Small crape myrtle

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Small crape myrtle

Post  JimLewis on Thu Oct 01, 2009 3:34 pm

When we bought this place 4 years ago, half a dozen small potted crape myrtle came with it. Guess the sellers didn't want to lug them to where they were moving.

Anyway, a couple have turned into bonsai. Others are out in the yard. This is a mini. It has been in this pot for two years now.

As always suggestions welcomed -- if not always followed. Razz


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Jim Lewis - lewisjk@windstream.net - Western NC - People, when Columbus discovered this country, it was plumb full of nuts and berries. And I'm right here to tell you the berries are just about all gone. Uncle Dave Macon, old-time country musician

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Re: Small crape myrtle

Post  leonardo on Thu Oct 01, 2009 4:28 pm

Great little tree Jim. Would like to see a little dirt under that thumb nail.

ciao....Leonardo

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Re: Small crape myrtle

Post  dorothy7774 on Thu Oct 01, 2009 5:58 pm

leonardo wrote:Great little tree Jim. Would like to see a little dirt under that thumb nail.

ciao....Leonardo

Laughing

Cute little tree, Jim. Some more possible ways to go:







Last edited by dorothy7774 on Thu Oct 01, 2009 5:59 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : add smiley.. ;))

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Re: Small crape myrtle

Post  Klaudia & Martin on Thu Oct 01, 2009 6:07 pm

Hello Jim

a couple have turned into bonsai.

....so maybe they will make a great forest if asampled.....

Kind regards
Martin

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Re: Small crape myrtle

Post  cram on Fri Oct 02, 2009 5:37 pm

i like your actual work...it is very cute
for me il will be something like these in few years
with less of a juniper shape maybe...
[img][/img]
it s only one more possibility

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My Similar Shape Lagerstroemia

Post  my nellie on Mon Oct 18, 2010 10:07 am

Hello!
Yesterday I visited some nurseries trying to find something interesting, so I came up with a crape myrtle very similar to the one that Jim has posted.
Mine is poted in a plastic container something like 5l and dimensions are: 1,20m height and trunk diameter at base is approximately 3cm.
Since this is my first acquaintance with crape myrtle, I would like to ask some questions -slipping into existing thread.... sorry- Embarassed
a) How hard is it to bend myrtle?
b) I will cut down the tree early next spring. Could I try an air layering of the upper part of the tree at this time of year? (I feel sorry to discard it, it's so very beautiful...)
c) Any other general info and advice, Greatly Appreciated!!!

Thank you!


Edit
One more questin, please: During my search for Myrtles I have read that they are not fully hardy and need to be brought indoors from October to May when there is a risk of night temperatures dropping below 2-3°C.
Is this valid?
I know crape myrtles planted in gardens, here in Greece and they are doing fine....

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Re: Small crape myrtle

Post  Khaimraj Seepersad on Mon Oct 18, 2010 11:05 am

Jim,

just work with it as it is. At that size on our side, not much happens. In fact that tree, unless it is in the ground, is mostly leafless or leaf poor. I do have one reliable bloomer, light purple? and I just leave alone, prune back once in a while, and we get along just fine. Laughing
Khaimraj

Alexandra,

it may be that the ground's temperature changes more slowly, than the smaller area of a pot. I have an old healed stump out of Firenze, and for me it does little. Hopefully, you will figure it out and explain it to me.
Khaimraj

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Re: Small crape myrtle

Post  my nellie on Mon Oct 18, 2010 11:14 am

Khaimraj, this is another quotation made by Jim posted in another thread about lagerstroemia
JimLewis wrote:... ... Crape myrtle are one of the most satisfying trees to work with as bonsai. The have flowers, lovely exfoliating bark, and great fall color. And, after they're well into bonsaihood, they have great ramification to show off in winter.
... ...
So, it's worth waiting until he will clarify things for us Smile

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Re: Small crape myrtle

Post  Khaimraj Seepersad on Mon Oct 18, 2010 11:56 am

Alexandra,

Smile you missed the - "on our side" .
As ground plants, the blooms are just beautiful. I have a watermelon red planted down at the seaside, which I will allow to become tree-like.

