful in the landscape, but by no means a show off in any way.

lsjogren
Jul 16, 2018 6:43 AM CST
Crape Myrtles do reasonably well in Portland area. Especially ones that are well-established, they tend to bloom well every summer. As I understand it they are very marginal bloomers in the Seattle area, which is to be expected because the summer does not tend to get hot enough for them to bloom well. Nursery owner Lucile Whitman told me a few years ago when I bought some crape myrtles from her that there was a hot summer (maybe 2014 or a year close to that) where CMs bloomed well in Seattle and then they got really popular there, but people failed to realize that they only bloom up there in a hot summer.

She also explained to me an extra nuance about good CM blooming and I wasn't sure I caught it correctly but I believe it is this: To bloom well they need some warm nights as well as days. When we get hot days in the Portland area where the overnight lows are in the 60s, rather than the more typical 50s for summertime, that seems to help stimulate blooms.

As to my own experience with CMs in my garden in Vancouver WA: I have about 30 or so I have planted in my garden. A few have done extremely well. My prime one is a Natchez which is growing rapidly and blooms well, it is already in bloom in July. In contrast, some of my smaller CMs haven't bloomed yet. I had some Purple Magics which got a whole bunch of flower buds in the latter part of summer, but those never did reach bloom and so they wound up putting a whole lot of their energy into blooming, to no avail.

My main problem with CMs, however, is that most of mine have grown very slowly. I have some Catawbas I planted about 5 years ago, they were pretty good size, 2 gallon I think, and they aren't a whole lot bigger now after 5 years. And they basically have not bloomed at all yet. They are known to need good sun exposure, and mine do, so something else is holding them up. I think most likely it is poor soil. Most of my slow growing ones I am keeping in in the hopes that they will perk up and grow more vigorously as they get more established. Time will tell.

Region: Pacific Northwest
LoriNaturalWorx
Feb 3, 2019 2:38 PM CST
Hi everybody. Just chiming in... I'm moving back to the area after living in Tennessee for 30 years We are on the process of transitioning our small farm and nursery operation to Blaine Washington (zone 6B to zone 8A) so I feel set this is a topic I can help with.

The key to crepe myrtles IS heat as far as blooming and growth. I have several specimens I'm bringing with me and I'm going to try the old trick of planting them against a south-facing heat collecting wall. I'm pretty confident that will work. I'm not too worried about the winter part of it because we have much colder Winters in the mountains of Tennessee where I'm from ... And the crepe myrtles are from 😅

And honestly even if they never Bloom for you, the bark on these things is gorgeous. Many cultivars have bark that is striped and peels like a eucalyptus tree. So they are always Hurray! beautiful and an interesting Garden addition even in the winter. They can grow immensely tall in the south. I once purchased a specimen that was already 40 ft tall when I bought it at a nursery outside Memphis Tennessee that specializes in crepes. Of course I'm not expecting that kind of growth here LOL.

Since I'm back in the Pacific Northwest after 40 years away, I'm hoping a lot of you on this forum can help me readjust my gardening skills for my new environment LOL

Thanks
Lori

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