Crape myrtle shrubs are highly prized for their fabulous fragrant flowers, lovely leaves, and beautiful bark. The easiest way to get more crape myrtles is to propagate them using semi-hardwood cuttings. In this article, we’ll explain how to grow crape myrtles from cuttings.
How Do You Propagate Crape Myrtles?
Crape myrtles (Lagerstroemia spp.) are versatile deciduous shrubs that can be propagated in several ways. The easiest way to propagate crape myrtles is through semi-hardwood cuttings. Crape myrtles can also be propagated using seeds or root cuttings. Crape myrtle seeds and root cuttings should be sown and planted during the spring.
When to Take Crape Myrtle Cuttings
Semi-hardwood crape myrtle cuttings should be taken during the summer. The best time is between June and August. Cuttings should be taken from new growth that has developed throughout spring and early summer.
Semi-hardwood cuttings are stems that aren’t yet fully mature. These stems are still transitioning from softwood to woody stems. Semi-hardwood cuttings feel quite firm but retain some flexibility. Semi-hardwood cuttings can snap easily when bent too far.
How Long Do Crape Myrtles Cuttings Take to Grow?
Once crape myrtle cuttings have been potted up, they take 3 to 4 weeks to develop roots. Some cuttings may take up to 6 weeks to root. Once the cutting has rooted, it can be planted outside or moved to a larger pot.
For more, see our in-depth guide to the crape myrtle root system.
How to Take Crape Myrtle Cuttings
Take crape myrtle cuttings from new growth during the summer. Always use sharp, sterile tools to harvest crape myrtle cuttings. This limits the spread of diseases that could infect the main plant or the cuttings. Here’s a quick guide detailing how to take and prepare crape myrtle cuttings:
- Examine your crape myrtle for healthy new growth.
- Select stems that have plenty of leaves and at least four leaf nodes. Don’t take cuttings that have flower buds or opened flowers.
- Cut the selected stem at the point where it joins another branch. Aim for cuttings that are approximately 6 to 8 inches long.
- Remove the lower leaves but retain two or three leaves near the top of the cutting.
- Dip the end of the cutting in some rooting hormone. This step isn’t strictly necessary, but it can speed up the rooting process.
- Place each cutting into a 6-inch pot filled with a well-draining mix of compost and perlite. Alternatively, place several cuttings in a large pot, leaving about 6 inches of space between cuttings. Always water the growing medium before adding the cuttings.
How to Grow Crape Myrtle from Cuttings
Once you’ve harvested your crape myrtle cuttings, it’s time to nurture them until they root. Position your crape myrtle cuttings somewhere that provides bright, indirect light. A windowsill is ideal.
Make sure that the soil stays moist at all times through misting or bottom-watering. Water whenever the top inch of the growing medium feels dry. Increase humidity by placing a clear plastic bag over the pot.
After three to four weeks, remove the plastic bag to test whether the cutting has rooted. Gently pinch the stem and pull it slightly. If you feel resistance, then the cutting has rooted. You can now move the cutting to a larger pot to grow on. Alternatively, maintain the cutting for two more weeks before planting it outside.
Plant crape myrtle cuttings outside in the fall. Choose a site that receives full sun during the morning and provides well-draining soil. Water the cutting once a week for the first couple of years to help it establish a strong root system. Once established, it’s also worth fertilizing crape myrtles in spring and occasionally throughout the season.
Growing Crape Myrtle from Cuttings FAQs
Can You Start a Crape Myrtle from a Cutting?
Crape myrtles can be started easily from semi-hardwood cuttings. Take these cuttings during the summer from new growth that doesn’t have any flowers.
Can You Root a Crape Myrtle Cutting in Water?
Crape myrtle cuttings need to be placed in soil, not water. Water won’t provide enough nutrients for the cutting to develop roots.
How Long Does it Take for Crape Myrtles to Grow from Cuttings?
Crape myrtle cuttings take between 3 and 6 weeks to develop roots. The cuttings can then be potted on or planted outside.
It’s easy to propagate crape myrtles using semi-hardwood cuttings. Take cuttings in the summer from new growth. Choose cuttings that are approximately 6 to 8 inches long. The cuttings should develop roots within 3 to 6 weeks. You can then move your crape myrtle cuttings to a bigger pot or plant them directly outside.