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Plant Answer Line Question

Keywords: Lagerstroemia

Is there dwarf crape myrtle tree/shrub (no more than 12 feet high) suitable for Seattle's climate?


I know there are dwarf or smaller varieties of Lagerstroemia, and they would all be suitable for our climate, depending on what your expectations are. Often, crape myrtle does not flower in our sometimes cool and unsunny summers. The Center for Urban Horticulture is a test garden for the U.S. National Arboretum's crape myrtle varieties. You might want to visit (especially in late summer) to see what they look like. See this article by Valerie Easton.

Meanwhile, the National Arboretum has a poster of different varieties (large file!), as well as other information. There are several cultivars which typically do not exceed 12 feet in height.

This information (no longer available online) from Rainyside Gardeners may be of interest:

"Paul Bonine of Xera Plants, a local wholesale grower, has done quite a bit of research on how these grow in our region. He shared his research with me a few years ago. For those in Sunset zones 4-5 (or USDA zone 8b), he recommends going for varieties that bloom early. Here are some to look for; * marks Paul's top picks:

  • 'Pink Velour' - early bloomer
  • 'Acoma'
  • 'Arapaho'
  • 'Biloxi'
  • *'Hopi'- early bloomer
  • *'Natchez'
  • *'Tuscarora' - I have this one and love it.
  • *'Zuni'

"Plant it in the hottest, sunniest spot in well-drained soil in your garden; give them reflected heat if possible. Contrary to their reputation as drought-tolerant in other parts of the country, you need to water (deeply, infrequently) during our long, dry summers for best performance. Avoid heavy fertilizing and watering late in the season; it can significantly reduce hardiness. Paul also told me that crape myrtles are one of the last deciduous plants to break dormancy in our area so patience is a good thing."

Once you have found a few varieties that appeal to you, you can contact your favorite local nurseries to see if they carry them. A couple of years ago, I noticed that Molbak's in Woodinville had a fairly good selection. There are also mail order sources. You can search Plant Information Online (try searching under Scientific name, Lagerstroemia) for mail order nurseries and additional information.

Date 2017-08-15
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August 01 2017 12:36:01