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Crape myrtle indoors?

Posted by ddet81 7 VA (My Page) on
Thu, Nov 11, 10 at 14:18

I've had a crape myrtle that I've had for a few years now and it survives the winters here in Arlington, VA. But last year the buds didn't pop until a month after the crape myrtles growing in the courtyard. I actually thought it was a goner and broke off some 'nice to have' twigs trying to see if it was still alive.

My question is, is there any change that this might prefer a winter by the window instead of cold induced dormancy? I know further south these are evergreens. Is deciduous optional?

I have ficus and a bay leaf tree that do just fine indoors although they are much happier outdoors once frost season is over.

Thanks,
David


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Crape myrtle indoors?

Just about nothing that grows in temperate areas and normally needs cold dormancy will do well, let alone better, indoors. Just because something lives in a place that gets hot during the day a lot of the year doesn't mean it will live indoors for any length of time because there's a lot more to it all than just the temperature. Also, next time you want to know if something's alive or not, make a firm little scratch halfway up the trunk and if it's green under the bark, it's alive... otherwise it isn't (though that's not always true for conifers). Ficus and bay are native to the tropics, so can be kept inside under appropriate conditions.


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RE: Crape myrtle indoors?

Larke is correct, if a tree is naturally meant to have a dormant period than it will need one to survive indefinitely. While it might survive a few years indoors it will eventually become sickly and die as it needs this dormant period to sleep and regather itself.

As far surviving the winter/dormant period better there are a few ways you can "winter care" them better if you own a species that naturally live in a fairer zone than that which you live in. One of the best ways is to find an unheated area such as a garage to store it in over winter after all the leaves have dropped and the first frost have come. More preferably would be a place like an unheated crawl space or basement where the temperature stays below fifty degrees. I live in zone 5 and I have a bonsai club member who owns a Crape myrtle and she keeps it in her unheated basement overwinter and has been doing so for years with no problems. I am also trying my luck with one this year so hears hoping.


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RE: Crape myrtle indoors?

Please advise! ;)

I too have started a Crape Myrtle bonsai this year - and live in a NY apartment. Can I store my bonsai on an outside window ledge throughout the winter season - for its cold weather dormancy period - or will the extreme cold days hurt/kill the plant due to its shallow potting? And how should it be watered during its domancy period?

If it will kill the tree to be outside during cold NY winters - I will have to take it to my friends unheated garage ... and just need to know what care should be implemented during dormancy.

Thank you in advance for helpful tips!!!

;)


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RE: Crape myrtle indoors?

Please advise! ;)

I too have started a Crape Myrtle bonsai this year - and live in a NY apartment. Can I store my bonsai on an outside window ledge throughout the winter season - for its cold weather dormancy period - or will the extreme cold days hurt/kill the plant due to its shallow potting? And how should it be watered during its domancy period?

If it will kill the tree to be outside during cold NY winters - I will have to take it to my friends unheated garage ... and just need to know what care should be implemented during dormancy.

Thank you in advance for helpful tips!!!

;)


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RE: Crape myrtle indoors?

Outside on a window ledge sounds dangerous for a couple of reasons, one it might blow off and hurt someone, and two off of the ground the temperatures tend to drop much lower with out the buffer of the ground's heat. Also, if it is real windy, that could have a decicating effect and cause dieback or worse.
That being said, you could probably work something out to keep it there safely, and there are heating mats with thermostats that could keep the temperature of the roots just above freezing, but you will likely have to watch the watering a bit closer. Since writing my original question a few years ago I have kept mine outside every winter and it is still doing fine. I did some research on the Crapes on wikipedia and there are different species that are from different regions (that have also been hybridized) that have differing tolerances for freezing, so it is really hard to know exactly what they can handle depending on how important (or expensive) your crape is you could always just see how it does as a learning experience.

Good Luck,
David


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RE: Crape myrtle indoors?

Thank you for the feedback!

It is secured when I put it on the wide ledge (which also has an iron balcony off of it) - so no worries for it falling and hurting someone. Thanks for the concern though! ;)

But your concerns of wind and below freezing temperatures were my concerns - with such a shallow root system. Without the insulation of the ground - I worry its roots staying below freezing for an extended period would be deadly.

So is it ideal to keep crapes in 30 to 50 degrees range - for their dormancy? And water it once a week or once every two weeks? When freezing temps. occur - will the wet dirt freezing hurt the root system - or is this part of what's needed during its dormancy. (as the ground freezing occurs when crapes are in nature).

I'm from the Carolinas - and our large outdoor crape myrtles are very old - and they overwinter in the insulating ground in 20 to 50 degree temperatures from December to mid April.

This is my only deciduous bonsai (and my first one) - and is primarily an indoor bonsai. I am bonsai-ing it from collected stock, so cost isn't much of a factor. It grew so beautifully this year and continued blooming into October - and is just beginning to loose its leaves. I just want to give it its best chance for continued survival.

I will look into identifying my variety of crape - to better determine its hardiness.

Again, any advice is greatly appreciated!!

Thank you!!


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RE: Crape myrtle indoors?

Thank you for the feedback!

It is secured when I put it on the wide ledge (which also has an iron balcony off of it) - so no worries for it falling and hurting someone. Thanks for the concern though! ;)

But your concerns of wind and below freezing temperatures were my concerns - with such a shallow root system. Without the insulation of the ground - I worry its roots staying below freezing for an extended period would be deadly.

So is it ideal to keep crapes in 30 to 50 degrees range - for their dormancy? And water it once a week or once every two weeks? When freezing temps. occur - will the wet dirt freezing hurt the root system - or is this part of what's needed during its dormancy. (as the ground freezing occurs when crapes are in nature).

I'm from the Carolinas - and our large outdoor crape myrtles are very old - and they overwinter in the insulating ground in 20 to 50 degree temperatures from December to mid April.

This is my only deciduous bonsai (and my first one) - and is primarily an indoor bonsai. I am bonsai-ing it from collected stock, so cost isn't much of a factor. It grew so beautifully this year and continued blooming into October - and is just beginning to loose its leaves. I just want to give it its best chance for continued survival.

I will look into identifying my variety of crape - to better determine its hardiness.

Again, any advice is greatly appreciated!!

Thank you!!


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