Crepe Myrtles in/near St. Louis

daisy_me(Z6b IL)July 18, 2005

Is anyone successfully overwintering Crepe Myrtles in the St. Louis area? Are they dying back to the ground or keeping their above-ground branches throughout winter?

I'm looking for a small multi-trunked tree/shrub to line each side of my backyard and am hoping this is my solution.... :-)

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dvorovoi(z6a MO)


Newer varieties do seem to do better than the older ones around here (I'm in StL). If you're looking for a pretty good one, try the dwarf 'Victor' variety--maxes out at 3-5' with red inflorescences.

'course, there are other good options that might be better depending on the conditions in your yard.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2005 at 11:09PM
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daisy_me(Z6b IL)

Well, let's see if anyone has any suggestions.... :-)

Lining a chain link fence, south side will be full sun, north side will be part shade. Wanting something in the 15-20' range, not necessarily evergreen, no fruit, no abundant seeds, doesn't have to flower. Plan is to eventually layer bushes in front of the trees/larger shrubs.

The Crepe Myrtle I was considering is 'Tuscarora'.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2005 at 10:32AM
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rootman(zone 5/6 W.PA)

Came across your question while looking for fellow Crepe Myrtle lovers who garden far north of their normal growing range.

Here in W. PA I garden in zone 5, -20 degrees average winter lower extreme. The three Crepe Myrtles that have proven not just root hardy, but also bud hardy are: Hopi, pink (4'X 4'), Sioux, pink (8'X 5'), and Natchez, white (6' X 5').

Hopi, by far is the hardiest of the lot. All experience some bud die back but usually only the top foot or two of the bush is hit. There are plenty of remaining good buds to make a spectacular flowering show.

Hopi is in full bloom right now. Natchez is not quite in full bloom " ". and Sioux is just starting blooming.

Other Crepe Myrtles being tested are: Acoma, Biloxi, Miami, Potomac, Tonto, Victor Red, and Zuni. Zuni does not show much vigor and really blooms in the fall here, a little too late. All the others are too new upon whom to pass final judgement, but all have shown bud hardiness to some degree or other.

Those Crepe Myrtles (I have a few un-named ones), that are only root hardy here are treated as herbaceous perennials. Since Crepe Myrtle blooms on new wood, these less hardy ones send up growth from soil level in the spring and bloom on single shoots at about 3' height. They are 'look alikes' for Phlox Paniculata, especially the larger, vigorous Phlox, and can be mistaken for Phlox from a distance when in bloom.

I have found that it does not hurt to try a variety of Crepe Myrtle, say just one plant of the varety, to see if it is going to be winter hardy and bloom satisfactorilly.

My main problem has been finding nurseries that ship small enough plants at reasonable prices (locally available crepe myrtle are very scarce). Small plants adjust best and they grow so quickly. It is hard to justify buying a gallon or + size plant for about $30.00 (see Carroll Gardens, Westminster, MD, on the Web), and pay an additonal $15.00 for shipping, at a total of about $50.00 for the plant only prove to be root hardy, and behave like a herbaceous perennial, say Phlox 'David', I can pick up at Lowe's for $4.00 with change. Both will essentially look alike when in bloom in the garden.

Hope my experience has helped you.


    Bookmark   July 22, 2005 at 12:36AM
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daisy_me(Z6b IL)

Thanks for all the info. Rootman. I've decided that the stem/bud hardiness in this area is too iffy for me (I want year-round privacy) so I'm now looking at Arborvitae and upright Junipers. I am however going to buy a crepe myrtle anyway, just not use it for my privacy hedge.

Anyone have any comments on those, feel free to post. :-)

    Bookmark   July 26, 2005 at 10:40AM
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Millie_36(Z6b MO)

I am sure you can find Crepes that will do it for you. I have some of the little Myrtlettes from Parks that I grew from seed sitting in a large pot on the patio...they have been surviving winters for 4 or 5 years out there with no winter protection. They froze back the first two years and then toughened up. I had the same experience with one I planted out in the takes a while for them to get tough...I wonder if it has to do with the bark thickness... each year they get a bit bigger and loose less of their tops until they just don't die back. Don't give up on crepes. Do a search and then email and ask for the most cold hardy you can find. Crepes are dead easy to start from cuttings, also. Maybe you could get one and then trade cuttings with someone else on the forum to increase your stock.

I have one that will be large, but it's still a cutting so I don't know how hardy it will prove to be. Don't even know it's name, but it's the darkest red I had ever seen and the mother plants were headed for the sky, so it's not a dwarf.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2005 at 4:38PM
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chris32599(9b-10a AZ usa)

Check out Arbor Village in Holt, Missouri they list 3 crapemyrtle Biloxi, Hopi, and one called Velma's Royal Delight which is a selection out of Wichita, Kansas and has purple flowers...

Arbor Village address is P.O. Box 227, Holt, Missouri 64048... its on 15806 County Rd "CC" phone # 816-264-3911

Good luck......

    Bookmark   September 17, 2005 at 4:51AM
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I am in Decatur IL. About 100 miles north of St. Louis. Am putting in about 20 Crape Myrtles around my new home. Plan to mulch, and hope for the best. Will follow suggestions. I figure at worst, some will survive, and I will only have small bushes. Will let you know.

    Bookmark   August 31, 2007 at 9:54AM
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I am so sad; my four-year-old beautiful red crepe myrtle tree did not survive the winter of 2013-14. I guess it was just too arctic here this year. It's now toward the end of May and I've cut it back to the green/sign of life. I live in St. Louis County.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2014 at 9:01PM
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