The Q&A Archives: Crepe Myrtle Blooms Poorly

Question: We purchased a crepe myrtle a year ago. It bloomed beautifully with many flowers. This spring it was very late in starting to sprout leaves and we feared it had died over the cold winter. But in mid-May, it started to sprout. It has gotten quite large this season, but the problem is that we had only one flower on the entire bush. I kept waiting to get more flowers, but none came. I believe the season for its blooming is now over. What's the problem?

Answer: Crepe myrtle normally leafs out very late in the spring, especially in colder winter areas. It blooms on the new growth of the season, so the later it starts into growth, the later it will begin to bloom. A new plant may take a year or two to become fully established and as a result may not bloom as well as it might at first. Another reason you might see poor blooming is pruning at the wrong time; the plant should only be pruned in early spring to remove winter kill and possibly to shape it. Pruning in summer will remove blooming wood. Yet another reason is poor siting. This plant needs full sun to bloom well and, in northern areas, a protected location out of winter wind can also be helpful.

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