Crape Myrtle from Seed?

summerstar(Z7VA)August 19, 2012

I have a friend who has a gorgeous deep purple crape myrtle in her garden. I haven't been able to find this color for sale anywhere here or on the internet though I've seen older deep purple crapes growing in our area. She wanted to be helpful and gave me some seeds from it, suggesting I wait till they dry and then plant them in a container. I don't think planting the seeds will necessarily give me a clone of her bush. I had some Rudbeckia that reseeded and they had no petals! It's my understanding that hybridized plants don't grow true from seeds. Should I bother to plant them?

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brandon7 TN_zone(7)

Why not ask her if she would consider giving you a few cuttings to propagate. That way you'd have what she has! Crapes are pretty easy to grow from cuttings.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2012 at 7:37PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Seeds need to mature ON the plant in order for them to be viable. The pods have to be brown and beginning to crack open. Seed pods have barely begun to form, let alone ripen on the trees, turn brown and begin to split open to reveal the many little seeds inside the capsule. This typically happens in the fall.

But, regardless of that, you are correct....the progeny from those many seeds are likely to be quite variable.

Here is a link that might be useful: Crapemyrtle capsules

    Bookmark   August 19, 2012 at 10:30PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

to figure out if it will come true form seed.. you would need a FULL ID ...

obviously .. if it is a species.. then.. by definition. it would come true from seed ..

but i agree with the others.. google 'propagation of CM' .. and get some stem cuttings.. in the appropriate season.. and root them ...

ken

    Bookmark   August 20, 2012 at 11:26AM
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hortster(6a, southcentral KS)

After relocating a crapemyrtle one spring I noticed the same plant arising in the original spot from roots left in the ground, which would say to me that spring root cuttings might also work to get a true plant.
hortster

    Bookmark   August 20, 2012 at 11:45AM
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summerstar(Z7VA)

I'll run a search on propagating crape myrtles. It's probably correct that any seeds from the original plant are not likely to run true. I'll check the internet. I bet a cutting will be better choice for cloning.

Regarding root cuttings. I can check with my purple crape friend and see if she has any coming up that I can take in the spring. Crapes grow fast and it will probably grow into a large plant in no time at all. Thanks for your input.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2012 at 3:08PM
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brandon7 TN_zone(7)

Most crape myrtles grown in landscapes are vegetatively-produced cultivars. Crape cultivars do not come true from seed. You may get a similar plant, but, as was stated above, seedlings will likely be variable. Even if the color of some of the seedlings is similar, it will have other characteristics (disease resistance, for instance) that differ. It is possible that you could even improve on the original plant, but the odds (assuming you don't grow many and select a superior specimen) are against it.

And, BTW, Hortster is totally correct in assuming that root cuttings can work well. Of course the owner of the original plant may not want roots excavated from his/her landscape. If you do take root cuttings, the cut roots of the original plant are also likely to sprout up where you make the cut.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2012 at 10:18PM
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eahamel(9a)

I grew one from seed once. It was a volunteer in a hanging basket that I bought, so I don't know what the parent plant looked like. It grew to a good size but only bloomed for about 2 weeks, and that was it. I let it grow several years but it bloomed sparsely for about 2 weeks each year. I cut it down and put another one in its place that I bought and am very happy with it.

BTW, a friend of mine has seen a deep purple one and really likes it. I've never seen one, and can't find one on any lists. I suggest you do what others have suggested, and grow from a cutting or from a root cutting. I've read that they're easy to grow that way, and you'd be sure to get the same thing.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2012 at 12:55PM
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mzdee(6b)

Summerstar, you made me laugh about the Rudbekia. I was thinking I would dare mother nature and plant seeds from Tiger Eye. Well, the thought of flowers would no petals would serve me right. After all, "Don't mess with Mother Nature" :)

    Bookmark   August 21, 2012 at 5:10PM
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summerstar(Z7VA)

Well I'm very happy that you got a laugh out of my cone flowers with no petals mzdee! They reseeded from a shorter version of red cone flowers called Kim's Knees or Kim's Knee High; something like that. The plants are really sturdy and healthy looking, but not a pink petal to be seen anywhere, only lots of big green spikey heads. They're short too . . . probably 18 inches high. One friend said she kind of liked them. Not me or the bees. They're gonna hit the compost heap soon.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2012 at 9:59PM
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dena_eft(7)

summerstar, this is a good place to put my post about my RED crepe myrtle. A girl down the street gave me a little cutting with roots off of hers. I babied it till it got to be about four feet tall, really healthy. My husband said it was too close to the flowering cherry tree, so I moved it,----and killed it.!!! So we went to PA. for a day, and I found one which said,"siren red". I bought it, planted it, waited patiently for blooms, and it bloomed profuselly,------Pink!!! Well guess what? A lot of little red ones came up where the red one was planted origionally. What to do with this PINK crepe myrtle, with almost a postage stamp yard? Maybe you should try root cuttings. :) Arum

    Bookmark   August 24, 2012 at 2:59PM
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eahamel(9a)

Dena, if you want a really good red, look for Dynamite Red. I planted two in my front yard this spring, and they get a lot of comments. But it sounds like you're getting red ones from the roots of your Siren that died. They are persistent. I killed one in my front yard that volunteered from seed. It didn't bloom very well - sparsely for about 2 weeks, no rebloom. That was several years ago. New ones are still coming up from the roots.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2012 at 10:14PM
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dena_eft(7)

eahamel, the siren red was the one that turned out to be pink. Thank you for your comment. I hope eventually I will get a good red one from these babies. It's going to take a while though, beings their only about 3 inches tall. :)

    Bookmark   August 25, 2012 at 6:16AM
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eahamel(9a)

I hope you get a good one from the seedlings! My siren red is really red.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2012 at 8:58PM
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lonewolf1038(8b)

I had a friend give me a ziploc bag full of green seed pods from her red crepe myrtle. I appreciate it that she thought about me and was trying to be helpful, but they are green! Is there a way I can still use them to start seedlings? Can I put them in the fridge, in a paper bag in the dark, or something to dry them out and make them turn brown so I can possibly use them? I really hate to see all these pods go to waste if I can possibly save them and use them. Thanks in advance for your help.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2013 at 1:25PM
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brandon7 TN_zone(7)

Lonewolf, if your crApe myrtle seeds are immature, drying them out sure won't help their viability.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2013 at 11:04PM
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lonewolf1038(8b)

Thanks, Brandon for the response. I was afraid you'd say that. It's what I was thinking too, but it was worth asking. Dang it! LOL

    Bookmark   August 3, 2013 at 6:42AM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

dry them and plant them..

expect nothing..

but there is always the chance that you will be surprised...

what do you have to lose.. a pot and some media and a little effort ...

ken

    Bookmark   August 3, 2013 at 11:13AM
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redribbons

I had a large red flowering crape myrtle. He would drop seeds, and new plants were constantly coming up from the dropped seeds. I left several of the seedlings in the ground. One of them, after about four years, is huge. The flowers look exactly like the flowers from the parent.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2014 at 5:54PM
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