blooming crepe myrtle - Knowledgebase Question

palatka, Fl
Avatar for whit3696
Question by whit3696
June 30, 2010
I planted a grown crepe myrtle in my yard a few years ago. It took root well and has grown and done well. It has not bloomed properly thought. We cut back some trees which we understood would keep it from blooming because of shade. Well still this spring and summer all crepe myrtles in our area are blooming just fine except for guess whos? What should I do? Does it need some kind of fert?

Answer from NGA
June 30, 2010
The most common reason for crepe myrtles (Lagerstroemia indica)to bloom less is a lack of vigorous new growth. The reasoning here is that the plants bloom on new wood of the season and if growing conditions are poor and they are stressed, they will also bloom less. Although drought tolerant and not too fussy in general, a plant grown in a season with good rainfall and a soil that is adequately supplied with nutrients will yield better blooms than a plant growing through a droughty summer in impoverished soil. Improper pruning will also reduce blooming. Any pruning should be done in the very early spring. Pruning later in the season will remove flowering wood for that year. If you cut the plant back very hard each spring, it will produce larger flowers but probably fewer of them in overall number. It is not strictly necessary to prune each spring except to remove any dead wood and crossing branches, and then perhaps to optimize shape. Make sure it has adequate fertility but do not overfertilize it, for instance if you fertilized it in addition to regularly fertilizing an adjacent lawn. This would encourage foliage and vegetative growth at the expense of blooms. They also bloom better if adequately watered. (This would be especially important with a new plant for the first few years.) Finally, full sun is really needed for crepe myrtle to bloom its best. If these other issues don?t seem to be a factor for your myrtle, you might try moving it to a full sun location. Good luck!

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