The Q&A Archives: Browning Leaves On A Crape Myrtle

Question: I recently bought and planted a Crape Myrtle. It is about 4 feet tall and is planted in a large clay pot. I have noticed lately that the tips of the leaves are turning brown. The plant gets full sun most of the day. What am I doing wrong? I do not want to kill it.

Answer: Plants in containers are especially susceptible to fertilizer burn and can suffer from both over- and under-watering. Leaf burn is a symptom of either to much fertilizer or water stress. Here are some steps you can take to avoid these problems: When you fertilize, use a half-strength dilution of liquid fertilizer and make sure the soil is completely moistened before applying the fertilizer. Feed only when your plant is actively growing (spring through summer) and feed at 2-3 week intervals. Water your plant thoroughly when the top inch of soil is dry, applying enough water to fully wet the entire root mass. Flood the container with water until water runs out of the drainage holes in the bottom of the pot. If air bubbles rise to the surface while you're flooding the container it indicates there are air pockets around the roots. Continue to flood the container with water until no more bubbles appear. If the weather is quite warm you may need to water every few days to keep the soil moist. As the weather cools you may only need to water every 7-10 days. Until you get a feel for how much water your plant needs, check the soil every few days and water as needed. Hope this information helps you help your plant regain its health!

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