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When we start shrubs early we sow them in a 4" pot, or tupperware type pot, and add enough water to our soil so it is slightly moist, but not soaking wet, as if your soil is too wet your seeds will rot before they can germinate. Crepe Myrtle require light to germinate so we recommend you sow 5 seeds on the surface of your potting material and lightly dust with sand or vermiculite. We then put a clear baggie over the top of the pot which is secured with a rubber band to create a green house effect. You can also start them in a Tupperware type container with a translucent top, again making sure you soil is not too wet.
Place this container inside (near a window that gets sun at least 8 hours per day) or you can place them under an artificial light source, but in in a window sill don't let your potting material get too warm. Don't add more water unless the clear plastic no longer fogs up, but do not let your soil dry out. Crepe Myrtle seeds can be very slow to germinate and can take up to 30 days before sprouting. Light, slight moisture, and warmth are the keys to successful germination.
Once the seed germinates and is 2" tall you can remove the plastic baggie, or cover of your plastic container. Once 4" tall transplant to a larger pot and then in late spring acclimate your seedling by placing in in direct sunlight for a only couple of hours per day for about one week. We then leave our pots outside during summer and fall under some shade that only gets morning sun. You can read more here on our blog post about starting crepe myrtles from seed.
We usually put seed grown tree and shrubs into our garden in the fall after they have been in pots for at least 6 months.
As with most shrub and vine seeds they usually have a lower germination rate of below 50%.