Can I grow a crape myrtle indoors as a houseplant? I live in Ohio and bought one on a recent trip down South. -Lois

Crape myrtles aren’t suited for growing as houseplants, because they need a period of winter dormancy as part of their growth and blooming cycle. Bringing them indoors to a year-round warm environment won’t change that cycle, it’ll just make them suffer.

Most crape myrtle varieties are winter hardy to zone 7, which corresponds to a minimum winter temperature of 0° to 10° F. Depending on where you live in Ohio, you may be in zone 5 or 6, where crape myrtles will need some winter protection in order to survive.

Follow these tips with growing crape myrtles in colder climates:

  • Bringing Crape Myrtles Indoors: In zones 5-6, you can grow crape myrtles in large containers that you bring in for the winter. However, don’t treat them like houseplants. Instead, wait until the first freeze has killed back the leaves, then move the pot to a sheltered – but cold – location, such as an unheated garage, basement, or shed. Reduce watering to about once a month, stop fertilizing, and let the plant spend the winter dormant. The crape myrtle will look dead, but hang in there! In spring, gradually expose it to the outdoors to wake up slowly. Resume regular watering and fertilizing when you see growth sprouting.
  • Find the Right Microclimate: If you’re trying to grow crape myrtles outdoors in a colder zone, plant them in the warmest, most protected spot in your yard to provide a microclimate more suited to their cold tolerance.
  • Grow Crape Myrtles as Perennials: In zone 6 (and sometimes zone 5), many crape myrtles can be grown outdoors as perennials, which means they’ll likely die back to the ground over the winter then resprout in spring. Since they’ll never become large, you might want to try this with dwarf varieties that stay low and bushy.


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Danny Lipford


Danny Lipford is a home improvement expert and television personality who started his remodeling business, Lipford Construction, at the age of 21 in Mobile, Alabama. He gained national recognition as the host of the nationally syndicated television show, Today's Homeowner with Danny Lipford, which started as a small cable show in Mobile. Danny's expertise in home improvement has also led him to be a contributor to popular magazines and websites and the go-to source for advice on everything related to the home. He has made over 200 national television appearances and served as the home improvement expert for CBS's The Early Show and The Weather Channel for over a decade. Danny is also the founder of 3 Echoes Content Studio,, and Checking In With Chelsea, a décor and lifestyle blog.

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