A few tips for growing crape myrtle involve simple steps for achieving beautiful crape myrtle. The crape myrtle is an ornamental tree that produces a variety of colored blossoms, depending on the particular tree. Originally from Asia, two varieties of crape myrtle are commonly seen in the United States today: the common crape myrtle, introduced in 1747, and the Japanese crape myrtle, introduced in the 1950s due to its resistance to powdery mildew and its tolerance for cold temperatures. Giving a crape myrtle proper care can result in years of enjoyment.
Crape myrtle thrives best in full sunlight. Without full sun, a crape myrtle's blossoms tend to be thin, and it may lose the ability to ward off certain diseases and pests. Crape myrtle is less particular about the soil in which it is grown, but it cannot tolerate very wet conditions. A well-drained area is preferable to one containing heavy clay or depressions that retain water. Crape myrtle grows best when the soil pH is between 5.0 and 6.5, or slightly acidic.
The crape myrtle tends to go dormant during the fall and winter, making these seasons the best time to transplant the trees. Because a crape myrtle's roots may be active even after it has lost its leaves, it is wise to wait a few weeks after the crape myrtle finishes shedding its leaves before transplanting it. Trees transplanted in fall and winter are usually able to establish themselves in their new environment better than trees that are transplanted in the spring. Crape myrtle trees cannot survive a hard freeze and should not be transplanted into northern locations where they will not survive the winter.
Crape myrtle trees should be pruned in mid- to late winter. Since crape myrtle blossoms on the current year's growth, a tree that is pruned in winter will still produce blossoms the following spring. Usually, only a limited pruning is necessary, as excessive pruning will destroy the crape myrtle's shape and may render it vulnerable to disease and pests.