Crepe Myrtle is not Blooming - Knowledgebase Question

Washington, Di
Avatar for jwgrayson
Question by jwgrayson
July 1, 2010
Three years ago we planted a Crepe Myrtle in our yard. It was blooming when we planted it, and continued to bloom throught the remainder of the summer. It has not produced a single flower since that first summer. The tree gets sun in the morning and the afternoon, but I would not put it in the category of strong sun. Should I replant the tree in a sunnier place in my yard?

Answer from NGA
July 1, 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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