crape myrtles in Portland

Beaverton, OR(Zone 8a)

Has anyone had success growing crape myrtle 'dynamite" or 'miami' in the Portland area? I've had a crape myrtle 'pecos' for 6 years now, and I just love the late summer flowers that last a long time. So now I'm looking at some bigger, and red varieties, the dynamite and the miami.

Mount Angel, OR(Zone 8a)

This is a great question, I love the crepe myrtles, but I have never seen anyone successfully grow them. The garden center where I purchased one said to protect them especially the first winter and then eventually they should acclimate. Well I didn't have any luck.

Beaverton, OR(Zone 8a)

Thanks for the reply, Lenjo! It was nice to get my very first reply - yours - since I just signed up as a member two days ago and started two threads.

Well, I have my Pecos crepe myrtle in full sun and have never had a problem with it since I planted it 6 years ago. (I first tried 2 kouse dogwoods - one each year - in that very spot and they both drowned there over the 2 winters.) I'm sorry yours died.

I now have 3 dynamite crepe myrtles coming in the mail and hope to have equal success. You might want to try a Pecos crepe myrtle or one of the three below. I have a list of "Recommended Trees for Western Washington and Oregon Communities" and crape myrtles are on the list. The publication also says: "Natchez, Tuskarora, and Tuskegee (varieties of crape myrtle) are good growers in Pacific Northwest." (but I'm stubborn and want the reddest one - dynamite. :-)



Mount Angel, OR(Zone 8a)

Where do you find these varieties? I have a great spot for a small tree. My daughter is supposed to be giving me a Mt. Fuji flowering cherry but then if I could get a hardy crape myrtle I would have to reconsider on the cherry. A red one sounds beautiful. How big is your six year old one by now? The ones I have seen sometimes freeze and then send out multiple trunks.

Have you been to the Al's Garden center up your way on Roy Rogers Blvd?

Beaverton, OR(Zone 8a)

Nope, I've never been to Al's.

I stumbled onto the Pecos at a nursery around here, I do not remember which one. I bought it 3-4 feet tall and is now about 10 feet tall. It will not get much bigger than that.

As to where I found Dynamite... The internet is a wonderful thing. Google and Google Images are wonderful. I did a lot of research. And I have bought 30 plants so far this spring, and all but 4 were purchased online. I bought my Dynamite online. Personally, I like the multiple trunks on crape myrtle, and it is the natural growth pattern. I have have limited mine to 3 trunks, and I could see going up to 5 trunks perhaps. It can be pruned to be a single trunk, but I am not going to do that - especially as the peeling bark on multiple trunks is pretty.

Beaverton, OR(Zone 8a)

I bought a Crape Myrtle from Alís in Woodburn about 8 years ago. I donít know what variety it is but it did wonderful. It grew tall and had dark pink flowers in late summer and fall. If you have ever been to Woodburn, there is a row of them growing in front of a Mexican Restaurant on Hwy 99 across from the Safeway shopping center. That is were I first saw one and fell in love with them. We moved last year and I hope to find one like it at the Alís in Sherwood . Alís has been my favorite nursery for years. They have a larger select then most nurseries. I lived at the one in Woodburn and was happy they now have one in Sherwood, although it is about 10 to 12 miles from our home.

So. Puget Sound, WA(Zone 8b)

I've seen pictures of the Dynamite and just love it. I'd like to try some along the drive as a soft screen. It there a good mail order source?

Mount Angel, OR(Zone 8a)

Rosy, yes I have seen that row of crape myrtles that you are talking about. That is where I first saw them and thought what could that be blooming that time of year and since did figure what they were. I bought a cm from Al's there in Woodburn but it didn't survive. I love Al's too and going into such an extensive nursery is such a good way to learn plants. Just walking and reading all the tags I have learned so much. There are better buys than Al's though. I have since found sources for all kinds of things.

Lakewood, WA(Zone 8a)

Have you tried Garden World, just off of I-5 north of Salem? That place is extensive and has very good prices.
I'm glad for this thread. I really wanted a reddish crape myrtle for my front area, but I didn't think they would do well. My neighbor has a pacific myrtle that does VERY well, but it's not as pretty and has a tendency to get large and leggy.

