Crape myrtles are one of the best trees for gardens in warmer areas (USDA hardiness zones 7-9). When everything else has stopped blooming because of the heat and humidity of the summer, Dynamite Crape Myrtle trees are just getting started. These medium-sized trees will bloom with bright red flowers for up to four months at a time. They’re also easy to grow. Here’s how to add Dynamite Crape Myrtle trees to your landscape and garden.
While you can find many varieties of crape myrtles, the Dynamite Crape Myrtle tree is prized for its bright, deep red flowers. It is a real standout in the landscape!
How to Plant Dynamite Crape Myrtle Trees
Crape myrtles look equally beautiful as specimen trees or planted in groups. They are excellent for landscape beds near the house because they naturally stay relatively small (mature height is 20-30 feet—without pruning), and they can be pruned to maintain size.
Crape Myrtles are at home in any area of the yard. Simply select your preferred spot. You can plant these trees throughout the year. If you’re planting a row of Dynamite Crape Myrtles, plant them at least ten feet apart—fifteen if you don’t want to prune. Dig holes that are twice as wide but just as deep as the plants’ rootballs. Remove the plants from their containers to check the depth of the holes. If the rootball is below the soil level surrounding the hole, pick up the tree and add more soil. Then, fill in the hole with the same soil that you removed.
Dynamite Crape Myrtles are drought-tolerant once established, but you’ll need to water daily for the first week, twice a week for the first month, and once a week for the first three or four months. After that, they won’t need supplemental water.
There are two “mysterious” aspects of crape myrtle care—at least for most people. Pruning and fertilizing are hotly debated subjects.
Pruning Crape Myrtles
What you need to know about Crape Myrtle pruning is that they’re extremely forgiving—almost to the point of annoyance. You prune, and the trees grow right back. These trees need to be pruned yearly in January or February.
There are two styles of crape myrtle pruning: encouraging the natural vase shape of the tree, and pollarding. Pollarding is also called “crape murder” by those who aren’t fans. If you’ve driven down the road and seen crape myrtles that have been chopped back to five or six main trunks, with ends that look like fists, you’ve seen pollarded crape myrtles. You can cut the trees back to the same spot each winter, and they’ll grow out during the summer and bloom. However, this is taxing for the tree, and you won’t get as many blooms as if you let the tree grow in its natural shape.
To encourage natural, vase-shaped crape myrtle growth, prune trees every January or February, removing any growth that is smaller than your pinky finger. If you do this on a routine basis, you’ll have beautiful, clean trees with tons of flowers.
Fertilizing Crape Myrtles
The best way to get lots and lots of flowers on your Crape Myrtles is to apply triple phosphate to them in the winter at the same time that you prune. This is 0-46-0 fertilizer. It will encourage lots of blooms the following summer.
Aside from pruning and fertilizing, Crape Myrtle care is easy. Water with the rest of your shrubs if it is extremely dry. Otherwise, get ready to enjoy the gorgeous flowers of your Dynamite Crape Myrtle trees.