Monday, April 13, 2009

Crape Myrtle Propagation: Step by Step

This weekend I picked up some cuttings of a red flowering crape myrtle to propagate. I took 6 inch hardwood cuttings that were just beginning to leaf out. Since I didn't have time to treat them right away I left them in a jar of water overnight to stay moist and treated them with rooting hormone the next day.

Here's the crape myrtle sticking procedure step by step. (Of course it can be used for many other plants as well.)

 1. Prepare your potting medium. In this case I used sand but a 50/50 mix of sand and peat would work fine. Vermiculite is another good medium to use.


2.Take the cut end of the crape myrtle and dip it into the rooting hormone. I usually just dump a little hormone into a cup then dab the end of the cutting into it. Don't stick your cutting into your jar of hormone or you may contaminate it with any diseases that the cutting may have.


3.Carefully insert the coated ends of the cuttings into the potting medium. You want to make sure that you don't knock off the rooting hormone. Using a pencil or a dibber to make a hole ahead of time is a good idea but I usually don't bother and they do just fine. Water the potting medium carefully so that it is wet but not soaked and keep it steadily moist until rooting has occurred. 

4.  This step is the hardest...wait.  Wait for the cutting to hold to the potting medium after a slight tug.  If there is resistance (it usually means there are roots) I usually add enough water to make the sand soft enough to easily pull the cutting out of the medium. The other option is to remove all the plants at the same time and gently separate them.

5.  The best step...enjoy the new plants! In about 6 weeks (or maybe less) the new little crape myrtles will be all set to grow in the garden. 
  

14 comments :

  1. Good luck! I am always amazed every spring- have two Crape myrtles- Tuscarora and Dynamite. Tuscarora leafs out two to three weeks before Dynamite. They are only planted about 20 feet apart. Do you know which red one you have? I really like the red in the Dynamite.

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  2. Good deal! You make it look so easy and good luck with the roots.

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  3. My Tuscarora drops seeds and there are natural seedlings in one area. We just transplanted a seedling that sprouted last year. Don't know yet if it's okay, but the crapes just started leafing out, so I'll know soon.

    Cameron

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  4. Thanks Dave- a very timely post! I have some dwarf forsythia to try this on. Hope it works, I love free plants.
    Heather

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  5. This is great, Dave! I love crepe myrtles, and was so excited to discover that they'd grow up here (not like they do down there, of course, sigh). Thanks for the step-by-step!

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  6. Do you ever have volunteers come up beside your trees? They are pretty easy to dig up too.

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  7. Janet,

    I'm not really sure what the named varieties are with these cuttings. They came from my in-laws front garden and all I know is that they bloom reddish and tend to have red tints in the leaves. Their plants are about 7-8 feet tall right now and grew that last season. It's definitely not a shorter variety!

    Tina,

    I think it is easy and anyone who wanted to could do it. Some plants are harder but crapes are good ones for anyone to start propagating.

    Cameron,

    I don't have enough mature crape myrtles to reliably get offspring from seeds. Besides the deer ate the flowers we had last summer!

    Heather,

    You don't even need to use rooting hormone on forsythia. Just stick them in a pot of dirt and you should have plants!

    OFB,

    You're welcome! Crape myrtles are great trees as long as they aren't murdered!

    Darla,

    I've planted a few volunteers form my parent's yard but haven't had any new ones here. Hopefully that will begin once our trees get more mature!

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  8. Hi Dave...Good info...I am getting ready to move a few seedlings of Natchez to new spots. gail

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  9. Dave, While in Kentucky (zone 6) I dug up a sucker from my Mom's crepe myrtle. I plan on seein what it'll do here. I have it soakin in some water now. What's your best advice for planting it in my zone 5 garden? It's basically a bare root plant right now.

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  10. Thanks Gail! Good luck on your transplanting.

    TC,

    I would pot it up and keep it inside until your safe freeze date is past them put it outside. It will be borderline in your area so it may die back every now and then but as long as the roots stay alive it will come back. Mulch, mulch and mulch but you know that!

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  11. Good advice Dave. Thanks pal!

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  12. Can this be done now? I have two dynamites and would love to have more.

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  13. Camille,

    Sure can! The semi-ripe wood works great. Take the cuttings in the morning after they have recovered from the heat of the previous day and to avoid drying out issues. Good luck with it and let me know how it goes!

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  14. Did it work Dave? I am planning on getting trimmings from a tree at work.

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