Crepe Myrtle and figs

Asked February 27, 2013, 9:24 PM EST

Crepe Myrtles grow in the Penn countryside where it also gets quite cold. Is there a variety that would grow in Colorado? I live in Longmont. What about fig trees? In New Jersey we used to wrap our fig tree in burlap for the winter. Would that work here.
Or is it too dry?

Boulder County Colorado

1 Response

The hardiest crapemyrtles (Lagerstroemia fauriei) are cold-hardy to Zone 6a, see and compare CO to PA.

I have not seen anything other than a few dwarf crapemyrtles growing in the Denver area. Limiting factors include not just winter cold but soil texture and drainage. Crapemyrtles don't tolerate cold poorly-drained/wet soils in winter. Since many Denver area soils are clayey, they often stay wet and cold through winter.

If you want to try a crapemyrtle in a protected sunny spot with well-drained soil, plant it in spring and try a "dwarf" or one of the cold-hardiest ones like
'Pink Velour' or
'Sarah's Favorite'
Crapemyrtles in CO probably won’t be able to develop a main trunk and the beautiful exfoliating bark that they are known for. They are more likely to dieback to the ground after a cold dry severe winter, but if you can get one established, it'll grow back and bloom on the new growth.

Avoid excessive watering, pruning, or fertilizing in the fall which forces new growth that will not have time to harden off and is likely to be killed by winter cold. Although Crapemyrtles are heat-loving shrubs, avoid planting against south-facing walls which hold and radiate heat and may cause premature breaking of dormancy during brief winter warm spells. Dwarf varieties are small enough to allow you to take some measures to protect them from winter cold. After leaf drop, you can surround one with bales of hay or mulch them heavily with leaves, straw, pine needles or another loose material to protect them from extremes in temperature. As for figs, much of the same applies. You could try one of the very hardiest varieties like 'Chicago Hardy' or 'Brown Turkey ' planted in a protected sunny spot with well-drained soil in spring. For winter protection, surround with bales of hay in early Nov; fill interior space with straw, pine needles or similar to help protect stem. Some determined gardeners have tried wire cylinders covered with carpeting placed around the stem; fill interior space. Others have even built wooden frames to surround fig stem, cover with carpeting, fill interior space. In any case, water soil during dry spells in winter.If all this sounds like way too much trouble to have any chance of success with crapemyrtles or figs, maybe settle for "Northern Crapemyrtle" aka Seven-sons Flower, Heptacodium and a cold-hardy peach.