Crape Myrtle makes an excellent bonsai because of the flowers in spring and contrast in fall. During the spring, this shrub displays small red, pink, or white flowers. The petals are known to be crinkled and look like crepes, hence the name. It is mostly know for the silver bark it displays with red accents when peeling. This contrast looks especially beautiful in the fall with the dark green foliage.
Watering Crape Myrtle Bonsai
This tree needs to be watered frequently throughout the growing season. They are rapid growers and need an excess amount of water to keep growth healthy. Slow down watering through fall and winter when the tree is dormant.
Placement of your Crape Myrtle Bonsai
This species of shrub enjoys full sun outdoors year round. If you are in an area where winter temperatures drop below 20 degrees, protect your tree during the winter in a shed or unheated garage.
Training Crape Myrtle Bonsai
It is important to note that the flowers grow at the end of each shoot. Pruning this tree before fall can produce unwanted results. The area you trim will no grow flowers until next season. To encourage rapid thickening, this tree is commonly trimmed back severely in the fall, then allowed to grow freely the next year. Wire this tree during the growing season, before the branches become too hard to work with.
Repotting Crape Myrtle Bonsai
Repot this tree in early spring, before the flowers bloom. This will give it time to recover before it expends all its energy on the flowers. Trim back surface roots while repotting every one to three years. Keep an eye on the roots and repot when the tree becomes root bound.
Fertilizing Crape Myrtle Bonsai
Feed this tree with a well balanced fertilizer every other week during the growing season to encourage new growth and replace nutrients. Slow down to once a month in the winter. If you have some tomato fertilizer, alternate the balanced fertilizer and the low nitrogen fertilizer. This will help produce more buds during the year.