Question of the Week — Why Hasn’t My Crepe Myrtle Bloomed?

August 30, 2012 | By | Comments (10)
Crepe Myrtle

Grumpy’s ‘Miami’ crepe myrtle. Photo by Steve Bender.

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Q: My crepe myrtle bloomed great last year. But this year, it hardly has any blooms at all, even though it looks healthy. Why? Bo Dacious

A: Bo, chalk it up to the extremely hot, dry summer that many of us have suffered through this year. Crepe myrtle is tough, but blooming takes a lot of energy. When temps rise above 100 degrees and not a drop of rain falls for weeks, the tree goes into survival mode and just sits there. However, once the heat scales back and you get a soaking rain, it quickly responds with flower buds and flowers. This is what happened to Grumpy’s crepe myrtle. It usually starts blooming in June, but this year waited until August, which was cooler and rainier than usual. Now it’s absolutely beautiful and blooming more heavily than ever before.

COMMENTS

  1. Steve Bender

    Bdiddle,
    I think the problem is that the crepe myrtles were dug from the field. I always prefer container-grown plants, because there is much less risk of transplanting shock. Assuming your plants get plenty of sun and the soil is decent, they should recover and start blooming again. You don’t need to continue fertilizing.

    March 20, 2013 at 2:59 pm
  2. Bdiddle

    We had12 crepes planted 2 years ago. All about 10′ tall with 5-10 trunks each about 2-3″ in diameter. They were flowering when we looked at them in the ground at the tree farm. The farmer waited some months to dig and install around october our house. Here’s the problem; n maybe 10 blooms on all trees combined last summer. What are we doing wrong. We have drop irrigation on each tree. And have fertilized w 10-10-10. Several times a year. Suggestions?

    March 18, 2013 at 8:00 am
  3. Julia

    Thank you!

    September 26, 2012 at 8:47 pm
  4. Steve Bender

    Julia,
    I think you can transplant the crepe myrtle, but you’ll have to do some serious pruning first to get it to a manageable size. Before digging, wrap the main trunks with cord and pull and tie them close together to make the move easier. Dig as big a root ball as you can. Wrap it in burlap so that it doesn’t break apart. Then water the root ball. Water again after transplanting. Good luck!

    September 26, 2012 at 11:27 am
  5. Julia

    I have a crepe myrtle that is near to 30 years old that I would like to transplant. It was originally rooted from a crepe myrtle from my grandparents house. My Mom not being as sentimental as I am wants to just cut it down. She is having it cut down Oct. 3rd unless I can get it out before then. It hasn’t been pruned and been allowed to grow naturally. Not sure the type but it has dark pink flowers. I’m located in Georgia and so is the tree. It is on the corner of the house and driveway about 3-4 ft from both on 2 sides. I need help to see what the best way to try to transplant it would be. How big to dig around it? Watering requirements. Also, If you think the chance of survival is slim is there anyway to cut a piece of root and try to get a new one to grow even in an inside nursery? I have to try to save this tree as it’s all I have left of my grandparents. Thanks in advance for your advice.

    September 25, 2012 at 12:31 pm
  6. Steve Bender

    Jo,
    Yes, you can. Make sure the seeds are mature — don’t pick them while they’re green. Keep in mind that that seedlings will take several years to grow big enough to flower.

    September 14, 2012 at 7:38 am
  7. Jo Formino

    My Naked Ladies just finished blooming. Can I plant the seed pods that still remain on the plants where the flowers were? Will I get more Naked Ladies from them? Jo Formino from Southern California – TheForminos@Verizon.net. Thank you. You are one of the reasons I subscribe to Southern Living magazine.

    September 11, 2012 at 9:49 pm
  8. Steve Bender

    Sue,
    You are wise beyond words.

    September 4, 2012 at 10:18 am
  9. Patricia Driesbach

    I, too, have the same situation with my myrtles not blooming well last year and this summer….very hot both summers but monsoons here around Mobile Bay in July. They look fine except for the lack of those gorgeous blooms. Maybe next year!

    August 31, 2012 at 9:05 am
  10. Sue Schwartz

    Thank you, Grumpy, for using the word crepe instead of crape…I have never understood why people used the “A” when what it resembles is “E”.

    August 30, 2012 at 8:18 am

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