Portable Pennsylvania

Asked October 29, 2015, 3:53 PM EDT

PSU plant gurus - Howdy. I am a transplant from Delaware County, PA to Bay County, MI. On our vacation this year, my Michigan native wife fell in love with the Crapemyrtle plants all over the Philly suburbs. We bought an Ebony Flame Crapemyrtle (see pix) at a Delaware County nursery and brought it back to Michigan with us. We have maintained it in its original plastic nursery pot, and it did bloom a bit this summer. Now it is getting colder as autumn is setting in here. We believe we will need to bring it indoors for the winter, therefore it will need to continue as a container plant. EVERYTHING freezes solid here in the brutal winters (can you tell I miss PA?). Do you have any advice on: 1) successfully keeping Crapemyrtle as a container plant, and 2) the best way to overwinter it indoors (eg, N/S/E/W room, basement ~ 40ish degrees with small N window, etc)? Any help, advice, references you may have would be appreciated as we try to keep a blooming bit of PA alive up here in the great white north. Mike

Bay County Michigan container gardening crepe myrtle

3 Responses

Crepe myrtle needs to be inside for the winter in a cool dark place and watered every three or four weeks. It will go dormant and look dead, but should revive when you take it outside in the spring. If this plant is not a dwarf, it will try to grow quite large. You will need to keep an eye on the roots so they don't circle around in a tight ball. Also, the soil needs to be replenished in the spring with a good compost.

Thanks for such a prompt response, Eileen. I'm not sure what constitutes a dwarf plant, but here is the description from the US Nat'l Arboretum: EBONY FLAME’ (USDA Plant Release Notice, March 2013): Deciduous, upright, spreading shrub to 1.3 m tall and 0.5 m wide after 5 years; leaves elliptic, 5 cm long and 2.5 cm wide, young leaves dark red (Greyed-Purple 187A)(RHS, 2001) later brownish gray (Brown 200A) throughout season; inflorescences 7 cm long and 8 cm wide; during cool mornings and/or low light, flowers open brilliant greenish yellow (White 155A) with strong pale pink/red (Red-Purple 67D/Red-Purple 67A) highlights, otherwise flowers are deep red (Red 53A) fading to moderate red (Red-Purple 60A); highly resistant to powdery mildew and Cercospora leaf spot; originated as a hybrid of a female parent (WHIT VII × ARAPAHO) and CHOCOLATE MOCHA as male parent; introduced in 2013 by USDA and Mississippi State University. Name registered May 10, 2013. The description seems to indicate it should be smaller than some of the big shrubs we saw on lots of folks' property. Also - if I see root circling - what do I do to remedy that - or how do I prune, etc, to keep it happily container sized? Any help is welcome. Mike

A dwarf is a small plant. In the case of crepe myrtle, the dwarf doesn't grow over 3-6 feet whereas some varieties, Japanese Crepe Myrtle L. fauriei for example, can grow up to 30 feet tall.