Am I wasting my time trying to grow a crepe myrtle here in south Florida? The thing is just sad two years in. Any tips?
Maybe things are different in 10, but around here, Crape Myrtles (I made the mistake of calling it a Crepe in the Trees forum and got raked over hot coals) do very, very well. 5 minutes from me is a Crape Myrtle that is 30-40 ft tall, I had to stop and do a double take, then get out and verify that it was indeed a Crape Myrtle as I had never seen one that big. The only things I 'know' are 1) They don't do much during the winter months as they are usually dormant and 2) They like sunlight, plenty of sunlight. A crape myrtle in full sun will perform much better than one planted in shade.
It took about a year for mine to stop looking like Charlie Brown's Christmas Tree. There seems to be a huge debate about whether to prune them when they are dormant, I have not done that for mine, but I notice the trees that are pruned look bushier. You are so,lucky you can plant so many beautiful trees in your zone, as I travel south I notice less Crape Myrtle and more Royal Poinciana, Crepe Myrtles are not really tropical, Zone 9 seems to be the southern most zone where they grow reliably. Also are prone to powdery mildew which damages buds and leaves.
There are tons of them around here in the Tampa/St. Pete area. We are now considered zone 10a. I think it matters what variety you grow. My Natchez grew amazingly quickly and looks like a healthy tree now. Some of the smaller ones, like my Dynamite, grow shorter and more slowly.
If you can't find any crape myrtles in your area, I'd say it's too warm for them because landscapers and developers love to plant them.
I'm in 10a in SW Florida (Golden Gate Estates outside Naples) and they work here. Ours took a good year to year and a half before it looked like it wasn't going to die. Bad case of whitefly in the beginning, but after its winter dormancy it perked up. It gets better each year now. Is it flowering in the summer?
"because landscapers and developers love to plant them."
That they do... I didn't even want to put one in my yard because they're EVERYWHERE around here. But my wife is a yankee girl and didn't grow up with these on every street corner, so we ended up getting one for her.
I'm in zone10 I have one in my front yard it is in a position that gets morning sun through overhead sun then all sun is blocked by a house. It's not ideal but my yard is small and I wanted it out front. It does well., it would have liked more sun I'm sure but it blooms each year. We see them all over but would never tire of them they are beautiful. It's one of the few trees that can tolerate such a wide range of zones.
My Crepe's are beautiful, just prunned them, to bushy, want them more like a tree. I live in PG FL. See photo from last year;