Crape myrtles are beautiful deciduous shrubs that are naturalized across the Southern United States. Crape myrtle ‘Natchez’ is one of the most beautiful and popular cultivars, thanks to its elegant, prolific white flowers. In this article, we’ll explain how to grow crape myrtle ‘Natchez’.

How to Grow and Care for Crape Myrtle 'Natchez'

Crape Myrtle ‘Natchez’: Overview

Plant Family:Lythraceae
Genus:Lagerstroemia
Common Names:Crape myrtle
Native Range:Southeastern United States
Growing Zones: 7 to 10 
Flowering Season:Summer
Flowering Colors:White
Mature Height:20-30 feet
Sunlight Full sun to partial shade
Fertilizing: Balanced, slow-release fertilizer with an N-P-K ratio of 8-8-8 or 10-10-10 in spring and summer.
Watering: Regular watering during the first year of growth, drought-tolerant once established.
Common Pests:Japanese beetle, aphids, spider mites
Pruning Needs:Prune in late winter or early spring before new growth emerges.

About Crape Myrtle ‘Natchez’

About Crape Myrtle 'Natchez'

Family & Genus

All crape myrtles come from the Lagerstroemia genus in the loosestrife family (Lythraceae). Crape myrtle ‘Natchez’ (Lagerstroemia x Natchez) is a hybrid cultivar created by combining Lagerstroemia fauriei with Lagerstroemia indica. It was produced by the National Arboretum in Washington D.C. and named after the Natchez, a Native American people.

Native Range

Crape myrtles are native to parts of Asia, Australia, and the Indian Subcontinent. Through its hybrid lineage, crape myrtle ‘Natchez’ comes from China, Japan, and Korea in Southeast Asia. In approximately 1790, crape myrtles were introduced to the United States and have since become naturalized, especially in the South.

Botanical Characteristics

Crape myrtle ‘Natchez’ is a deciduous shrub or small tree with multiple trunks. Crape myrtle ‘Natchez’ is prized for the large panicles of white, crepe-like flowers it produces from mid to late summer. It’s a gorgeous landscaping shrub that’s popular in the Southern United States.

Crape myrtle ‘Natchez’ has dark green leaves that turn attractive shades of orange and red during the fall. This cultivar loses its leaves in the winter, allowing its beautiful bark to take center stage. This peeling bark comes in shades of reddish-brown.

Meaning & Symbolism

Crape myrtles are strongly associated with the Southern United States despite being a naturalized species. Crape myrtle is often known as the ‘Lilac of the South’. Crape myrtles also symbolize beauty, love, good luck, and longevity. In many cultures, myrtles symbolize marriage and are a popular choice for wedding bouquets.

Uses & Benefits

Crape myrtles are excellent ornamental shrubs thanks to their beautiful flowers and low-maintenance requirements. Crape myrtles are frequently used in urban landscaping, especially in parks and other green spaces. Crape myrtles are a particularly popular feature in Southern gardens and parks.

How Tall, Wide, and Fast Does Crape Myrtle ‘Natchez’ Grow?

Crape myrtle ‘Natchez’ grows between 25 and 30 feet tall and approximately 15 to 25 feet wide. This cultivar’s impressive potential size makes it ideal for urban landscaping. Like other crape myrtles, ‘Natchez’ is a fast-growing plant that can grow by as much as 3 feet per year.

Where and How to Plant Crape Myrtle ‘Natchez’

Where and How to Plant Crape Myrtle 'Natchez'

Crape myrtle ‘Natchez’ thrives in USDA Zones 6 to 10. ‘Natchez’ is surprisingly cold-hardy and can survive winter temperatures as low as -5ºF.

Crape myrtle ‘Natchez’ requires a sheltered location that gets approximately six hours of full sun every day. These deciduous shrubs also require well-draining soils that retain some moisture. Crape myrtle ‘Natchez’ is also fairly drought-tolerant and heat-tolerant.

Plant crape myrtle ‘Natchez’ in the fall or early spring. Dig a hole that’s twice as wide and the same depth as the shrub’s nursery pot. Situate the plant in the hole, leaving the top of the root ball just above the surface.

Can I Grow Crape Myrtle ‘Natchez’ in a Pot? 

Crape myrtle ‘Natchez’ can be grown in a pot with proper growing conditions. It requires a pot that is at least 24-30 inches wide and deep, well-draining potting soil, full sun to partial shade, regular watering, regular fertilization, and pruning as needed. With the right care, crape myrtle ‘Natchez’ can thrive in a container garden.

How to Grow Crape Myrtle ‘Natchez’

How to Grow Crape Myrtle 'Natchez'

Sunlight

Crape myrtle ‘Natchez’ needs at least six hours of full sun daily, ideally in a south or west-facing location. Morning sunlight is less intense, making it preferable to harsh direct afternoon sun (which can lead to yellowing leaves). Crape myrtles growing in too much shade will struggle to flower properly.

Soil Conditions

Crape myrtle ‘Natchez’ requires loose, well-draining soils that still hold some moisture. Chalky, loamy, or sandy soils are perfect. Crape myrtle ‘Natchez’ does best in slightly acidic soils with pH levels from 5.0 to 6.5. However, most neutral soils will be perfectly fine.

Watering

Once established, crape myrtle ‘Natchez’ is reasonably drought-tolerant. Water it once every two weeks if you haven’t had any recent rainfall. Water newly planted crape myrtle ‘Natchez’ plants once or twice weekly for the first two years. This allows the shrub to establish itself.

