How To Propagate Crepe Myrtle From Cuttings and Seeds

Learn how to propagate crepe myrtle from cuttings, seeds and layering method, as I have grown it in Australia. Crepe myrtle trees look very beautiful because of their vibrant pink or red or white blooms. Propagating crepe myrtle is a great way to beautify your garden. This article gives different ways of crepe myrtle propagation including from cuttings, from seeds and by layering method.

Crepe Myrtle Propagation From Cuttings

Crepe Myrtle Flowers
Crepe Myrtle Stunning Flowers

One of the easiest ways to propagate crepe myrtle is from cuttings. Follow these steps to successfully propagate a crepe myrtle tree from stem cuttings. The suggested procedure is the best way to root and propagate crepe myrtle cuttings.

  1. Crape myrtle trees can easily be propagated from semi-hardwood cuttings during the growing season in spring to summer. The cuttings will not propagate in winter. Crepe myrtle hardwood cuttings will not root.
  2. Select a branch free from any diseases, pests or damages of the crepe myrtle tree. As only the semi-hardwood cuttings will root, so select the branch that has grown in the previous year.
  3. Using sharp and sterilized pruning shears, cut 6 to 8 inch long pencil thick crape myrtle cuttings. Wrap the cuttings in wet newspaper and enclose in a zip lock bag while you carry them to your place or prepare for other things for planting them.
  4. It is best to root cuttings in a pot where it is easy to control the growing conditions.
  5. Select a small pot having many drainage holes. Fill the pot with free draining soil mixture, you can use a mixture of potting soil and sand.
  6. Water the soil thoroughly so as to wet the soil at all the points. keep the pot in shade for half an hour to drain excess water.
  7. Remove all the bottom leaves from the cutting, you may leave a few leaves at the top.
  8. To the lower end of the cutting, apply rooting hormone powder to promote root development. You can use a chemical powder or liquied rooting hormone or use a natural rooting hormone like aloe Vera gel.
  9. Insert a stick in the soil to make a hole and plant the cutting in the hole, do not push.
  10. Enclose the pot in a plastic bag to keep the humidity high inside. Place the pot in a warm bright location but out of direct sunlight.
  11. You can place the pot indoors if the temperature outside is less than 20°C (68°F) or you can place the pot on a heat mat.
  12. Open the bag every week and mist the cutting to keep the humidity high, you may need to add a few drops of water to keep the soil moist.
  13. The crepe myrtle cuttings will root in 4 to 8 weeks, depending on temperature and other rooting conditions.
  14. To check if roots have formed, gently tug on the cutting. If the cuttings have grown roots, then you will feel resistance.
  15. Transfer the cuttings to a larger pot or to your garden once the plants have formed roots. You can even transplant the rooted cuttings during the fall or winter months when they are dormant.

Rooted crepe myrtle cuttings
Rooted crepe myrtle cuttings, new leaves grown

Note that you can root a crepe myrtle cutting in water like some other trees. The cuttings will not root in water.

Growing Crepe Myrtle from Seeds

Propagating crepe myrtle by seeds is a bit tricky and not as simple as growing form cuttings. Here are the steps to grow crepe myrtle tree from seeds:

  1. Get Crepe Myrtle seeds: The crepe myrtles tree produce small round seed pods after flowering. When the pods dry and turn dark brown, squeeze them and shake the seeds out.
  2. The seed pods are tiny, but their large number weigh the limbs down to sag. If you want to raise the branches up, then you can remove the pods.
  3. Store the seeds in an airtight container and place in a cool, dry location until you are ready to plant them in the next spring.
  4. Crepe Myrtle Seed germination: The seeds have hard outer shell, so soak them in warm water for 24 hours to soften to help germination.
  5. Take a pot and fill it with free-draining soil. Plant the seeds and then water thoroughly.
  6. Place the pot in a warm, bright location, away from direct sunlight. You may enclose the pot in a plastic bag to keep the humidity high.
  7. Keep the soil moist. After about 3-4 weeks, the seeds will start to germinate, forming seedlings.
  8. Once the seedlings have grown 3-4 leaf sets, transplant them into individual pots or into your garden.

Propagation by Layering

Another easy way to propagate crepe myrtle tree is by layering.  Follow these steps to of layering crepe myrtle tree to propagate it:

  1. You can air layer a branch of crepe myrtle tree or do layering in ground. The air layering method involves encouraging a branch to form roots while it is still attached to the mother plant.
  2. Remove the bark from a small section from the underside of a flexible branch, about 1-2 inches long, apply rooting hormone and bend it down under a few inches of soil. Place some clip to keep the stem covered in soil.
  3. Water the soil thoroughly and keep it moist.
  4. Roots will develop in a few weeks.
  5. If you cannot find a lower branch that can be buried in ground, then you can air-layer the branch. In the method, you can put damp compost around the wounded stem and seal it with a plastic sheet.
  6. Once roots have formed, cut the branch from the mother plant and transplant it into a pot or into your garden.
  7. When to plant crepe myrtle: Crepe myrtle propagated cuttings or seedlings should be planted from late autumn to early spring, so that they establish themselves in soil and produce strong roots before the start of winter.

Video on Crepe Myrtle Propagation

How to propagate crepe myrtle from cuttings video