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The Complete Guide to Crepe Myrtle Planting and Care

Crepe Myrtle

Crepe Myrtles are known for their stunning, long-lasting flower displays and attractive, peeling bark. Not only are these small trees visually striking, but they’re also relatively easy to care for. If you’re considering adding a Crepe Myrtle to your landscape, this guide will provide you with the knowledge you need for successful planting and care.

Table of Contents

  • Introduction
  • Choosing the Right Crepe Myrtle
  • Planting Steps
  • Ongoing Care
  • Pruning and Maintenance
  • Common Problems and Solutions
  • Conclusion

Choosing the Right Crepe Myrtle

Varieties: Crepe Myrtles come in various forms, sizes, and colors. Depending on your space and aesthetic preferences, there’s likely a variety that will suit your needs.

Climate: These plants are native to warm climates and are most suitable for USDA zones 7-10.

Purchase from a Reputable Source: Always buy from a reputable nursery to ensure you’re getting a disease-free plant.

Planting Steps

Time of Planting

The best time to plant Crepe Myrtle is in late fall or early spring.

Site Selection

Choose a site with well-drained soil and at least six hours of direct sunlight daily.

Planting Process

  1. Dig the Hole: The hole should be twice as wide as the root ball but no deeper.
  2. Prepare the Soil: Mix some organic matter into the excavated soil.
  3. Position the Tree: Set the tree in the hole and ensure it’s standing straight.
  4. Backfill: Fill in the hole with the soil mixture, tamping down as you go to eliminate air pockets.
  5. Water Thoroughly: Water the tree to help settle the soil around the roots.

Ongoing Care

Watering: Crepe Myrtles are relatively drought-tolerant, but regular watering during the first year will help establish the root system.

Mulching: A 2-4 inch layer of organic mulch around the base will help retain moisture and reduce weed competition.

Fertilizing: In early spring, apply a balanced fertilizer to encourage new growth and flowering.

Pruning and Maintenance

Pruning is often necessary for Crepe Myrtles to maintain their shape and encourage more prolific flowering.

  • Winter Pruning: Remove dead or weak branches and shape the tree as desired.
  • Summer Pruning: Lightly prune to remove spent flowers and encourage a second bloom.

Caution: Avoid heavy pruning, often referred to as “Crepe Murder,” as this can severely damage the tree.

Common Problems and Solutions

  • Powdery Mildew: Ensure good air circulation and consider fungicidal treatments if necessary.
  • Aphids: These can be controlled with insecticidal soap or natural predators like ladybugs.


Crepe Myrtles are a superb addition to any landscape, offering dazzling summer blooms and attractive winter bark. With the right care, your Crepe Myrtle can thrive for years, becoming a focal point in your garden. Whether you’re a gardening novice or a seasoned pro, this guide will help you master the art of Crepe Myrtle care.

Happy planting