However, if Jim knows the secret to flowers, branches, I am all ears. ThumbsUp
Stay Well.
Khaimraj

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small crape myrtle

Post  moyogijohn on Mon Oct 18, 2010 1:55 pm

JIM ,,Thates a nice little tree..i kinda like the second picture posted..what do you think??any way it will make a good tree,,you have really good luck with myrtles..let us know o k???take care john

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Re: Small crape myrtle

Post  JimLewis on Mon Oct 18, 2010 3:05 pm

Here's a current picture on his little crape myrtle.



When you chop your new one, you could air layer, but if you want to do "bonsai" on the bottom of your tree, you might be as well off by treating it as a cutting. They root very easily with root hormone.

Getting them to bloom is fairly easy if not always. Generally after the leaf out in the spring, you let them grow for a couple of months, then trim the branches down to a pair (or few pairs, depending on your plans for the tree) of leaves. Then depending on whether yours is an early summer or late summer bloomer you let them grow (late summer bloomers can be trimmed once more). Blooms form on the ends of new growth.

You probably don't want to do this until your tree is at least close to its final design, because keeping them trimmed to form new branches and increase ramification is (or probably should be) more important.

Whether or not you trim the flower buds to reduce the size of the bloom depends on the size of your bonsai.
This one has not bloomed yet, but it is still a young bonsai. You can let small crape myrtle bloom, however.





They form roots rapidly -- including nice surface roots at the base of the tree -- so an annual repot is best while they are young.

Small branches can be wired. Your 3 cm trunk, however, may be too large and too brittle to bend. I wire branches up to the thickness of a wooden pencil, but any larger and you risk a break. On larger wood and larger trees, clip and grow is probably best.

Chop scars heal slowly and obviously. You may have to blend the chop into the tree as a shari. I posted one at page 2 of the current fall color thread that I'm doing this on. Deadwood rots, but slowly and a wood hardener or epoxy will arrest the rot.

Mine freeze hard in their pots every winter and seem to do OK. I can't imaging it getting cold enough in Athens to kill them.

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Jim Lewis - lewisjk@windstream.net - Western NC - People, when Columbus discovered this country, it was plumb full of nuts and berries. And I'm right here to tell you the berries are just about all gone. Uncle Dave Macon, old-time country musician

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Re: Small crape myrtle

Post  my nellie on Mon Oct 18, 2010 3:55 pm

Thank you very much!
May I ask some more questions resulting from the instructions above? Smile

JimLewis wrote:.... .... When you chop your new one, you could air layer, but if you want to do "bonsai" on the bottom of your tree, you might be as well off by treating it as a cutting. They root very easily with root hormone... ...
I choose second option. Question is: Should I chop now that leaves are still on the tree or wait until it has shed?

JimLewis wrote:.... .... You probably don't want to do this until your tree is at least close to its final design, because keeping them trimmed to form new branches and increase ramification is (or probably should be) more important... ....
Yes, indeed! And it is encouraging that they are easy growers, as I presume. Am I right?

JimLewis wrote:.... .... They form roots rapidly -- including nice surface roots at the base of the tree -- so an annual repot is best while they are young.... ....
Is there anything special about reducing the mass of roots? 1/3 as usual? How do they respond to bare rooting?

JimLewis wrote:.... ....Mine freeze hard in their pots every winter and seem to do OK. I can't imaging it getting cold enough in Athens to kill them.
Hoorayyyyy!

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Re: Small crape myrtle

Post  Guest on Mon Oct 18, 2010 3:59 pm

Jim,

again, the lovely little pots.

i like the flowering mini the most.

regards,
jun Smile

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Re: Small crape myrtle

Post  JimLewis on Mon Oct 18, 2010 4:06 pm

Should I chop now that leaves are still on the tree or wait until it has shed?

I would not chop until spring. Sorry. I know how hard it is to wait, but the tree itself will start recovering more rapidly, and the cutting(s) will push out new roots more rapidly in the spring when the "juices" are flowing. They may not root at all at this time of year and over winter.

They are very easy growers. For its initial potting from a nursery pot, you can probably get away with cutting half of the root mass away. Again, though, do it in early spring. I have no idea when that might be in Athens, but February seems likely -- maybe even late January. Whenever buds start to swell (hard to see in these!!!)

