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How Fast Does Crape Myrtles Grow? Discover the Surprising Truth!

Dr Ahsanur Rahman, PHD

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Crape myrtles can grow 1-2 feet per year and reach a height of 20-30 feet within 10-20 years. Crape myrtles are popular ornamental trees with showy clusters of blooms in summer and fall.

They come in various sizes and colors, and their growth rate is one of the reasons why gardeners love them. Crape myrtles are relatively fast-growing trees that can reach their maximum height in a couple of decades. The rate at which crape myrtles grow can vary due to several factors, including the specific cultivar, prevailing climate, soil quality, and water accessibility.

Typically, crape myrtles have the potential to achieve a yearly growth of 1-2 feet, ultimately reaching heights of 20-30 feet over a span of 10-20 years. However, it’s important to note that even though they grow relatively quickly, crape myrtles demand consistent pruning and care to flourish and yield vibrant blossoms.

Understanding Crape Myrtles

Overview Of Crape Myrtles

Crape myrtles (lagerstroemia) are deciduous, ornamental trees or shrubs that bloom in the summer and fall. These trees grow well in warm, humid environments and have long, showy clusters of flowers in shades of white, pink, purple, and red. The leaves are dark green in the summer and turn yellow, orange, or red in the autumn before falling.

Crape myrtles have gained popularity due to their low-maintenance characteristics, resilience, and capacity to thrive in various soil types.

Basic Information About Crape Myrtles

If you are planning to plant crape myrtles in your garden or landscape, here is some key information that you should know:

  • Crape myrtles can grow up to 25-30 feet tall at maturity, so make sure to plant them at a distance from other trees and structures.
  • They prefer full sun exposure to grow to their full potential and need at least six hours of sunlight every day.
  • Crape myrtles are drought-tolerant, but they need regular watering during the first year of planting to establish their root system.
  • They adapt well to a variety of soils but prefer well-drained, fertile soil with a ph level between 5.0 and 6.5.
  • Crape myrtles respond well to pruning and can be shaped to your desired size and shape with proper care.


Crape myrtles are known for their delicate petals that cluster together into large, showy blooms. Here are some descriptions of their physical characteristics:

  • The flowers of crape myrtles are bell-shaped and have a ruffled texture. They grow in large bunches, called panicles, that range from 4-16 inches long and can last 60-120 days.
  • The leaves of crape myrtles are ovate in shape and reach a length of about 2-6 inches. They are dark green in color in the summer and turn to a warm red or yellow in the autumn.
  • The bark of crape myrtles is smooth, with a peeling appearance. When the bark is removed, the wood beneath is smooth and mottled.


There are numerous varieties of crape myrtles available to choose from, based on their size, color, and blooming periods. Here are some popular types:

  • Natchez: A tall, white-flowering variety with a long blooming period.
  • Dynamite: A medium-sized, bright red-flowering variety with a long blooming period.
  • Muskogee: A tall, lavender-flowering variety with a long blooming period.
  • Black diamond: A new variety of crape myrtle with dark maroon flowers and dark purple foliage.


Crape Myrtles are native to Asia, specifically china, Japan, and Korea. They were introduced to the United States in the late 1700s and have since become popular ornamental plants in the country’s south-eastern region. Today, more than 50 varieties of crape myrtles are available in the market, each with unique characteristics.

Crape myrtles are beautiful ornamental trees that grow well in various environments. They can grow to become showstoppers in your garden or landscape with the proper care.

Factors Affecting Growth Rate Of Crape Myrtles

Crape myrtles are a stunning addition to any garden, with their spectacular pink, white, and purple flowers adding a pop of color to your outdoor space. But have you ever wondered how fast these beautiful trees grow? In this section, we will discuss the factors that affect the growth rate of crape myrtles.

Soil And Nutrient Requirements

Crape myrtles grow best in well-draining soils that contain a mixture of sand, silt, and clay. Their roots require oxygen to absorb nutrients, so it is essential to ensure that the soil is not compacted, which could prevent the roots from growing properly.

Here are some key points to keep in mind when it comes to crape myrtle soil and nutrient requirements:

  • Crape myrtles flourish in soil that is slightly acidic, ideally maintaining a pH range between 5.5 and 6.5.
  • The trees require regular watering but don’t like standing in water. Overwatering or poor drainage could lead to root rot.
  • Fertilizer is crucial for crape myrtles, and feeding them with a slow-release fertilizer in the spring is recommended.

Temperature And Climate

Crape myrtles are commonly grown in USDA hardiness zones 7-9 but can grow in zone 6 with proper care. The following factors will have a direct impact on the growth rate of crape myrtles:

  • Crape myrtles prefer bright sunlight and warm temperatures. Ideal temperatures for crape myrtles range between 70-90°f.
  • These trees are sensitive to colder temperatures; if they are not dormant, they can be damaged or killed by extremely cold weather. They can tolerate temperatures as low as 0°f but might not bloom as profusely the following year.

