Home Improvement Expert Danny Lipford

How to Grow Crape Myrtles from Seed

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Crape myrtle seeds in container

Crape myrtle seeds are about 1/4-inch long

After crape myrtles bloom in the summer, they form lovely seed heads that last through the fall. The pods can be left for overwintering birds, or you can collect the seeds to use for growing in the spring.

As with many other landscape plants, crape myrtles are often hybrids, which means that the seeds might not produce a plant exactly like its parent. If you want the new plant to be exactly like the parent, you should propagate by cuttings rather than seeds.

But if you have a non-hybrid variety, or if you don’t have a specific variety in mind, it’s easy to propagate crape myrtles from seed. Here’s what you need to know to get started.

Seed head ripening on crape myrtle

Seed head ripening on crape myrtle

How to Collect Crape Myrtle Seeds

When the blossoms fade, crape myrtles form seed heads, clusters of pods that start out as greenish berries, then darken and dry out as the weather cools. Eventually, they pop open and the seeds fall to the ground, where sometimes they sprout on their own.

If the seed heads are opening, you can collect the seeds straight from the tree. Gently shake the pods over your hand or into a paper bag, and the seeds will fall right out. If the seed pods haven’t opened yet, you can cut the entire cluster, take it home and put it in a vase of water. It will open and drop the seeds within a few days, so you may want to sit the vase on a tray to catch them.

Gather the seeds and keep them dry and cool until you’re ready to plant. The seed coating is very papery, so be careful with them. Broken seeds might sprout, but intact ones will do better.

Crape myrtle seed pods

Crape myrtle seed pods opening in a vase in my kitchen

How to Plant the Seeds

Crape myrtle seeds will germinate most any time, but they will do best in early spring when the days are lengthening. Gently press them into the surface of a light, moist potting medium. Cover with a layer of milled sphagnum moss, and mist until damp. Cover the pot with plastic, and put in a warm, bright place (75° to 85° F).

The seeds should sprout in a few weeks. Once they sprout, you can remove the plastic and keep the seedlings moist and in bright light as they grow. Wait until they have two sets of true leaves before transplanting to individual pots. Keep the pots indoors until late spring, then move them to a shady spot outdoors for a couple of weeks to acclimate before planting. Bring them indoors if nighttime temperatures drop below 50° F.

Once the plants are acclimated, and warm weather is here to stay, you can plant them in their permanent homes. The seedlings will grow rapidly during the summer. Keep them well watered, and feed every few weeks with a balanced organic fertilizer.

Further Information



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18 Comments on “How to Grow Crape Myrtles from Seed”

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  1. Mary Hansen Says:
    January 17th, 2011 at 5:56 am

    I have a crepe myrtle not pruned, and am keen to get another tree established in my yard for shade, I have some young seedlings sprouting up underneath the tree after so much rain in SA Riverland this summer it has really boosted them on. I have dug up the seedlings before and thought that maybe they were growing from the roots, but after reading your article obviously they have been growing from seeds,but I want to transplant them from the base of the tree to a pot or another location. What would the success rate be. One is quite well established at least 25cm high.This is the one I want to use. I have dug up a smaller one, found no root system at all which made me think that they were growing from the roots, not from seed. I have dug up 2 and put them in very wet soil, but the bigger one is wilting, and the smaller one seems in better condition. Should the more established one survive if I dug it up, and when should I transplant it. Look forward to hearing from you and reading your coments.

  2. Mark Gawron Says:
    August 11th, 2011 at 8:27 am

    I have found that when starting a lot of crape myrtle from seed many do not germinate and I end up with a bunch of empty pots. To get around this I place the seeds in damp paper towels then a zip lock bag. In 10 to 14 days the seeds will start to sprout and can be carefully moved to pots. Check the seeds in the zip lock every couple of days after they sprout for new plants

  3. JOYCE Says:
    June 22nd, 2012 at 1:24 pm

    Can I grow a crepe myrtle from a root that got on our side of the fence? I wanted to see if it will work. Thank you.

  4. Eric Says:
    July 7th, 2012 at 10:37 pm

    I have many crepe myrtle seed pods all rolling around the property from my prized 10 yr old lavendar/pink towards the top of the driveway. My driveway is lined with those pavestone (8 in. x 12 in.) Concrete Garden Wall Blocks. They are flush against the driveway and buried with only the top showing. Since these pavestones are not square but tapered in the front and towards the back end the loose seeds fall into the cracks in between the pavestones and driveway and grow. This must be the secret as the trapped moisture/dirt/shade between the buried pavestones create a pleasureable experience for the seeds to start growing in about a years time. I have will have about 10+ desendents from my parent lavendar/pink crepe myrtle soon, and they grow very fast and are very hearty. I just wish I knew what type of lavedar/pink crepe myrtle I have. During the winter I transplant the youngsters once they are large enough. Much cheaper than buying crepe myrtles thats for sure.