So. Puget Sound, WA(Zone 8b)

I just checked the PlantFiles, checked out the nurseries offering Dynamite and ordered from Ecolage. They're pricey but they have 100% feedback rating so seemed safest. These are going along my front drive as a screen and I want them to grow FAST! My neighbors have an "out of sight, out of mind" attitude about my side of their garage. LOL They're lovely people so I'm just hoping to block the view soon.

Beaverton, OR(Zone 8a)

Lenjo,
Could you give me a few names for Nurseries that you like, North of Woodburn. I never go farer south than Woodburn anymore. I found a Nursery near Sherwood last summer, in a Woodsy setting, very pretty to wander through. However they do not have a large selection and I can't remember the name. I have been to all the ones up and down the freeway. There is one near Medford I would like to visit but my hubby won't take that route when we go to Reno.
Thanks,
Rosy

Mount Angel, OR(Zone 8a)

Rosy, there are a few nurseries down here that sell wholesale like only maybe a few weeks during the spring will have retail sales.The one that comes to mind is Hydrangeas Plus on Zimmerman road just south of Canby about 3 miles. I think they have a website. There is a local rhodendron farmer who wholesales for a while in the spring but he is a few miles south of Woodburn. I know a wholesale clematis nursery that I have gotten things from that is up in the St. Paul area. One of my daughters lives up that way and so I pass that nursery most all the time. Kraemer's Nursery here in Mt. Angel is wholesale and is really huge. I can get things from them since I am sort of considered a neighbor. They run their trucks full of plants between about three of their farms. I live right in the same area and they used to have plants fall off the trucks quite often and my girls knew to pick up plants(roadkill ) for mom. I have several roadkill plants but then they got smart and figured out how to fix the pallets that the plants are on, so things don't fall off anymore.

Pixy, I don't care for Garden World. I have been there a couple of times. I have never seen crape myrtles there.

A really good website is www.oan.org and you can do a plant search on whatever you might be interested in and it will tell you who grows that plant . Most of the nurseries though on the OAN site are wholesale only.

Lakewood, WA(Zone 8a)

I've only been to Gardenworld once, and I didn't have enough time to do it justice. But I got an awesome variety of jap maple. I bought stuff from them at the Pt. Defiance Garden show, too. Of course, I wasn't looking for crape myrtles at the time.
Is there anything about the place that I should know in terms of your dislike of it? Or is it just personal preference?

Beaverton, OR(Zone 8a)

I'm glad this thread is getting some action. Fun. Thanks everyone.

Well, after reading everyone's response, I will have to take a trip to Al's in Sherwood! I just drove over to Portland Nursery 2 weeks ago, on 5050 SE Stark, and they have about half a dozen different types of crape myrtles, but did not have dynamite or miami.

I ordered my Dynamite, after checking PlantFiles, and ordered from Sooner Plant Farm, as they have a 100% feedback rating also. (I have not received it yet.)

Rosy_Lady, I normally go down 99W to Loens Nursery, by Sherwood, then sometimes I stop at Kasch's, but I like Gardener's Choice also, in Tigard. All 3 are on 99W, within about 2 miles of each other, so I can hit all three if I'm so inclined in just a few hours to see which has the best Japanese Maple, or if I'm looking for the best price or selection on a certain plant. Loen's is my first choice and Gardener's Choice is my second choice.

Mount Angel, OR(Zone 8a)

No, Pixy, there is nothing really bad about the place ; I just don't care for it; it seems so sterile out there by itself with all that gravel. I drove right by there yesterday. I noticed they have some greenhouses there now too.Their stock is mostly shrubs and trees and I guess I love looking at the herbaceous perenniels. So it is just a personal preference.

Lakewood, WA(Zone 8a)

Yes, you are right about it being a bit sterile. The reason it is like that is that it represents all the growers in that area. They all sell stuff there, supposedly well below regular retail. I do find their prices to be very competitive. It is mostly shrubs and trees, but some perennials, too. It's a little hard to get to as there is no exit from the highway right there. There are so many incredible nurseries in that area!