Pruning And Maintenance

Proper pruning and maintenance are crucial for crape myrtles to ensure their health and vigor. Here are some key points to keep in mind:

  • Always prune the crape myrtle in the late winter to ensure that the tree will bloom in the summer.
  • Removing old flowers and seedheads before pruning the tree is essential.
  • Crape myrtles benefit from annual pruning to improve flower production and maintain their shape.

Now that you understand the key factors affecting the growth rate of your crape myrtles, you can take the right steps to ensure that they thrive and continue to add beauty to your garden.

How Fast Do Crape Myrtles Grow?

Typical Growth Rate For Crape Myrtles

Crape myrtles are popular ornamental trees for their showy blooms and stunning bark. Their rapid growth rate makes them a favored choice for landscaping projects. On average, the growth rate of crape myrtles is one to two feet per year.

However, some faster-growing varieties can grow up to five feet per year in the right conditions.

In their youth, crape myrtles tend to grow quickly. But as they mature, their growth rate slows down. These trees can reach around 15-20 feet in as little as five years.

Comparisons To Other Trees

Compared to other trees, crape myrtles have a relatively quick growth rate. For instance, oak trees may grow up to two feet per year, but they typically take several decades to reach their full height. On the other hand, the growth rate of pine trees varies depending on the species, but it is significantly slower than crape myrtles.

Factors Influencing Growth Rate

Several factors determine how fast a crape myrtle tree will grow. Some of these include:

  • Age of the tree: Younger crape myrtles tend to grow faster than mature ones.
  • Species and cultivars: Certain species and cultivars tend to grow faster than others.
  • Climate: These trees grow best in warm and humid climates and may experience slower growth rates in cooler regions.
  • Soil quality: Good soil conditions that are well-draining, rich in nutrients, and pH-balanced greatly impact the growth rate of crape myrtle trees.
  • Water availability: Crape myrtles need adequate moisture to grow and will grow faster in well-watered conditions.
  • Pruning: Regulated pruning promotes faster, healthier growth.

Location And Conditions

Crape myrtle trees thrive in full sunlight and well-draining soil. They can tolerate various soil types, including clay and sandy soil. These trees also require regular watering during the first few years of their life to establish their root system.

Crape myrtles grow best in u. s. department of agriculture plant hardiness zones 7 to 9.

Species And Cultivar

The species and cultivar of the crape myrtle tree play a crucial role in its growth rate. Typically, the lagerstroemia indica species is known for its fast growth rate and dense foliage. Its commonly grown cultivars include the muskogee, natchez, and tuscarora, among others.

On the other hand, the lagerstroemia fauriei species has a slower growth rate but produces a larger tree with beautiful flaky bark. Its commonly grown cultivars include the sioux and tonto.

Determining how fast a crape myrtle tree will grow depends on several factors such as species, cultivar, climate, soil quality, and pruning. These factors greatly impact the growth rate of these beautiful trees, making them an ideal choice for a landscape that demands stunning appeal and fast growth.

Benefits And Drawbacks Of Different Growth Rates

Crape myrtles are popular ornamental trees and shrubs for their gorgeous blooms and hardiness in warm climates. However, when planting them, many homeowners wonder how fast they grow and what benefits and drawbacks come with their different growth rates. We will explore the benefits and drawbacks of different growth rates of crape myrtles.

Advantages Of Fast-Growing Crape Myrtles

Fast-growing crape myrtles are popular for their immediate benefits.

  • Aesthetics: Fast-growing crape myrtles provide homeowners with quick, beautiful, and vibrant blooms to make their yards or gardens look stunning. They can create an instant eye-catching focal point that many gardeners love.
  • Shade and privacy: The taller a crape myrtle grows, the more shade and privacy it provides. Fast-growing crape myrtles can offer these benefits in just a few years.
  • Landscaping value: For those who want to increase the value of their property, fast-growing crape myrtles can give quick returns. A well-landscaped yard or garden with fast-growing crape myrtles can increase property value by up to 12%.

Drawbacks Of Fast-Growing Crape Myrtles

However, fast-growing crape myrtles have some disadvantages.

  • Weakness: Fast-growing crape myrtles are susceptible to breakage because their rapid growth causes their wood to be brittle. Such breakages can be unsightly and dangerous, especially during storms.
  • Short lifespan: Fast-growing crape myrtles have a shorter lifespan than slow-growing ones. They are prone to die-backs since the plant’s wood is less mature. On the other hand, slow-growing crape myrtles will generally live longer and have a stronger branching structure.
  • Prone to disease and pest infestations: Due to their rapid growth, fast-growing crape myrtles are susceptible to pest infestations and diseases like powdery mildew and cercospora leaf spots. This problem can be mitigated through proper maintenance, such as regular pruning and watering.

Fast-growing crape myrtles provide homeowners many immediate benefits such as beautiful blooms, shade and privacy, and increased property value. However, they also come with disadvantages such as weak wood, short lifespan, and susceptibility to pest infestations and diseases. Therefore, it is essential to consider both the benefits and drawbacks before planting fast-growing crape myrtles in your yard or garden.

