Crape myrtles produce colorful displays of beautiful flowers during summer and fall. These attractive, low-maintenance shrubs and trees thrive in various conditions and locations. In this article, we’ll discover if crape myrtles can grow in pots.
Can Crape Myrtle Grow in Pots?
Crape myrtles (Lagerstroemia spp.) are one of the easiest deciduous shrubs to grow in pots. They are native to parts of Asia, Australia, and the Indian Subcontinent. However, crape myrtles are also naturalized in North America, especially in the Southern United States.
Most types of crape myrtles thrive in USDA Zones 6 to 9. However, gardeners in colder areas can grow crape myrtles in containers. This enables you to protect the plants during harsh winter conditions by bringing them indoors or wrapping them in fleece.
Growing crape myrtles in containers keeps them to a manageable size, especially if you don’t have a lot of space (or you’re growing a crape myrtle as a bonsai tree). They are fast-growing plants that can reach up to 30 feet high and approximately 15 feet wide. However, growing crape myrtles in pots restricts and slows down their growth.
What Kind of Pots Are Best for Crape Myrtles?
Crape myrtles thrive in pots as long as the container is the right size. Choose containers that are two or three times as wide as the nursery pot that your crape myrtle came in. A container that’s 3 to 3.5 feet wide and 3 feet deep is a good size for most crape myrtles.
Plant pots can be made from different materials, some of which suit crape myrtles more than others. Crape myrtles thrive in most growing mediums as long as the soil is well-draining. Ceramic pots are ideal because they are porous, allowing excess water to evaporate whilst also being durable.
Clay and plastic pots are easily damaged, while wooden pots require lots of maintenance. Terracotta containers are porous but can dry out too quickly in hot weather. Terracotta pots are also susceptible to damage during the winter.
Regardless of your pot material, always choose a container with drainage holes. These holes allow excess water to drain, stopping the soil from getting waterlogged. Waterlogged soil causes problems like root rot.
How to Grow Crape Myrtles in Pots
Crape myrtles need roughly six hours of full sun every day. South or west-facing parts of your garden are ideal. Crape myrtles also need a sheltered spot out of the wind, so position the pot accordingly.
Crape myrtles require well-draining soils that still hold some moisture. They also prefer slightly acidic soils with a pH level between 5.0 and 6.5. Crape myrtles tolerate nutrient-poor soils, making them highly adaptable.
Crape myrtles are fairly drought-tolerant once established, but growing them in pots means they dry out more quickly. Water your potted crape myrtle whenever the top 2 to 4 inches of soil feel dry. You’ll need to water more frequently in hot, dry weather.
Crape myrtles don’t mind nutrient-poor soils, but fertilizer helps produce the best blooms. Feed established crape myrtles once in the spring with some slow-release fertilizer granules. This provides nutrients throughout the development of the flower buds.
Winter Care for Crape Myrtles in Pots
Growing crape myrtles in pots allow gardeners to enjoy them in colder regions. Although crape myrtles thrive in Zones 6 to 9, they can tolerate winter temperatures as low as -5ºF.
Protect potted crape myrtles during the winter by wrapping them in horticultural fleece. You can wrap both the pot and the trunk. Alternatively, bring your crape myrtle indoors to keep it warm. A greenhouse is ideal.
Crape Myrtle in Pots FAQs
What Crape Myrtles Are Best for Pots?
While most crape myrtles thrive in pots, dwarf and semi-dwarf cultivars are perfect for growing in containers. These compact crape myrtles grow between 2 and 6 feet tall, making them easy to manage.
Can Crape Myrtles Be Kept Small?
Crape myrtles are fast-growing plants that can be kept in check through regular pruning. Prune crape myrtles in late winter or early spring, but don’t overdo it.
Where Do Crape Myrtles Grow Best?
Crape myrtles grow best in Zones 6 to 9 and prefer warm conditions. Crape myrtles need approximately six hours of full sun every day.
Crape myrtles are easy to grow in containers as long as they receive full sun and have well-draining soils. Growing crape myrtles in pots allows you to grow them in colder regions outside Zones 6 to 9.