Watering Crape Myrtles: Essential Techniques for Thriving Trees

Many people love crape myrtles due to their colorful flowers and gorgeous peeling bark. If you want to grow one of these plants at home, you should know how and when to water them. In this guide, I will cover all you need to know about watering crape myrtle plants.

Ultimate Guide to Watering Crape Myrtle: Best Practices for Optimal Growth and Health

How Often to Water Crape Myrtle

Crape Myrtle in bloom growing in an ornamental garden

In general, you should water your crape myrtle plant about one to two times a week. However, numerous factors impact precisely how often you should water your plant.

Consider the following factors when you’re considering how often to water crape myrtle.

Age of the Plant

Newly planted crape myrtles require more water than established plants. That’s because younger plants have a smaller root system that cannot reach water deep in the ground.

Aim to keep the soil moist during the first six months of your plant’s life. This will help keep the plant healthy as it develops a more robust root system.

Once the plant reaches its second year in the ground, you won’t have to water it as often. You should still aim to avoid letting the soil dry out entirely, but you don’t have to worry about keeping the soil completely moist.

Time of Year

During warmer months, water will evaporate from the soil more quickly. Additionally, crape myrtles will use and lose more water via transpiration—the process they use to cool themselves.

That means that crape myrtles require more water in the summer than they will in the spring, fall, and water. While you may need to only water your plant once a month in the fall, you may need to water it twice a week during the summer.

Soil Type

The soil type can also influence how often you should water a crape myrtle.

Water moves through sandy soils more rapidly than it does through clay-rich soils. That means you will need to water plants growing in sandy soil more often than plants growing in clay soil.


While it may sound obvious, more rain means that you will need to water your crape myrtles less often. If the soil remains moist from rainfall, you can hold off on watering.

On the other hand, periods of drought require that you water your crape myrtle more frequently.

How to Water a Crape Myrtle

A Crape Myrtle branch showcasing pink tiny flowers

When it comes time to water your crape myrtle, your goal should be to water the plant thoroughly and deeply. These plants benefit from less frequent, deep watering more than regular, shallow watering.

You should also aim to avoid splashing water and soil on the plant’s leaves. This will help limit the development and spread of disease.

You can use a simple hose or watering can to apply water around the base of your plant. Slowly add water, so it has a chance to percolate through the soil.

If you have multiple plants or want to make things easier on yourself, you can use a soaker hose to drip water slowly into the ground. Leave the hose on for about 20 minutes at a time.

When to Water a Crape Myrtle

A flowering Crape Myrtle tree in bloom with purple flowers

Generally, it’s best to water in the morning or evening. The low light and cool temperatures during these periods will prevent the water from evaporating immediately.

However, watering your crape myrtle during the day is also fine.

As far as the time of year, you will need to water crape myrtle plants more often in the summer. Unless the soil is very dry, you may not need to water at all during the winter.

Watering Crape Myrtles FAQs: 

How Often Should I Water a Crape Myrtle?

The size of the plant, time of year, and soil type will all impact how often you should water a crape myrtle. Most plants require water one to three times a week during the summer, and monthly during the winter.

Can I Overwater a Crape Myrtle?

Yes, it is possible to overwater your crape myrtle. If these plants sit in wet soil, they may develop root rot and yellow leaves.

How Much Water Do Crape Myrtles Need?

Crape myrtles require at least one inch of water per week. However, younger plants and those growing in hot environments may need up to three inches of water per week.

Should I water my Crape Myrtle tree in the morning or evening?

It’s best to water your Crape Myrtle tree in the morning so the leaves have time to dry out before the sun goes down. This can help prevent fungal diseases.

Can I water my Crape Myrtle tree with a sprinkler?

Yes, you can water your Crape Myrtle tree with a sprinkler. However, it’s best to use a soaker hose or drip irrigation system, as they deliver water directly to the roots and reduce water loss through evaporation.

How can I tell if my Crape Myrtle tree needs water?

One way to tell if your Crape Myrtle tree needs water is to check the soil moisture level. Stick your finger into the soil up to the second knuckle. If the soil feels dry, it’s time to water. Another sign of water stress is wilting or drooping leaves. Moisture meters can also be beneficial for accurate soil moisture readings.

Wrapping Up

To keep your crape myrtle happy, aim to keep the soil moist. Depending on the environment, time of year, and plant size, you should water your crape myrtle anywhere from a few times per month to a few times per week.

For more, see our in-depth guide on growing and caring for crape myrtle in your garden and everything you need to know about pruning and trimming crape myrtle.

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