Tips For Growing Crape Myrtles

Crape myrtles are a beautiful addition to any landscape with their showy, colorful blooms and stunning bark texture. However, to ensure that your crape myrtles thrive and grow to their fullest potential, here are some essential tips for growing crape myrtles.

Selection And Planting

  • Choose a crape myrtle cultivar that is appropriate for your region’s climate. This will ensure that your plant grows optimally without succumbing to environmental stress factors, such as extreme heat or cold.
  • Before planting, inspect the root system of your crape myrtles and choose plants with healthy, well-developed root systems.
  • Opt for a location with well-drained soil and full sunlight exposure to allow your plant to grow to its fullest potential.

Choosing The Right Location

  • Placing your crape myrtles in a location with proper sunlight exposure ensures optimal growth and bloom production.
  • Avoid planting your crape myrtles in an area with heavy shade, as this can stunt growth and decrease the intensity of bloom color.

Proper Planting Techniques

  • Crape myrtles prefer well-drained soil, so ensure that the planting hole drains well, while also providing enough nutrients for the plant to grow and thrive.
  • When transplanting from containers, ensure that the root ball remains intact and moist, while also planting the crape myrtle at the same depth as it was in its original container.

Care And Maintenance

  • Mulch your newly planted crape myrtle, adding a layer of 2-3 inches around the tree to help retain moisture in the soil.
  • Ensure that your crape myrtle receives proper hydration by watering every 7-10 days, ensuring that it receives at least 1 inch of water each week.
  • Fertilize your crape myrtle once a year, in the early spring with a balanced, slow-release fertilizer that contains equal parts nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium.
  • Remove any dead or weak branches to promote healthy growth and optimal bloom production.

Watering And Fertilizing

  • Water your crape myrtle deeply, providing enough water to reach the root system, while avoiding overwatering, which can lead to root rot.
  • Fertilize your crape myrtle in early spring with a slow-release fertilizer that contains balanced amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium.

Pruning And Training

  • Prune your crape myrtle during the dormant season, removing any crossed or rubbing branches, as well as weak or dead branches.
  • To train your crape myrtle into a desired shape, select a central leader and remove any competing branches, while also pruning the tree to maintain a balanced shape.

Troubleshooting Common Problems

  • If your crape myrtle is experiencing poor growth or yellowing leaves, it may be a sign of nutrient deficiencies, requiring fertilization.
  • In cases of under-watering or overwatering, adjust watering schedules to ensure proper moisture levels.
  • Crape myrtles are also susceptible to powdery mildew and aphid infestations, so monitor your plant and take appropriate steps to control these problems.

Disease And Pest Control

  • Powdery mildew can be controlled by applying a fungicide at the first sign of infection.
  • Aphids can be controlled using horticultural oil or insecticidal soaps that prevent the insects from feeding on the tree.

Environmental Stress

  • Crape myrtles are susceptible to environmental stress, particularly heat stress, during periods of extreme hot weather.
  • Protect your crape myrtles during heat waves by providing shade, proper hydration, and good air circulation.

Frequently Asked Questions For How Fast Do Crape Myrtles Grow

How Fast Can Crape Myrtles Grow?

Crape myrtles are fast growers, averaging 1-2 feet per year. However, growth rates may vary depending on the soil type, amount of sunlight, and climate conditions.

When Do Crape Myrtles Bloom?

Crape myrtles usually bloom in mid-summer to early fall, from june to september. Blooming times may also depend on the variety of crape myrtle.

How Do I Care For My Crape Myrtle?

Make sure to plant your crape myrtle in well-draining soil and provide plenty of sunlight. Water young trees frequently and prune them in late winter to promote growth.

How Do I Propagate Crape Myrtle Trees?

You can propagate crape myrtle trees by taking softwood cuttings in early summer, using hormone powder and placing the cuttings in well-draining soil. You can also propagate crape myrtles via grafting or seed propagation.

How Do I Choose The Right Crape Myrtle Variety?

Choose a crape myrtle variety that grows to the size you want and with the color of blooms that suits your preference. Also, check that the variety is suited for your climate and soil type.


After understanding the growth rate and factors influencing the growth of crape myrtles, it’s clear that these trees are a worthwhile addition to any garden. These trees grow at an average pace of 1 to 2 feet per year, making them ideal for creating an attractive landscape.

Each cultivar of crape myrtle has its distinct characteristics, including size, color, and shape, which should be considered before planting. Adequate watering, good soil, and sunlight are critical to ensuring that crape myrtles reach their full potential. Pruning, done in the right way, can help in shaping the trees and encouraging faster growth.

Expediting growth should not be the only priority when planting crape myrtles, as patience is essential in nurturing these trees. In the end, the patience and effort put into growing crape myrtles will be rewarded with their stunning beauty and unique charm. Protection Status