Crape or Crepe Myrtle in Zone 5 Indiana

cbergmanJune 29, 2010

I just came home to Indiana after a trip down to Little Rock AR. I fell in love with the what they called crape myrtle trees. The spelling seems to be different everywhere I look. While down there I checked and found them for sale at good prices but I didn't have the room to get one home.

I have found enough info to be confused about these wonderful trees. Can someone please give me the truth about them. Can they grow here in Indiana into a tree or am I limited to a shrub that will die back to the ground in the winter? The trunks were so smooth and wonderful and one many reasons for my interest.

I also have several big trees and I'm running low on "sunny areas" but I just got to have one of these, even if it means pulling something else out.

There seems to be many varieties and I loved the dark pink ones but I could go red also.. Which ones would be best for a tree not shrub at could take zone 5. Also I can't seem to find them here but I wanted to get a good established one. Where do I go for a good price and size online.

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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

link says zones 7 to 9 ....

but it would all depend on your little microclimate.. which might be able to surprise you .. if any ..

at the link.. one nursery also claims to offer CM's that might work in z5 versions...

it would be hard core zone pushing.. which some peeps like.. and others cant handle emotionally ...

good luck


Here is a link that might be useful: link

    Bookmark   June 29, 2010 at 1:35PM
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Crapemyrtle is what folks in the south grow because they can't grow lilacs.

Even in arkansas, where you saw them, I'd imagine there are issues with dieback in colder winters on many varieties.

For you it'll just be a high maintenance suckering shrub. Needs a hot humid climate to thrive.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2010 at 1:53PM
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toronado3800 Zone 6 StLouis(6)

I have a "Dynamite" in zone6 St. Louis.

My wife loved it, and the fella does look pretty good in late summer when it blooms.

Of course it dies back a few feet every winter then resprouts.

Any cold hardy Viburnums?

    Bookmark   June 29, 2010 at 2:35PM
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turbo_tpl(z7a Richland WA)

Let me play the devil's advocate. Crape myrtle is a horrendously overplanted, cliche landscaping plant. I used to love them, until I saw every single landscaping spot in the whole world filled with them. Yawn, boooorrring.

If you really want one, consider the native wax myrtle (a badly underused, beautiful, fragrant plant):

Other alternatives that are native, small, beautiful and quite unusual are White Fringetree, Sourwood, American Smoketree, and Carolina Silverbell.

Just my xenophobic, avante garde landscaping $0.02...

    Bookmark   July 7, 2010 at 11:09PM
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gardener365(5b Illinois USA)

The hardiest ones reportedly are the hybrids (indica x faurei) so start there. Don't waste your time with pure indicas.

They'll die-back to the ground each year but they bloom on current seasons growth. Clerodendron trichotomum I'm growing this way, right now.


    Bookmark   July 8, 2010 at 6:50AM
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Dan Staley

Can they grow here in Indiana into a tree or am I limited to a shrub that will die back to the ground in the winter?

Likely the latter without ideal microclimate.


    Bookmark   July 8, 2010 at 9:23AM
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and that microclimate would be one that's enclosed by glass and heated when the temps dip below 10 degrees.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2010 at 9:33AM
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dianasan(z5a Mtl)

I have a crape myrtle which is now blooming and I'm in US zone 4; however, mine is planted in a container which I overwinter in a cool, dark garage.

Crape myrtles may be overplanted and ubiquitous in southern landscapes, but not in our zone. Growing it in a container is more labor intensive than having it in the ground, but it's worth the trouble because it is a beautiful tree and the blossoms are so different than the other flowers in my garden.

Mine was a cutting someone brought back from a visit to Venezuela about 15 years ago, but if I had room in my garden, I would buy one of the hardier hybrids and plant it in a sheltered location.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2010 at 5:42PM
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I've had some in-ground C.M.'s for about 10 years. They always die back to the roots, and almost never bloom -- generally, they have buds late in the season that almost never open. This year is a first, they are actually blooming thanks to our record setting heat this spring and summer. I do enjoy the foliage, glossy and pretty.

I also have 5 of them potted. I overwinter these in the cool, dark unused family room. They are blooming beautifully and I think it's well worth the little bit of effort to tote them in and out and water them once in a while in the winter.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2010 at 6:52PM
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I can sympathize, I tried a zone 7+ tree Quercus virginiana in zone 6,lots of branch dieback, I just had to try it before I could except that it won't make it here.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2010 at 8:00PM
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go ahead and give it a shot if you like it that much. about 3 years ago, right around this time of the summer, i posted a very similar message on this forum as i too loved the appearance of crepe myrtles. but being that i live in northeast new jersey, i was apprehensive about its chance of survival. the majority of responders wrote similar responses to the ones on this thread. but no matter what people said, i still had to give it a try. i drove all the way down to delaware in late august, which is a great time because nurseries offer huge discounts this time of year. i didn't bother buying a 2-3' tree in a container. i went with 6-7' b&b. i think i paid $200, and it was buy 1, get the 2nd free. so i drove away with the white 'nachez' and the dark pink variety. 3 years later, not only are they alive and blooming, but they never died back to the ground like the majority of people said. of course, that's not a guarantee that it will do the same in your neck of the woods. but again, being that garden centers slash prices big time this time of year, i think it's worth the effort on your part - especially if you like the tree that much.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2010 at 8:42PM
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brandon7 TN_zone(7)


You spent $200 for a 6'-7' large-variety crape myrtle? That seems exorbitant.

You'd have probably been better off with the 2'-3' version. It would have experienced less transplant shock, developed a better root system, and would have probably caught up with or overtook the larger ones by now.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2010 at 10:43PM
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I think Natchez (white) survives zone 5.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2011 at 12:36AM
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brandon7 TN_zone(7)


Have you seen the National Arboretum's data sheet (linked below) on their introduction? What do you base your suggestion on?

Here is a link that might be useful: US Arboretum's Datasheet on 'Natchez'

    Bookmark   June 21, 2011 at 1:18AM
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ademink(z5a-5b Indianapolis)

I can speak from experience...right here in good ol' Indiana. It will act as a true die-back shrub...and die back forever.

You'll see it sold in the big box stores and touted as hardy (actually this is the first year I haven't seen it...they must've had too many complaints).

I purchased three when they were on clearance.....I'll give something a chance a few times if I'm interested. :)

Third time was the charm. Buh-bye CRAP myrtle. LOL

    Bookmark   June 21, 2011 at 8:37AM
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My sympathies. I am from Indiana and I also fell in love with Crape Myrtles when I moved to Atlanta, GA years ago. I have 4 different varieties in my yard. I don't know what I would do if I had to live somewhee where I couldn't have Myrtle trees.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2012 at 11:14AM
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I love crape myrtles but frankly, I think they will die back to the ground in Zone 5. They are hardy down to Zone 7/6b, and the hybrids which are hardier and no less colorfully probably will handle 6a as long as summers are HOT. I developed a minor addiction to collecting the various varieties. They are not as overplanted here as in the South but do seem to be getting more popular. The one in the picture below is Dynamite. Purchased last year at HD in a small container for all of $6.99 not including sales tax. What's not to love?! Why not grow in a container if not in he ground. Pot will have to be protected though from deep cold.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   August 7, 2012 at 2:31PM
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