  5. Raine Coats Says:
    September 17th, 2012 at 8:15 pm

    How many seeds are needed in a pot for one crepe myrtle tree? I heard somewhere five but really have no idea. I have 35 seeds to start…please help! Thanks

  6. Frank Lago Says:
    July 16th, 2013 at 12:47 pm

    I have plenty of Crape Myrtle plants aroung my property. My question is,can I grow Crape Myrtle from a branch using Rooton Powder or similar powder?

  7. Midge Says:
    August 2nd, 2013 at 12:06 pm

    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, but they are green! Is there a way I can still use them to start seedlings? Can I put them in the fridge 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.

  8. Pat Donoghue Says:
    March 26th, 2014 at 10:49 pm

    Hey i took 4 different color crape myrtle that had many trunks per plant slit them apart tied them together and they are growing together just fine a red pink white purple thuogh it would be cool and it is try it i have it next to my pool this will be the sceond year it is about 2ft. tall but it is spring here in texas so i hope it gets bigger thanks for reading

  9. Tracy Says:
    June 9th, 2014 at 8:44 am

    I had a landscaper plant a beautiful crape myrtle May 2013. It was gorgeous. I live in Chester County PA. I see no new growth at all yet on my tree, no leaves or buds or anything. After our harsh winter….will my crape bloom? Or did I loose it? None of my butterfly bushes have any life on them either. Thank you in advance for your recommendations.

  10. Ginny says Says:
    June 30th, 2014 at 6:41 pm

    I have 3 red crepe myrtles that bloomed the first year they were set out. They have grown beautifully but no sign of bloom since the first year they were set out. I have never fed them nor have they been trimmed. What could be wrong?

  11. shirley Rider Says:
    August 18th, 2014 at 10:02 am

    My Crape Myrtle’s bark is peeling off. It bloomed beautifully this year. Noticed in the spring bark was peeling off. It is only 3 years old. Someone told me it is dying. What can I do to fix this problem?

  12. Midge Burton Says:
    August 18th, 2014 at 3:21 pm

    Crepemyrtles usually do this when they reach maturity. It is a totally normal process! Some people actually love the look of the wood that is underneath the bark, which can be beautiful! It is fine…don’t fret, it’s NOT dying!

  13. rita Says:
    August 27th, 2014 at 11:55 am

    I have a crepe myrtle that is growing in my flower bed from seed because I did not plant it. my Q is should I put it in a pot now or leave it until next spring? it can not stay where it is.
    Thank you

  14. Travis Says:
    September 15th, 2014 at 1:31 am

    We have the muskogee purple crepe myrtle tree & my mom wanted it cut back so I did & it grew 20 foot branches in less than a year. I have been air layering the heck out of that tree making one new tree after another I have one 13 inches around & another 11 inches around I do the huge ones in open pot type of air layer & water everyday & OMG I have been getting huge cuttings off that tree as well thick & a few are 16 inches tall. I only wish I had more big crepe myrtles of another color to graft onto these new monster trees. We have red but they are small I did thread grafts of red onto purple to get more roots on one just to see if I could but not new growth yet although a thread graft on my tangerine tree is working great. I just collected white crepe myrtle tree seeds & hope they grow! I had a pot of purple sprouting last month unless that was weeds haha but it’s 100F everyday so they didn’t make it.

  15. claffertene Says:
    September 26th, 2014 at 12:49 pm

    It would be helpful if at least the state or zone was published with the name so that someone reading the post will know if the info given relates to their environment.

  16. Fred L Jack Says:
    October 4th, 2014 at 3:20 pm

    How many seeds are needed in a pot for one crepe myrtle tree? I heard somewhere five but really have no idea. I have 35 seeds to start…please help! Thanks

  17. Fred L Jack Says:
    October 4th, 2014 at 3:22 pm

    I have 3 red crepe myrtles that bloomed the first year they were set out. They have grown beautifully but no sign of bloom since the first year they were set out. I have never fed them nor have they been trimmed. What could be wrong?

  18. Fred L Jack Says:
    October 4th, 2014 at 3:23 pm

    Should I presoak Crape Myrtle seeds before pot planting? Thank you

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