The Best Way To Propagate Crepe Myrtles For A Healthy, Colorful Yard

If you're looking for fast-growing trees that will flower and bring beautiful color and charm into your garden, crepe myrtle (Lagerstroemia spp.) could tick all the right boxes. This tree gets its name from the pretty clusters of flowers that bloom, reaching 6 to 18 inches long, and look like crepe paper. The blooms come in a variety of different colors (except blue, yellow, and orange.) The best thing about growing crepe myrtle is that this is a tree you can grow yourself from a cutting!

The best way to propagate crepe myrtles if you want fast results is by using soft cuttings. Hardwood can take several months to produce roots, whereas soft cuttings will only take 3-6 weeks. This means you'll be able to plant the tree in your garden much sooner, depending on the season, and get about 1-2 feet of growth each year. Taking soft cuttings from an already established tree is easy, and we'll walk you through the propagation process.

How to propagate soft cuttings from a crepe myrtle tree

A great time to take soft cuttings from a crepe myrtle tree is during June, July, or August. When making a softwood cutting look for the newest growth on a tree, which will be nearest the tips, and follow the branch down to see where it changes from soft to hardwood. You'll see the transition clearly because the color will go from green to brown. This is where you want to cut. If your cutting is a long one, divide it up so that each section has several nodes, and the base of each cutting has been cut directly below a leaf node. A node refers to the area on a stem that has the tissue it needs to produce new growth, and this is why you will often find leaves, buds, or blooms growing out of them.

You can remove the bottom leaves from each cutting, then apply a root hormone powder, and plant it straight into a container of potting soil mix. With plenty of light, watering, and high humidity, it should take about 3-4 weeks for the roots to form. Then your tree is ready to be transplanted into a bigger pot that has plenty of drainage and left while the roots develop further until they are ready to be planted outside in your garden. It's as simple as that!

How to transplant young crepe myrtles in your garden

To ensure the successful growth of your myrtle tree there are a few things to consider before transplanting rooted cuttings into the ground. When you do this will depend greatly on where you live and what the temperature is. You wouldn't want to expose your young and vulnerable plant to a cold winter that is fast approaching, for example, and if this is the case then it would be sensible to wait until the following spring before planting your tree in its permanent home.

You might also need to allow time for your crepe myrtle to acclimatize to the new environment before planting it directly into the soil. You can do this quite easily, by putting the potted plant in full sun for a minimum of a week before planting in the ground. This is a process that should be done slowly, transitioning the pot further into the sun each day, and ensuring to keep the soil moist with plenty of water.

After planting the tree in the ground it will still need more water than when it has fully matured because the root system is still developing. You can help the ground to retain more moisture by covering the surface of the soil around your tree with a layer of mulch. The mulch will also help to stop weeds from growing and competing with your crepe myrtle for water and nutrients.