Fertilizing

Fertilize established crape myrtle ‘Natchez’ shrubs once in the spring when new leaves start to appear. Use slow-release fertilizer granules to provide long-lasting nutrients. Feed newly planted shrubs once a month in their first growing season with diluted liquid fertilizer.

Pruning

Prune crape myrtle ‘Natchez’ shrubs in winter or early spring while they are dormant. This is the best time to shape the plant if desired. Remove damaged or weak branches from crape myrtle ‘Natchez’ plants at any time of year.

Crape myrtles develop flowers on new growth, so avoid pruning them while the buds are developing. Deadhead spent flowers throughout the blooming season to encourage a second round of blooms. Always use clean, sharp tools to prevent the spread of disease.

Is it Easy to Propagate Crape Myrtle ‘Natchez’? 

Is it Easy to Propagate Crape Myrtle ‘Natchez’? 

Crape myrtles, including ‘Natchez’, can be propagated through several methods, including softwood cuttings, hardwood cuttings, and layering. I’ve included some essential tips for each method:

Softwood Cuttings:

  • Take cuttings in the spring or early summer when new growth appears.
  • Choose a healthy stem that is about 6 inches long and has a few leaves.
  • Remove the lower leaves and dip the cut end into the rooting hormone.
  • Plant the cutting in a pot filled with moist, well-draining soil and cover it with a plastic bag or dome to create a humid environment.
  • Keep the cutting in bright, indirect light and maintain consistent moisture.
  • After about 6-8 weeks, the cutting should have developed roots and can be transplanted to a larger pot or outdoors.

Hardwood Cuttings:

  • Take cuttings in the late fall or winter when the plant is dormant.
  • Choose a healthy stem that is about 6-8 inches long and has no leaves.
  • Dip the cut end into the rooting hormone.
  • Plant the cutting in a pot filled with moist, well-draining soil and cover it with a plastic bag or dome.
  • Keep the cutting in a cool, bright location and maintain consistent moisture.
  • In the spring, the cutting should have developed roots and can be transplanted to a larger pot or outdoors.

Layering:

  • Choose a low-hanging stem that is still attached to the plant and bend it down to the ground.
  • Make a small cut on the underside of the stem and apply rooting hormone to the wound.
  • Bury the cut area in the soil, leaving the top of the stem exposed.
  • Keep the soil moist and wait for the stem to develop roots, which can take several months.
  • Once roots have formed, cut the stem from the parent plant and transplant the new plant to a larger pot or outdoors.

In my experience, propagation success can vary significantly, depending on the growing conditions. It’s also important to remember that newly propagated plants may take several years to reach maturity and produce flowers.

Common Crape Myrtle ‘Natchez’ Pests & Diseases

Common Crape Myrtle 'Natchez' Pests & Diseases

Crape myrtle ‘Natchez’ is resistant to powdery mildew, a fungal infection that targets crape myrtles. However, crape myrtle ‘Natchez’ is still susceptible to leaf spot. The best way to prevent diseases is to encourage good air circulation and maintain ideal growing conditions.

Crape myrtle ‘Natchez’ is still vulnerable to pests like aphids, Japanese beetles, or scale insects. Eliminate these pests using insecticidal soap or horticultural oils like neem oil.


Growing Crape Myrtle ‘Natchez’ FAQs

What Color is Crape Myrtle ‘Natchez’?

Crape myrtle ‘Natchez’ produces white flowers from mid to late summer. This cultivar has reddish-brown bark and dark green leaves that turn orange or red in the fall.

Is ‘Natchez’ Crape Myrtle Evergreen?

Crape myrtle ‘Natchez’ is a deciduous shrub or small tree. This means that it drops its leaves during the fall to conserve energy during winter dormancy.

Are ‘Natchez’ Crape Myrtles Messy?

Crape myrtle ‘Natchez’ can be messy when it drops its leaves in the fall. These shrubs also have peeling bark, which can cause an additional mess.

What does Crape Myrtle ‘Natchez’ smell like? 

Crape myrtle ‘Natchez’ is not typically known for having a strong fragrance. While some crape myrtle varieties may have a mild, sweet scent, the primary appeal of these plants is their beautiful, long-lasting flowers and attractive bark. However, individual perceptions of fragrance can vary, so some people may detect a subtle scent from ‘Natchez’ or other crape myrtles.


Wrapping Up

Crape myrtle ‘Natchez’ is a beautiful hybrid crape myrtle cultivar with dazzling white flowers. ‘Natchez’ flowers in mid to late summer and thrives in Zones 6 to 10. This cultivar grows up to 30 feet tall and approximately 25 feet wide, making it an excellent low-maintenance ornamental shrub.

For more, see our in-depth guides to crape myrtle deer resistance and whether crape myrtles are toxic to humans and animals.


Contributing Editor | Full Bio | + posts

Edd is a budding content writer and gardener living in the United Kingdom. He has a bachelor's degree in Creative and Professional Writing and has written for several gardening publications online. He is passionate about nature and sustainability with a focus on gardening and wildlife.

Author

Edd is a budding content writer and gardener living in the United Kingdom. He has a bachelor's degree in Creative and Professional Writing and has written for several gardening publications online. He is passionate about nature and sustainability with a focus on gardening and wildlife.

Comments are closed.

;