Styles / Pruning / Training: Crape Myrtle trees are suitable to a number of styles. The dwarf varieties make excellent shohin bonsai. The Crape Myrtle takes severe pruning in early spring or in late autumn after flowering. Late pruning will stimulate buds for the next spring. When doing severe pruning, prune the top first then allow time for the new buds to appear, once the new leaves are out, the roots may be heavily pruned. Do not prune from early summer on if you want the blooms. Wiring may be used but be careful of the delicate wood or new growth. The Crape Myrtle is a fast grower and must be pruned continuously throughout the spring & summer. Pinch and grow is the best method . The flowers form at the end of the shoots, it is recommended that when styling, you aim for branch ramification first off. Pruning Crape Myrtles can be a constant task in summer if you want to keep them tight.
Light / Water requirements: The Crape Myrtle prefers full, direct sunlight which helps to keep it relatively pest and fungus free and promotes flowering. This tree likes a lot of water but only with well draining soil. To promote flowering, allow the soil to dry slightly (similar to bougainvillea). During the dormant season (after defoliation) water only when necessary.
Propagation: Crape Myrtle trees can be grown from cuttings or seeds.
Repotting Special Instructions: Repot only when the night temperatures are in the upper 50's F. The Crape Myrtle is a fast grower and does not like to be root bound.
Insects and Diseases: Powdery mildew could be a problem if kept in a high humidity, low light area or is top watered frequently, however most varieties are considered resistant. Spray gently but briskly with water to remove aphids on new foliage tips if necessary.
Temperature Requirements: Protect below 40 degrees F. although even in Florida the winter temps can drop into the low 30's and most landscape Crape Myrtles pull through with little or no ill effects if the cold does not last long or is not repeated.
A humidity tray is recommended for indoor bonsai.
See Indoor Bonsai Care for more info on keeping them inside.
Crape Myrtle Care is not difficult and they make great bonsai trees indoors or out!
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