Ask a Question forum: New leaves on dwarf crape myrtle curling

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Name: Steve Arnold
CA (Zone 10a)
doodah46
Mar 14, 2017 2:37 PM CST
I have a small dwarf crape myrtle that I potted 2 years ago. It is kind of scraggly but I was hoping that once it "took" it would start improving. It is now coming out of dormancy. Many of the new leaves are curling up and many buds on the plant are extremely small. I live in the Southern California desert and by the time July rolls around I shade it with an umbrella. My real concern is why the brand new leaves are curling up.
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Name: Dave Whitinger
Jacksonville, Texas (Zone 8b)
Region: Texas Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Permaculture Raises cows
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dave
Mar 14, 2017 3:04 PM CST

Garden.org Admin

We had a thread about this last summer that you should check out. I think your answer is there.

The thread "crape myrtle's leaves curling" in Ask a Question forum
Name: Steve Arnold
CA (Zone 10a)
doodah46
Mar 15, 2017 7:59 PM CST
Thanks Dave,
I read through that entire thread and it appeared to be in reference to full size crape myrtles planted in the ground. And apparently they were planted too close to a wall or building. Didn't seem to apply to my situation.
Name: Dave Whitinger
Jacksonville, Texas (Zone 8b)
Region: Texas Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Permaculture Raises cows
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dave
Mar 15, 2017 8:03 PM CST

Garden.org Admin

If that potting soil is 2 years old, I would refresh it by repotting it into entirely new fresh potting soil. I would go so far as remove all the old potting soil and hose off the roots of the plant before putting it back in. I'd probably also do quite a bit of selective pruning to remove some of the growth to prompt it to make new branches.
Name: Steve Arnold
CA (Zone 10a)
doodah46
Mar 15, 2017 8:06 PM CST
Thanks for the quick reply. I can do that but is it safe now that the plant is no longer dormant?
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
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DaisyI
Mar 15, 2017 8:07 PM CST
No, actually, it does apply. A potted plant in the desert. The roots are being cooked.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

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Name: Steve Arnold
CA (Zone 10a)
doodah46
Mar 15, 2017 8:10 PM CST
It's not that hot right now and the new leaves are just opening up.
Name: Dave Whitinger
Jacksonville, Texas (Zone 8b)
Region: Texas Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Permaculture Raises cows
Beekeeper Vermiculture Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages Plant Identifier Avid Green Pages Reviewer
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dave
Mar 15, 2017 8:17 PM CST

Garden.org Admin

I would do the repotting right away. But that's just me.

The fact that it's out of dormancy is one reason why I suggest a light trimming afterwards, to help it recover. After you repot it, give it plenty of water so that it flows through the hole (you do have good drainage in that pot, I assume!)
Name: Steve Arnold
CA (Zone 10a)
doodah46
Mar 15, 2017 9:44 PM CST
Thanks Dave,

I'll give it a try. Probably half the soil in the pot has been in the pot with other plants. I have used Miracle Grow and Bayer systemic fertilizer and pest control for trees and shrubs. I will try your suggestion and let you know how things turn out.

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