Home Improvement Expert Danny Lipford

Why Arent My Crape Myrtles Blooming

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Pink crape myrtle blooms in summer

Crape myrtle blooms in summer.

My crape myrtles have bloomed in the past but haven’t this year. The plants don’t show any signs of disease or distress. What could be wrong?

We don’t always know the reasons why plants bloom better some years than others. If you aren’t seeing any signs of disease or insect problem, finding the answer will require a bit of detective work.

Here are some of the most common reasons why crape myrtles don’t bloom:

  • Late Pruning: This is by far the most common reason for crape myrtle blooming problems. Crape myrtles should be pruned either after they finish blooming, or in very early spring before they sprout. Don’t prune them once they’ve started growing in spring, because those new shoots give rise to this year’s blooms.
  • Crape myrtle covered with purple blooms

    Blooming can depend on variety.

  • Lack of Sun: Crape myrtles like around 6-8 hours of uninterrupted sunshine each day. If your plants only get a half-day of sun, or if they get shaded by a larger tree at some point during the day, they might not bloom as much as you’d like.
  • Drought: If the summer has been extremely dry, your crape myrtles may have gone dormant. With irrigation, or rainfall, they may bloom a little later in the season than usual.
  • Too Cool: Crape myrtles are heat loving plants. If you’ve had a cool, wet summer, or if you’re growing them at the northern edge of their hardiness zone, they may not bloom as much as they would in warmer climates.
  • Too Much Nitrogen: An excess of nitrogen fertilizer can cause crape myrtles to produce lots of leaves, but not many blooms. This can happen when crape myrtles are planted in the middle of a lawn that gets frequent feedings. Reduce the amount of nitrogen during the growing season, and feed your crape myrtles in spring with a balanced, slow-release organic fertilizer.
  • Crape myrtle without blooms in shade

    Shade can prevent blooming.

  • Not Enough Growth: Crape myrtles bloom on new growth, so if your plant is stunted for whatever reason (including the reasons listed here), it might not bloom this year.
  • Plant Variety: Some types of crape myrtles are more prolific bloomers than others, and some varieties bloom earlier or later than others.
  • Insects or Disease: Even if you don’t see an obvious problem, there may be an insect or disease affecting your crape myrtle blooming. Aphids, for example, can cause reduced blooming; and if your tree is tall, you’ll have a hard time seeing them.
  • Poor Drainage: Improper drainage and soggy soil can cause crape myrtles to be stunted or bloom poorly. Improving the drainage, or cutting back on irrigation, might help.
  • Crape myrtle buds about to bloom on new growth

    Blooms occur on new growth.

  • Planted Low: Crape myrtles should be planted with the root ball exactly at soil level. If they were planted too deep, or if they’ve settled, the roots may not be getting enough oxygen and the plant may not be draining water properly.
  • Spring Damage: Even if your crape myrtle looks good now, something may have happened earlier in the spring – such as a late freeze, disease, or insects – to damage this year’s blooming shoots.
  • Overgrown Roots: If you’ve corrected every other problem and crape myrtle still doesn’t bloom, you might try root pruning as a last resort. This practice is usually used on older, overgrown plants to jump-start growth and blooming.

Julie

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6 Comments on “Why Arent My Crape Myrtles Blooming”

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  1. carol robinson Says:
    June 28th, 2012 at 8:48 pm

    I planted a dynamite crape myrtle 4/11/12 in my front yard that is about 7″tall.did all that was required as far as planting. the leaves were a nice dark green.but now the leaves are turning yellow,have brown curled up edigse, and falling off. the tree also had mildew on the leaves, so i sprayed it with a fungiside,this is when the leaves started turning yellow, could i have sprayed to much on the tree. it was a ready mix spray.so i did not over mix the spray. can you help me save my tree from loseing all the leaves,and how can i get the other leaves back to dark green the ones that are not yellow, but have turned lighter in color. HELP. Carol 301-832-8196

  2. Richard Binder Says:
    September 5th, 2012 at 7:05 pm

    My crepe myrtle is a little over 2 years old. It is a Dynamite crape and is about 7 ft tall. Last year I had some flowers on the tree. This year there is nothing. I noticed some of the leaves are brown yet there is new growth on the tree. I have not pruned it yet because of the size but plan to do it in the fall. The tree has full sun all year long and there are know other tree’s or plant near by. Could it be to much water or not enough.

  3. irene Says:
    April 5th, 2014 at 9:25 am

    my crape myrtles are not growing. They are he same size, when I bought them 5 years ago. The ta said they were to grow to 5 to 7 feet, but the tallest one is about 3 feet ad that I how I bought it. It took them 2 years to bloom. Last year we did a very heavy fertilizer every week and they bloomed very heavy.

  4. SANDRA TREVEAN Says:
    June 29th, 2014 at 1:52 pm

    I PLANTED CRAPE MYRTLE IN 2006, THEY GREW REALLY WELL, BLOOMED FOR 6 YEARS LIKE CRAZY,I PRUNED THEM 2 YEARS AGO, ABOUT A THIRD OF THE TOTAL HEIGHT. SENSE THEN THEY HAVENT BLOOMED!!!THEY HAVENT HAD ONE BUD ON ANY OF THEM. THEY TALLER THAN WHEN I PRUNED THEM,IM AFRAID TO PRUNE THEM AGAIN.THEY ARE AT THE TOP OF MY WINDOWS, AT LEAST 10′ TALL. PLEASE HELP.THANK YOU ST ADAMSVILLE, TN.

  5. michael Says:
    July 15th, 2014 at 7:20 pm

    Mr. Binder,
    Your problem with lack growth and blooming with the Dynamite may be what I had once. I was putting wood chips around them for mulch for years. Mine would not bloom well and the growth was ok but not as it should be. I stopped putting the wood chips around them and away they went. It was causing the PH to be too low. Try using a good balanced plant food and watch what you put around them for mulch and make sure whatever you use has not had herbicide sprayed on it. For water, do it when it needs it. If where you have it is low and wet, it would have to be standing in water all the time for it to be too much. I have 50 Crape Myrtles, 30 of witch are Whitcomb’s hybrids that include the Dynamite, Red Rocket and Firecracker. I live in USDA zone 7 in northwest Alabama and I guess I am lucky there, it is Crape Myrtle land.
    Good luck.

  6. dolores imes Says:
    July 23rd, 2014 at 6:48 pm

    I bought a crape myrtle bush in the spring and it had lots of leaves and red flowers. Now it has’nt grown any it gets leaves and then they turn brown and fall off. Yet the plant is not dead and i don’t know what i’m doing wrong. we live in peoria az. HELP!

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