How to Grow Crape Myrtles from Seed

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

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  • Rita Kerner Says:
    July 29th, 2018 at 8:43 am

    I purchased several crape myrtle plants about three years ago. The first year after I planted them they bloomed beautifully. The next year I discovered that I ended up with an entire bed of crape myrtle seedlings. Since then they have not bloomed very well. The seedlings are now in their second year and it seems that only a few are going to bloom. What do I need to do get them them to bloom. I’m in zone 5 and the crape myrtle die back each year and they only reach about 2-3 feet tall.

  • Carolyn Spivey Says:
    October 10th, 2017 at 2:52 pm

    Hey, glad I found you. I had been wondering why I had unopened blooms, or at least, that’s what I thought they were. I asked the question on google and your site came up. I know now as its not a fertilizing problem. Thanks Carolyn

  • Karen Stavert Says:
    August 25th, 2017 at 4:32 pm

    August 25, 2017 – I just received a small packet of
    crepe Myrtle seeds..
    Can I plant them now or should I wait until Spring?
    I’m in zone 7a
    Thank you so very much for all of your awesome info
    and help

  • bill moore 214reed parsons ks. Says:
    July 20th, 2017 at 10:10 am

    What is meant when they say propagate. I have tried to grow crape myrtle from seeds but cant

  • Priscilla Dunn Says:
    July 15th, 2017 at 4:31 pm

    What does a crepe myrtle seeding look like? Photo please

  • Barbara Nelson Says:
    September 25th, 2016 at 6:19 pm

    I have several tiny seedlings from my crape myrtle tree. I have them in a pot on the patio. I wondered how would I treat them during the cold weather? Should I bring them in during the winter and plant them in the ground in the spring? Thank you.

  • Ronald Kaylor Says:
    August 9th, 2016 at 8:06 am

    I have 2 red rocket and 3 dynamite crape myrtles in my landscape.I live in zone 6. The plants are 7 years old. I fertilize in the spring,mulch in the fall. They die back in winter,in 7 years they only reach a height between 4and 5 feet. WHAT is my problem. Thanks!

  • Eugenia Care Says:
    December 16th, 2015 at 10:02 am

    I had A lovely tall single trunk crêpe myrtle that bloomed with the white canopy for years and years. Unfortunately The severe winter two winters ago killed the tree out right I had it cut down to the ground and then it grew from the roots with beautiful white blossoms all summer long. There are five or six “volunteer” plants … all of them bloomed except for one. I don’t know why it’s in the same plane as the others …it just didn’t bloom. What can I do about that?

  • Cheryl Druktenis Says:
    September 12th, 2015 at 8:43 pm

    I have found crêpe myrtles to be one of the most valuable assets to my garden. They come in multiple colors and sizes they are drought tolerant and heat tolerant and if you try to kill one good luck. If you plant one you better want it because once they become established they are probably there forever. They bloom from July until frost. They give so much to the garden and I have never known them to have a bug problem. The only negative thing I can say is they make messy bouquets and they don’t last long once they are cut, otherwise they’re wonderful!

  • Meg nelson Says:
    August 19th, 2015 at 9:33 pm

    I have crepe mertle shrubs on the side of my house doing well, blooming. Last year I left most of the seeds when it went dormant for the winter. I live in zone 8, the high desert in apple valley. This year I have many babies that have seeded themselves and seem to be doing very well. The main plants are on a drip system. These babies are not. Do you think they should be transplanted? I’m not watering them either. Should i?

  • Ashley bing Says:
    August 4th, 2015 at 5:55 am

    Am a total beginner. I bought bonsai seeds on-line (crape myrtle,Japanese red maple,and a Japanese pine) for planting this seeds which soil is healthier. Am from India, and will it grow?

  • Leslie geerdes Says:
    January 17th, 2015 at 8:30 am

    I have 10 crepe myrtle seedlings in my house under a grow lite. They currently are about 4 inches tall. The stems are very thin and someone told me to prune off the bottom leaves. Is that what I should do to make the stems thicker? I have a fan on them which I was told helps make the stems stronger. Please I’m not wanting to kill them by cutting on them. What should I do?

  • Helen M Says:
    December 23rd, 2014 at 12:52 pm

    I have just read your article on Crepe myrtle tree’s and will be following your directions for gathering the seeds. I will get back to you on this sometime next year. Thank you for all the good information. Helen from Pennsylvania

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

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

  • 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?

  • 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

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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

  • 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!

  • 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?

  • 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?

  • 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.

  • 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

  • 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.

  • 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?

  • 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

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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

  • 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.

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How to Grow Crape Myrtles from Seed