How to Plant and Care for Crape Myrtles


While native to eco-regions in East Asia, Crape Myrtles arrived in the United States in the 19th Century from Europe.

Sometimes called the “lilac of the South” because they thrive in our Southern states, Crape Myrtles are beloved for gorgeous colorful blooms and for retaining leaves through the winter months.

This time of year is perfect for planting a Crape Myrtle tree, so we wanted to offer you some helpful advice on how to do just that! 


Planting your Crape Myrtle in the proper site will promote flowering, control mildew, and avoid winter damage.  A slightly elevated planting position will ensure good air movement, which will alleviate any serious mildew problems. 
Make sure to provide: 

  • Well drained soil
  • Slightly elevated planting
  • Sunny exposure (6 hours)


  • Crape Myrtles grow best in reasonably good soil comprised of heavy loam to clay.
  • Nutrient requirements are minimal but a light application of 5-10-5 fertilizer in early spring is beneficial.
  • Using mulch made with manure or organic material in the fall will help to retain moisture and provide protection against root freezing.


This shrub thrives in sun and heat, if adequate moisture is available. Crape Myrtles are very drought tolerant once established.

  • It is particularly important to thoroughly soak recently planted trees.
  • Maintain the moisture content of the soil throughout the first two growing seasons.
  • Periodic deep watering with a hose is necessary during periods of growth, flowering, and late summer heat.
  • Do not use sprinklers; you want to water the soil, not the leaves. Foliage should be kept dry.
  • We don’t recommend excessive watering in the fall; too much water will encourage fall growth rather than allowing the plant to begin to harden off and get ready for winter.


  • It’s best to prune Crape Myrtles in Spring, just as they leaf out. Flowers form on the current season’s growth.
  • Do not prune in autumn or late winter. 
  • All crapemyrtles will produce recurrent blooms if the plants are not permitted to develop seed. This means that if you want more blooms for a longer period of time, you should remove spent blooms.
  • On large trees, removal of very some clusters may be difficult; thus, pruning is restricted to thinning lower trunks and some pruning each year to promote new wood and flowers.


  • Crape Myrtles enhance the landscape throughout many seasons
  • This tree is characterized by spectacular long-lasting summer blooms
  • Besides gorges blooms, the plant offers striking fall leaf color
  • Crape Myrtles’ unique bark texture and color will add grace to your winter landscape