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Jim Lewis - lewisjk@windstream.net - Western NC - People, when Columbus discovered this country, it was plumb full of nuts and berries. And I'm right here to tell you the berries are just about all gone. Uncle Dave Macon, old-time country musician

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Re: Small crape myrtle

Post  my nellie on Mon Oct 18, 2010 4:17 pm

JimLewis wrote: I would not chop until spring. Sorry. I know how hard it is to wait, .... ....
Yes, it is very hard but I will restrain myself... I will do this!
In instances like this I feel hopeless and running out of time.... I wish I had started bonsai a looooooot earlier!

Thank you, Jim!
Warmest wishes to you and whole family! Your trees included! Smile

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Crape Myrtle

Post  bonsaisr on Mon Oct 18, 2010 4:28 pm

Khaimraj Seepersad wrote:
However, if Jim knows the secret to flowers, branches, I am all ears. ThumbsUp
Stay Well.
Khaimraj
I suspect your climate is just too warm. In our Mid-South and Mid-Atlantic states, say Pennsylvania to South Carolina, where they are at their best, crape myrtles experience mild winters, but a definite dormant period.
Iris

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Re: Small crape myrtle

Post  Khaimraj Seepersad on Mon Oct 18, 2010 4:35 pm

Hey Jim,

thanks a million. I hope you don't mind if I copy your notes. It would be pleasant to have some other colours, than lavender / purple?

My stock came from K-mart or something like than when I lived in Lafayette. Watermelon red and the other. I later purchased from seed a bright pink-red which had a white stripe, but that was a fluke on a 6 inch plant. I got so tired of the crepes, I just started to ground and trough them, lots of flowers, but none in bonsai pots.

They all grow well, but drop leaves so continuously, bah humbug.
I even have a cork barked version as well.

Thank you once again for being so kind.
Khaimraj

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Re: Small crape myrtle

Post  bonsaisr on Mon Oct 18, 2010 4:41 pm

my nellie wrote:
Edit
One more question, please: During my search for Myrtles I have read that they are not fully hardy and need to be brought indoors from October to May when there is a risk of night temperatures dropping below 2-3°C.
Is this valid?
I know crape myrtles planted in gardens, here in Greece and they are doing fine....
It seems you have true myrtle, Myrtus communis, mixed up with crape myrtle, Lagerstroemia. Myrtus communis is a Mediterranean subtropical, and will not tolerate more than very light frost, about the same as European olive. For bonsai, we keep them frost free because frost spoils the leaves.
Crape myrtle is from Asia and is hardy to USDA Zone 7, about 0 F, - 18 C.
Iris

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Re: Small crape myrtle

Post  Khaimraj Seepersad on Mon Oct 18, 2010 4:44 pm

Hi, Ms. Iris,

well they bloom abundantly in the ground around July until say September and the neighbour's white is all year round.

However, I was neglecting the one's in the bonsai pots and just going through the motions of re-potting. Nothing akin to what Jim does.

Perhaps this year I can surprise you and the others.
Fingers crossed.

Thanks for taking the time to respond.
Khaimraj

* off topic - I have the large fruiting pomegranate as a yard tree, they grow well down here, but I have never seen one as a Bonsai.
The small fruited lives only so many years and then fades. The book says they like the winter's rest. I used to see them in the open in pots in nurseries in Florence,Italy [ zone 7 ?]

I have a second generation from seed, 1 year old, the mother died and gave me one fruit. One seedling has flowers, but I won't let it fruit. Maybe I can breed a tropical version.

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Re: Small crape myrtle

Post  my nellie on Mon Oct 18, 2010 5:00 pm

bonsaisr wrote: It seems you have true myrtle, Myrtus communis, mixed up with crape myrtle, Lagerstroemia. ... ...
Hello, Iris!
No, I do not think so...
This is the webpage where I have read the above written Arrow http://www.bonsai4me.com/Bonsai4meMOBI/Species%20Guides/Lagerstroemia%20Species%20Guide.htm It is referring to Lagerstroemia, isn't it?

As far as the true myrtle (myrtus communis) is concerned I can assure you that there are a lot of them growing near my farmyard (in the island of Evia) near a small creek and they tolerate winter temperatures around -6C and frost, too!
Myrtus communis is one plant (others being "gui"-European mistletoe and Ilex acquifolius) that decorates Greek houses during the Christmas period.

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Re: Small crape myrtle

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