Crepe myrtles are known for their vibrant spring colors and attractive bark. These beautiful trees are fast-growing and mildew resistant, but how much sunlight do they need? We have researched crepe myrtle trees, and in this post, we will answer this question.
Most crepe myrtle berries require full sunlight, which is anywhere from six to eight hours or more per day. The more sunlight, the more the tree will be able to bloom and grow. Less available sunlight will cause the tree to have diminished balloons and wilted leaves.
Planting your crepe myrtle tree in a location where it receives ample sunlight is of the utmost importance. It's best to consider where you'll plant the tree before purchasing a new one. Continue reading to learn more about the best conditions for crepe myrtle trees.
Crepe Myrtles and Sunlight
Ideally, it's best to find a place around your home where the tree can receive full sun throughout the day. These trees are hardy to grow zone 7 through 10 and are known for their ability to withstand cold temperatures. However, they may fail to grow as tall and vibrant as they usually would without adequate sunlight.
However, remember that some myrtle varieties and specific trees will bloom much better than others. However, if you have a tree that's lacking, consider how much direct sunlight it's receiving and its location. This may be the main cause of its growth issues.
Can crepe myrtles grow in the shade?
Most crepe myrtles will require significant sunlight throughout the day to grow. However, some varieties can grow in partial shade, though they won't grow as well as they would in the sun. When grown in the shade, these trees usually appear to be leggier, and their blooms are generally fewer and smaller compared to those grown in full sun.
Also, when growing in the shade, many crape myrtle varieties are more susceptible to various fungi issues and powdery mildew disease. Sunlight helps to minimize mildew-causing diseases and fuels cellular growth.
Where is the best place to plant a crepe myrtle?
The best place to plant a crape myrtle is anywhere where the sun shines directly. This is often in your home or garden's south or west-facing area. It's also best to place the plant at least 15-20 feet away from other plants, driveways, and entrances.
The canopy of these trees can become very wide, even up to 25 to 30 feet, which can be cumbersome in tight spaces. The sunnier the plant location, the better. Even an area that receives indirect sun for 6 to 8 hours will cause the tree to grow slower than it would in a brighter location.
However, if your tree's location is more on the shady side, be sure to check the soil regularly so that it is moist and well training. Crepe myrtles planted in shady locations are more prone to overwatering and moisture issues.
How fast do crepe myrtles grow?
It depends on the variety. Overall, crepe myrtle varieties tend to grow anywhere from 15 to 25 ft high in their lifetime. Their canopy can span from 15 to 30 ft. Dwarf and semi-dwarf varieties can grow anywhere from 4 to 15 feet.
However, dwarf varieties typically average about 4-5 ft tall. Crepe myrtles grow faster than other varieties, but they aren't necessarily a "fast-growing" tree.
However, due to the size of their canopy, you want to use caution the choosing the plant location to avoid restricting the entrance around your home. If your tree isn't growing as fast as you'd like, there are a few things that you can check to encourage it to grow faster. Let's take a look.
Provide it with sunlight and warmth
Remember that these trees prefer hot and sunny climates, though they can tolerate cold weather very well. Fact, they are known for their cold hardiness. They also require ample space to grow, and it's best to plant them in locations where they can receive full sunlight throughout the day. The sunlight will also encourage full and thick blooms.
Keep an eye on the soil
While Crepe myrtles aren't necessarily demanding trees, they thrive best in slightly acidic or neutral soil. It's also essential that the soil is moist, well-draining, and free of fungal diseases. However, if your tree is planted in a sunny location, you'll still want to check the soil regularly to ensure that it is moist and not dry.
You can do this easily by placing a garden stake in the ground about 10-12 inches. When pulling out the stake, look at the bottom section to see if it's moist. If the garden stake comes out completely dry, be sure to give your tree a good watering.
Crepe myrtles are due for a watering about every 7 to 10 days. When watering the tree, be sure to soak the entire are root system for anywhere from 40 to 60 minutes. You'll want the tree's roots to receive at least an inch of water weekly.
This is especially important during the summer season or dry spells. If you live in a sunny and dry area, you may need to water the tree more often.
For brighter flowers and steady growth, use a slow-release fertilizer during the spring before they bloom. You can apply the fertilizer every 2-4 weeks during the spring and summer months to promote new growth.
Crepe myrtles prefer a fertilizer with equal nutrients, so fertilizers with an NPK of 10-10-10 or 8-8-8 core perfectly for these trees.
Treat pest issues
Just like any other tree, crepe myrtles are susceptible to issues from beetles, aphids, and other pests. Keeping a careful eye on your tree during the blooming season can help to mitigate these issues before they become too big. It's also best to use natural or organic pesticides if the infestation is light.
Prune only as needed
You can prune crepe myrtle trees anywhere from late winter to late spring before the bloom. However, it's best to buy the tree seldomly to avoid stressing it out.
Pruning does, however, promote flowering and helps to remove suckers, which can drain energy from the plant. When pruning, be sure to cut off any irregular, tangled, or cross branches as they can also tap energy from the tree.
How much room does a crepe myrtle need?
Crepe myrtle trees are known for their wide span and canopies, so they all need an ample amount of space to grow. On average, you will need anywhere from 15 to 25 feet of space to grow the tree without it becoming overcrowded. This means that it'll need to be planted a considerable distance from your doorway, driveway, sidewalk, our neighboring plant.
It's best not to plant the tree too close to your garden as the roots may suck up water and other nutrients from your shrubs and small plant. If you plan to plant the trees in a row, such as a long sidewalk, be sure to measure the distance of the sidewalk so that each one has enough room for their canopy to grow fully.
Crepe myrtles planted too close together can become hindered if one tree sucks up all the available nutrients from the soil or block sunlight from its neighboring tree. If the tree lacks nutrients or sunlight, it will become stunted and fail to bloom. And once the tree is planted, removing it and replanting it can be a bit of a burden.
Wrapping things up
We hope this post has helped explain the minimum and maximum sunlight requirements for crepe myrtle trees. Remember, all trees need sunlight for photosynthesis and intracellular activities, so it's best to ensure that your tree is planted in an area where it can get plenty of sunlight throughout the day.
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