How To Propagate Crepe Myrtle Trees - 2023 Guide

Written by Ivy

Jan 12 2023

How To Propagate Crepe Myrtle Trees - 2023 Guide

The good news is that all gardeners can easily propagate (reproduce) Crepe Myrtle at home because it is surprisingly simple. All that is required to get started is a mature, healthy tree.

A topic like propagation can be intimidating to dive into, especially if you've never given it a shot before. Not to worry, though; we'll go over crepe myrtle propagation in detail while keeping things straightforward.

Things You Will Need

  • Peat

  • Perlite

  • Bucket

  • Pots

  • Isopropyl alcohol

  • Pruning shears

  • Rooting hormone

  • Clear plastic bags

  • Potting soil

How to Propagate Crepe Myrtles


Cuttings from crepe myrtle trees can be easily multiplied, and the growing seasons of June, July, and August are ideal for taking cuttings and establishing them.

Propagating With Hardwood Cuttings

You can prune a branch that is two to three feet long when the tree has lost its leaves and gone dormant (typically in late November). Cut that branch into half-inch-diameter, four to eight-inch-long cuttings. Make your cuts along the branch just below a leaf node or bud (see illustrations).

  • The cuttings should be planted with the leaf buds facing upward in one-gallon pots (or directly into a well-prepared bed) using a quality potting soil mixture. The cuttings should be placed outside in a sunny area, regardless of your decision. Less than two inches of the cutting should be visible above the ground.
  • Plant one to three cuttings in the ground, based on whether you want a single or multiple-trunk tree. The cuttings will be fine outside, but make sure to cover them or move them inside an enclosed building, like a garage or a storage shed, during very hard freezes.
  • If you have planted your cuttings in pots, put them in a sunny spot and water them just enough to keep the soil moist once the spring foliage starts to appear. You can plant the new roots in your yard once they have covered the entire container.

A crepe myrtle tree's leaves change color in the fall from yellow to orange to red. How beautiful they could be in your yard.


Propagating With Softwood Cuttings

Crepe myrtle trees have new growth at the tips of the branches. When the growth is still soft and green, softwood cuttings are taken. They can be taken at any time during the tree's busiest, most active growth season (the best time is typically between late May and mid-June).

Softwood cuttings taken early in the summer will have plenty of time to establish themselves before the winter dormancy period. After July, you should refrain from taking softwood cuttings.

  • Take softwood cuttings from the ends of the stems, where the new growth is soft and green, and make your cut just below a leaf node. A six-inch maximum is the maximum length you should cut.
  • Once you've got your cuttings, trim the leaves off the bottom, leaving a few leaves on top of each one.
  • You should remove the leaves before dipping the cutting in a powdered rooting hormone. Then place them in tiny trays or containers with a good potting mix inside.
  • Labeling the cuttings with the names of the various varieties is a good idea if you plan on rerooting a number of them.
  • Place the cuttings inside a greenhouse with lots of light if you have one. If not, put them somewhere with a lot of humidity. Keep the soil moist and frequently mist the cuttings. The roots should quickly form; this usually takes three to four weeks. You don't want the soil to dry out before they have a chance to do so.
  • Your cuttings can be moved into a bigger pot once the roots have developed. Depending on whether you want a single or multiple-trunk tree, you can plant one to three rooted cuttings in a big container.
  • Planting your crepe myrtle in your landscape will allow roots to fill the soil in the larger container. To prevent the soil from completely drying out, give it enough water, especially during the first year.

You are now well on your way to cultivating one of the most stunning trees in the entire world!

Propagating Crepe Myrtle from Seed

Crepe myrtles are extraordinarily simple to grow from seed, in contrast to many other widely used landscape plants.

Wait until the pods are just starting to open on their own before picking seeds directly from the plant. The seeds can be manually shaken free from the pods and into a bag or bowl, though some will eventually fall to the ground naturally.

Cut the seed pods off before they open if you'd rather not wait for the ideal moment to shake seeds from your Crepe Myrtle's branches.

Bring the group of seed pods inside, then submerge the stem in water. You can easily gather the seeds at your own pace once they eventually open on their own.

Gathering more seeds than you anticipate using is a good idea because many of them won't grow.

In general, collected crepe myrtle seeds are viable for at least two years. Even though older seeds still have a chance of germination, the likelihood will gradually decline with time.

You don't need to be concerned about finding a partner plant to produce seed because Crepe Myrtle flowers can self- and cross-pollinate. The fact that Crepe Myrtles grown from seed won't be exactly like the parent plant should be remembered.

Propagating Crepe Myrtles from Roots

A great way to increase the size of your garden without taking cuttings from the actual tree is to grow Crepe Myrtles from root tissue.

Use a sharp, clean garden knife to carefully cut pieces of root that are between two and four inches long after carefully excavating around the crepe myrtle's root system.

Because so much cell division takes place in this region, cuttings taken from close to the root crown typically produce more vigorous growth.

