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Reproduction of Crape Myrtle

Reproduction of Crape Myrtle

Crape Myrtle (Lagerstroemia indica L., 1759) is a plant of the Lytraceae family, native to Southeast Asia.

Suitable breeding habitat –
Lagerstroemia indica is a small deciduous tree, or shrub, native to the Indian subcontinent and south-eastern China, but is also present spontaneously in Java, Laos, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, the Andaman Islands in Korea and in the Japan.
Its habitat is that of open grassy areas and low-altitude cliffs, even at the edge of the forest, where it grows in semi-shaded places and fertile fields.

Propagation –
Lagerstroemia indica is a plant that has low maintenance requirements, very useful for inclusion in parks, along sidewalks, highways and in parking lots.
It is one of the few trees / shrubs to offer bright colors in late summer and fall, at a time when many flowering plants have run out of blooms. In arid climates it requires additional watering and some shade in warmer areas. The plant must have hot summers to flower successfully, otherwise it will not give good flowering.
Lagerstroemia indica tolerates frost, prefers full sun; moreover, it has no particular pedological needs but requires good drainage to thrive. Once established it is also quite drought tolerant, although it benefits from occasional deep watering during the summer months.
Propagation can occur by seed; sowing should be done as soon as the seed reaches maturity.
The young seedlings are then placed in individual pots where they must be made to develop up to the size useful for transplanting; normally after the first year.
It can also be propagated by cuttings obtained from half-ripe wood cuts of 5 – 8 cm, which give a good percentage of engraftment.
Cuttings obtained from mature wood cuts or 4 cm long root cuttings can also be prepared. these too have a good percentage of engraftment.

Ecology –
Crape Myrtle is a plant particularly visited by bees for pollen and nectar and, moreover, it is a tree widely used for nesting songbirds and wrens.
It is a plant now exported to many countries but whose introduction must always be evaluated in reference to the risk of invasiveness of the same.
Once naturalized, it can grow in uncultivated places, grasslands, cliffs, along rivers, in disturbed or secondary forests and along the edges of forests in humid and dry habitats from low to medium altitudes where it can compete with native flora.
It is also extremely drought tolerant and has low fertility requirements, although it responds to fertilizers and water with lush growth. Finally, L. indica has a low salt tolerance and is also partially fire resistant.

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