Mount Angel, OR(Zone 8a)

Pixy, while you are in the area you really are close to lots of great nurseries like Ferguson's Fragrant Nursery, they have an awesome little power packed display garden. It is so beautiful; they are a little more spendy but I love their display. And then of course, Heirloom Roses isn't too terribly far from there either. I have to make my stops there. There is supposed to be a rhodendron garden in the same area as the Roses, one of these springs I have to find that one. It isn't a nursery just a garden.

Lakewood, WA(Zone 8a)

Oh yes, I've been to both of those nurseries. I found Ferguson's by accident, just taking the back roads from Salem up to Portland to stay off the highway. I love the drive out to Heirloom Roses, but I have to stay away from that place. The last time I stopped by' there, I spent over 100$ on roses. I still have two of them in a pots because I don't know where to put them yet. One nice thing about going to their place rather than ordering on line is that when you spend over a certain amount, you get a 'mystery' rose for free. (A rose that has lost its tag). I think mine turned out to be a miniature pink one.

Mount Angel, OR(Zone 8a)

Yes, Pixy, I have one of those mysteries too and it was a rosy pink also. Did you know that there is a weekend in August when they have half off sales, it is around the 15th. My daughter , Katy, lives up there within a couple of miles of Ferguson's and her birthday is the 13th and so you know what she gets for her birthday. She loves gardening too.

There is also Champoeg Horticultural nursery and their specialty is clematis. I have bought from them; I believe they are wholesale though but I live close to the owner's brother and so he lets me get plants. I don't always have best luck with clematis, I don't what I am doing wrong.

Lakewood, WA(Zone 8a)

I try to forget about the 50% off sale! LOL It's just a huge temptation for me! So now you have to tell me about a clematis nursery! They probably have a lot of unusual cultivars that are just gorgeous. It's probably a good thing that they are wholesale.
I love clematis, but I've not been hugely successful with them. I don't think I'm doing anything in particular wrong, it's more my dogs that have done wrong. Last year I finally had some that had been in the same spot for three years, so they were due to be beautiful, and my dogs sensed something under the shed they were planted by and dug up the entire bed. The clematis survived, but I got only a few blooms from them. Maybe this year.

Mount Angel, OR(Zone 8a)

Oh how frustrating, we have a couple of dogs, and God bless em, my hubby likes having them but sometimes oh sometimes you just wanna shoot em. But the two we have now are better than in the past. They are labs and so they seem pretty easy going. We have had golden retrievers and they were great dogs with kids but not so good in the garden.

Lakewood, WA(Zone 8a)

For the most part, the dogs are good. They generally don't dig in the garden, but they are known to run through it if they are trying to get somewhere fast. I keep a supply of those little portable fence pieces that you can just stick in the ground and if they take too much of a liking to a certain area I put those up for awhile. It seems to work for them. As long as there is some kind of obstacle that is eye level for them, they go around. It's just that plants are not considered an obstacle!

Mount Angel, OR(Zone 8a)

Absolutely, you described it perfectly. We had a female golden retriever who thought her bed was directly on top of my rock daphnes. She ended up almost killing them; they just looked so ratty after she used them so; I hated sticking up sticks in the plant to keep her from laying there. I have various rocks (softball sized) in some beds to discourage dogs from laying there.

Lakewood, WA(Zone 8a)

Now if I could only discourage my cats! They are worse than the dogs, digging up freshly planted plants, covering tender shoots of hostas with dirt, generally making a huge mess in about 3 different areas. I have put chicken wire just beneath the soil in a couple of areas and that does deter them, but they just find the spaces between the wire and dig away. I'd have to cover my entire beds with chicken wire for that to work. I've seen the stuff you can sprinkle in the garden, but it's not only expensive, it lasts only for 2-3 days and then you have to re-apply. I have too many beds for that. I'm considering building them their own sandbox.

Seattle, WA

Twelve years on, I am wondering if any of you had success with L. Dynamite. I am in the same position, living in Seattle and wanting the reddest of all, but not sure if it will bloom here. Thanks!

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