Where to Cut Crepe Myrtle for Propagation

Using a cutting with several healthy nodes is essential for effective Crepe Myrtle propagation using this technique. The raised areas of a stem known as nodes are where new growth, such as stems, leaves, and flower buds, first appears. Four to three nodes make up the ideal cutting.

Cuttings from crepe myrtles, whether softwood or semi-hardwood, should be taken as near as possible to the main branch. To put it another way, you should choose a softwood or semi-hardwood branch that is the right length rather than trimming a longer one.

When to Propagate Crepe Myrtle

The best time to propagate Crepe Myrtle is entirely dependent on the method you choose:

Before they are ready to be harvested, crepe myrtle seed pods must reach maturity on the tree. Refrain from harvesting the seeds inside seed pods until they are dry and brown. Late fall is usually when this occurs. When seeds are most likely to germinate—early spring—they should be stored for the best results.

When the crepe myrtle is dormant, roots should be cut. Because the new plant can enter the growing season right away, early spring is typically the best time to propagate by root cuttings.

During the spring and summer, stem cuttings can be used to propagate Crepe Myrtles almost whenever you like. Just bear in mind that depending on your precise timing, softwood or semi-hardwood cuttings may be easier to come by.


Crepe Myrtle Propagation Potting Medium

The soil in which Crepe Myrtle grows is not important to it in the same way that it is for many other plant species. This is also accurate when growing Crepe Myrtle from seeds or different cuttings.

I suggest utilizing a multipurpose potting mix when starting seeds or cuttings in containers. You can use garden soil if you'd like, but store-bought potting soil is less likely to have bugs, fungi, or diseases.

Feel free to add a layer of sphagnum moss or clean mulch to the surface of the container as well, given how important moisture is at this stage of propagation. You can completely enclose the seedling or cutting in a plastic bag if it will be kept in a relatively dry location.

Planting Crepe Myrtle After Propagation

The use of containers when propagating crepe myrtle is recommended. The cutting or sprouted seed will therefore eventually need to be moved to its final location in the landscape.

I advise relocating propagated Crepe Myrtles to the planned planting area a few weeks before transplanting. The plants can then begin to acclimate before being taken out of their original container by doing this.

Make sure to preserve the newly established root system when transplanting your propagated Crepe Myrtle from the pot to the ground. The roots will have plenty of room to spread out and continue growing if you dig a hole that is at least 50% wider than the roots.

Sprinkle a slow-release granular fertilizer for Crepe Myrtle into the planting hole and be careful not to plant your sapling too deep in the soil. No matter how tiny the root ball is, its top should be level with the soil's surface. (Read More: When to Fertilize Your Crape Myrtle)

When to Transplant Young Rooted Crepe Myrtle Plants

Crepe myrtles should typically be planted in the late fall or early spring. This gives the plant enough time to adapt prior to the chilly winter or sweltering summer.

For instance, a seed sown in the spring may be moved that fall or left in its container until the following spring. Root and stem cuttings work the same way.

Both transplanting as soon as possible and giving the plant a little more time to mature have advantages.

A Crepe Myrtle seedling or rooted cutting is given plenty of time to adapt to its new location when transplanted just a few months after it was originally planted.

The possibility of severe transplant shock, which could impair growth and flower production the first year, is reduced. The disadvantage is that a seedling or cutting that hasn't yet established itself may not withstand environmental factors or pest attacks.

Your Crepe Myrtle will benefit from a stronger trunk and wider root system if you hold off on transplanting it for a little while. The Crepe Myrtle might not settle in as quickly because the transplanting procedure will be more physically demanding.



Another simple method of crepe myrtle tree propagation is to discover how to start them from the roots. Early spring is the best time to dig up and plant root cuttings in containers. Put the pots in a greenhouse or other appropriate space with enough heat and light.

FAQ of How to Propagate Crepe Myrtle

Can You Root Crepe Myrtles in Water?

Crepe myrtle can be multiplied in a variety of ways, but immersing cuttings in water is not one of them. In comparison to using potting soil, this method of re-rooting Crepe Myrtles has a very low success rate. Additionally, rot is more likely.

How Long Does It Take for Crepe Myrtle Cuttings to Root?

Place the cuttings in a 3 to 4 inch (8 to 10 cm) pot of moist sand and potting mix after dipping each end in the rooting hormone.) deep. To keep them damp, wrap in a plastic bag. Rooting usually take s place within four to eight weeks

Can You Put Crepe Myrtle Cuttings Straight into Soil?

Technically, you can move your cuttings to soil at any time. It is much more difficult to propagate inside your home, even though you can actually do it by planting seeds directly in the ground. You need to maintain a healthy balance of soil moisture, airflow, and humidity when you propagate in soil. Inside, that can be very challenging to accomplish.

Is It Better to Root Crepe Myrtle Cuttings in Water Or Soil?

Some plants can grow roots in water, but Crepe Myrtle cuttings grow stronger roots when they are rooted in a soilless potting mixture. Additionally, you could use sand or perlite, particularly for cuttings that require good drainage and might rot if left too wet.