Natchez Crape Myrtle Tree: History, Growth Rate and Where to Grow

“Natchez” crepe myrtle (Lagerstroemia “Natchez”) is a unique hybrid variety of Crape Myrtle Tree because of its snowy white flowers. It was developed by Dr. Donald E. Egolf, at the United States National Arboretum in Washington, D.C and was introduced to the market in the 1970s.

Dr. Egolf began his work on developing the Natchez Crape Myrtle in the 1960s. Through careful hybridization and selection, he crossed different Crape Myrtle species and cultivars and created different new varieties that exhibited desirable traits. The Natchez Crape Myrtle was selected for its exceptional vigor, abundant flowering, and resistance to powdery mildew, a common fungal disease that affects many Crape Myrtle varieties.

From 1970s till today, Natchez Crape Myrtle has become a beloved ornamental tree in regions where it is commonly grown particularly North America. It is commonly planted as a specimen tree, in groupings, along streets and driveways and in parks and gardens.

Unique Characteristics and facts

  • A “Natchez” crepe myrtle can become 25 or 30 feet tall when mature, with a spread of 15 to 15 feet.
  • It grows as a naturally spreading shrub, with a wide canopy, and has strong branches.
  • The leaves are generally glossy green in color. This plant is not known for vibrant fall foliage, but in some climates, the leaves may turn shades of yellow, orange, or red before dropping in autumn.
  • The flowers are large and have crinkled or crepe-like petals. They are usually pristine or pure white in color.
  • Individual flowers are relatively short-lived, lasting several days to a week before fading and dropping from the tree.
  • Flowers are not known for fragrance or scent, but the sheer abundance and visual impact of the blossoms make up for any lack of scent.
  • Like most crepe myrtles, if blossoms in mid- to late-summer.
  • The plant grows in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 7 through 10.
  • As the tree matures, its bark exfoliates to reveal smooth, mottled patches of cinnamon-brown, gray, and cream color especially during the winter months.
  • This tree is adaptable to various soil types and climates.
  • Usually the tree develops a fibrous root system consisting of numerous fine roots that spread out horizontally in the soil.
  • Generally, well-cared-for Natchez Crape Myrtles can live for several decades, often reaching 50 years or more.

Natchez Crape Myrtle Tree Culture and Care

USDA Hardiness Zones

USDA Hardiness ZoneTemperature Range (°F)Description
Zone 70°F to 10°F (-17°C to -12°C)Natchez Crape Myrtles can generally tolerate winter temperatures down to around 0°F with proper protection and care.
Zone 810°F to 20°F (-12°C to -7°C)Thrives in milder winters with minimal frost.
Zone 920°F to 30°F (-7°C to -1°C)Flourishes with little winter protection.
Zone 1030°F to 40°F (-1°C to 4°C)Can thrive year-round with proper care.

How to grow and care

Choose the Right Location

  • It thrives in full sun, so choose a location in your garden that receives at least 6 to 8 hours of direct sunlight per day.
  • Ensure the soil is well-drained. Overly wet conditions can hinder growth.
  • Select a spot with enough space for the tree to reach its mature size, considering both height and width.


  • Plant in the spring or fall when the soil is warm and moist.
  • Dig a hole twice as wide and slightly deeper than the root ball.
  • Amend the soil with organic matter such as compost or manure to improve drainage and fertility.
  • Place the tree in the center of the hole, making sure the top of the root ball is level with the soil surface.
  • Backfill the hole with soil, gently firming it around the roots, and water thoroughly to settle the soil.


  • Keep newly planted tree consistently moist but not waterlogged during the first growing season to help establish a strong root system.
  • Once established, water deeply but infrequently, allowing the soil to dry out slightly between waterings.
  • During hot and dry periods, provide supplemental irrigation to prevent drought stress, especially for young trees.


  • Apply a balanced, slow-release fertilizer formulated for flowering trees in early spring before new growth begins.
  • Avoid over-fertilizing, as excessive nitrogen can promote lush foliage growth at the expense of flowers.


  • Prune in late winter or early spring while the tree is still dormant.
  • Remove any dead, damaged, or crossing branches to improve air circulation and overall tree health.
  • To encourage abundant blooms, selectively prune to thin out branches and promote a more open canopy.
  • Avoid heavy pruning in late summer or fall, as this can stimulate new growth that may be susceptible to winter damage.


  • Apply a 2- to 3-inch layer of organic mulch, such as shredded bark or wood chips, around the base of the tree.
  • Mulching helps retain soil moisture, suppresses weeds, and moderates soil temperature fluctuations.
  • Keep mulch several inches away from the trunk if possible.

Pest and Disease Control

  • These trees are relatively resistant to pests and diseases, but occasional problems such as aphids, scale insects, or powdery mildew may occur.
  • Monitor the tree regularly for signs of pest infestation or disease and take appropriate action if necessary.
  • Prune and dispose of affected plant parts. You can consider spraying horticultural oil or insecticidal soap for insect control.
  • Provide adequate air circulation by spacing trees properly and avoiding overcrowding to reduce the risk of powdery mildew.

Winter Care

  • In regions with cold winters, protect from freezing temperatures by applying a thick layer of mulch around the base of the tree.
  • Protect young or newly planted trees from freezing temperatures with mulch and frost cloth. Avoid late-season pruning, as it can stimulate new growth that may be susceptible to frost damage.
  • Wrap the trunk with burlap or tree wrap to prevent sunscald and frost damage to the bark.
  • Avoid pruning in late summer or fall, as this can stimulate new growth that may be susceptible to winter injury.

Leave a Comment