How to Grow a Crape Myrtle in San Diego

How to Grow a Crape Myrtle in San Diego

By Felipe Benavides on August, 22 2017
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Felipe Benavides

Felipe has been working in the Nursery and Garden center for many years and bring extensive knowledge to trees, plants, and landscape design.

PURPLE CRAPE MYRTLE.jpgGrowing Crape Myrtle (Lagerstroemia) trees in San Diego is easy and an excellent way to brighten up any landscape with color! You can see this heat-loving, drought tolerant flowering tree adorning all kinds of landscapes from Coronado to Encinitas and Oceanside, and Escondido to San Carlos and Rancho Del Rey, and everywhere in between our beautiful county. It is easy to see why these lovely trees are a favorite throughout the county – they grow to an ideal height, the canopy establishes quickly and evenly, and the colorful bloom cycle is longer than most! In fact, the bloom is present during the warmer months, and in San Diego, we all know that the warmer months can stretch into November (after all, many of us are often wearing our best board shorts at our Thanksgiving family supper). Thanks to our Mediterranean climate, the growing season in our region lasts all year long, and even though we may be categorized as a desert, having the nearby ocean influences our mild winters and warm summers for a tropical environment that is fitting for these colorful trees.


Crape Myrtles are ideal for growing in the San Diego climate


Our long-standing drought may be over for now. However, low-water use landscaping is always going to be a smart idea where we live, which is another reason why these trees are ideal for our climate. These small trees are drought-tolerant once established and love the sun as well as the heat. With an average of 146 sunny days, it is easy to see why Lagerstroemia love to grow in our local climate. And with their many shades of red, pink, white, and purple, and their super-long blooming cycle, it is easy to see why these Lagerstroemia are such a well-loved single or multi-trunk tree for growing in our area.

Grow them in a spot that gets plenty of full sun; they thrive in the sun and heat!

Once established, these trees are water-wise and drought tolerant with little to moderate water requirements!

Low maintenance, prune to the desired shape or let them grow naturally - beautiful either way!

Hybrids are mildew-resistant – ideal for our coastal communities!

Feed with fertilizer before new growth begins in spring – available at our nurseries!

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Which colors to expect in San Diego

Because of its vibrant bloom, this small tree is often dubbed “the lilac of the South,” and rewards landscapes with color from the South Bay up to North County. So while the dog days of summer may have dried out much of the color in your yard, these flowering trees can breathe new life when other plants fail. San Diego County is blessed with beauty, from the stunning coastline to the wilderness pockets and desert oases, and sprawling natural spaces and Lagerstroemia complements the natural landscape perfectly. Lagerstroemia are the perfect size for any yard, whether your property is in one of our laid-back beach towns or our close-knit suburban communities. You will find them adorning front yards, side yards, along with entrance ways, and next to a driveway. They are ornamental beauties no matter where you plant them, which leads us to our next question. So, what kind of colors can you expect from these smaller sized trees? The answer varies by which variety you choose!



Dynamite (Lagerstroemia indica 'Dynamite') – the ‘Dynamite’ variety is probably the most popular one in our area, especially in the inland areas, where the explosion of blood red flowers breaks up the scenery and transforms any dull landscape. They thrive in warmer locales such as San Marcos, Scripps Ranch, and Poway, to areas far enough from the coast for this variety to grow well, such as Carmel Valley and Rancho Santa Fe. Very water-wise, these trees feature vibrant orange-red foliage that adds to their year-round interest.






Natchez (Lagerstroemia indica x fauriei ‘Natchez’) pure white flowers bloom all summer and into the fall, transforming any size landscape with the psychological effect of peace and calm brought by the white flowers – perfect for preparing you for the upcoming stress of the holiday season. Adding to the showy display are the leaves that go from dark green to vivid orange-red in the fall. These are Lagerstroemia hybrids, which are an excellent choice for growing in the coastal areas of Del Mar, La Jolla, Encinitas or Point Loma. Use them as one of the showiest privacy screens you can find!

Muskogee (Lagerstroemia indica x fauriei 'Muskogee') – you will love the sight of the crape_myrtle_pink_flowersprofuse bloom of lavender-pink flowers that can soften any harsh landscape. We like to grow these trees throughout the county and plant them as a specimen or group planting. These are an excellent choice for urban gardens, where they can add a splash of color to landscapes in North Park and Mission Hills. With their attractive, smooth, cinnamon colored bark, this is an excellent candidate for up-lighting with nighttime landscape lighting too. Fertilize in spring and prune the spent flowers for a neat appearance. This hybrid Lagerstroemia is another good choice for coastal planting.Lagerstroemia hybrids, which are an excellent choice for growing in the coastal areas of Del Mar, La Jolla, Encinitas or Point Loma. Use them as one of the showiest privacy screens you can find!


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Catawba (Lagerstroemia indica 'Catawba') – mass planting this profuse bloomer can produce a purple haze all in your landscape thanks to the long-lasting clusters of dark purple flowers. Let them grow naturally, and they can get to be a large size tree that casts plenty of shade too. We like to plant them in a spot where everyone can enjoy the bloom and the beautiful multi-colored bark. Their improved disease resistance and mildew resistance make these trees a favorite throughout the county, from the coastal communities to inland!

Professional planting of your Crape Myrtle is the easiest and best way!

Growing and maintaining one of these ornamental beauties in your landscape is the natural part, so why not keep things smooth and easy with professional planting. The Moon Valley Nurseries professional planting team does all the hard work and ensures that you get the perfect tree planted in the perfect spot in your yard! Visit any of our nurseries today and discover how to beautify your landscape with Crape Myrtles so that we can handpick the perfect tree for the perfect spot in your yard! 

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