Why Arent My Crape Myrtles Blooming

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.


Further Information


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30 Comments on “Why Arent My Crape Myrtles Blooming”

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  • Official Comment:

    Thomas Boni Says:
    June 26th, 2019 at 8:45 am

    Hi, Mike,
    Great question! We recommend submitting it to our gardening expert on the Today’s Homeowner Radio Show.
    Please use this form to do that: https://www.todayshomeowner.com/radio/ask-questions/
    Take care!

  • Mike Orenstein Says:
    June 25th, 2019 at 5:36 pm

    Are Tonto Crepe Myrtles one of the last to flower in any given season. Seems like all the CMs with pink or white flowers have bloomed….not seeing any reds yet. And this is July 25. I’m seeing lots and lots of early buds. Plenty of sun from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. This is its 6th year, and late flowering seems to be the norm. Thanks!

  • Estee Says:
    April 4th, 2019 at 12:30 pm

    Good day thank you for all the good information that you have. But I seam to be having a problem with 4 of my 18 Crêpe myrtle, 14 of them already are full of green leaves, and the other 4 seams to still be dormant, are they dying? They all have been planted six years ago. Is there anything I could do other than fertilizing it wish I did a week ago but I’m still not seen any sign of life.

  • Bob Benzing Says:
    November 6th, 2018 at 7:09 am

    We moved to Ms. 4 years ago. I moved a mature crape from our back yard (shade area) to the front yard (full sun) 2 years ago and it blooms great ever since the move. I then moved another crape (same area as the other) to the front yard but has not bloomed after a year. It looks nice about the same age as the one that blooms no bugs, leaves look nice and about 12′ tall. What can I do to correct the crape that doesn’t bloom.
    ps…I never cut back my crape myrtles could this be the problems?

  • Official Comment:

    Thomas Boni Says:
    July 18th, 2018 at 2:22 pm

    Hi, Linda!

    Sorry to hear about your frustrations.

    Gardening questions can be tricky since the rules can change based on the region. We would suggest contacting your local Master Gardeners association.
    Master gardeners train on a range of topics so they can provide advice, at no charge, for people in their area.

    Thanks for your question, and good luck with that crepe myrtle!

  • Linda simmons Says:
    July 18th, 2018 at 10:00 am

    2 yrs ago I planted a crepe myrtle
    It’s suppose to be a tree
    I haven’t seen any signs of a tree trunk and this yr there are no leaves on the branches but new growth healthy and all from the middle only
    What the heck is going on
    Frustrated is an understatement

  • Reuben Johnson Says:
    July 16th, 2018 at 5:19 pm

    Planted a crepe myrtle this spring the leaves are turning brown

  • Alan Bishop Says:
    May 14th, 2018 at 5:14 pm

    My crepe myrtles have leafed out at the base but there is nothing any further up. What could the problem be?

  • Pbrowning Says:
    May 12th, 2018 at 9:55 am

    I planted a new crepe Myrtle last fall and it in now the middle of may and there are no leaves or buds of any kind. It looks dead. Should I dig it up or give it another season?

  • Joan scarbrough Says:
    August 17th, 2017 at 5:11 pm

    I have a crepe myrtle that was planted 3 summers ago and it still hasn’t bloomed

  • Angela Gordon Says:
    August 14th, 2017 at 6:31 pm

    Need help my crape myrtle does not bloom well and looks like leaves have bugs or something kinda like blotches on the leaves what can I do ?

  • roberta denham Says:
    July 22nd, 2017 at 1:33 pm

    My crape myrtle have been in ground for 30 years have never bloomed I’ve fertlized with miracle grow . I’ve more or less given up. They look healthy with nice leaves. Do you need a male tree?

  • Gregory Lance Says:
    July 12th, 2017 at 9:18 am

    I plant my crape myrtle last year, I had blooms last year, but no blooms this year, the plant looks healthy, but no blooms, can you help?

  • Bill Lowery Says:
    June 3rd, 2017 at 7:07 pm

    Have healthy 10 foot crapes, and they have not bloomed in the eight years we’ve been in the house. I mulch with pine needles. Could that prevent blooming? What would be a better mulch?

  • val carrier Says:
    April 10th, 2017 at 3:43 pm

    My mature Queen Crepe is loosing all its’ leaves and no new ones. It should have new leaves and even some buds by now. It appears as if it is dying. Nothing changed. What’s up. It was a gorgeous 25+ ft purple tree
    when in bloom.

  • Andrea Friedman Says:
    August 2nd, 2016 at 12:40 pm

    Last summer I planted my first clumping crape myrtle tree – pruned it end of season – this summer – no blooms – assuming I overpruned – will it ever bloom again?

  • patti brown Says:
    September 6th, 2015 at 9:05 pm

    What is the best fertlizer? The leaves are falling off and not many flowers.

  • Official Comment:

    Ben Erickson Says:
    August 26th, 2015 at 5:10 pm

    If some of the branches on your crape myrtles are dead, you should prune off the dead limbs. You can find out more in our article on How and When to Prune Crape Myrtles at http://www.todayshomeowner.com/how-and-when-to-prune-crape-myrtles/

  • Nancy Reese Says:
    August 26th, 2015 at 1:08 pm

    We have had 4 crapemyrtles for 25+years, have been wonderful,my husband made them like a tree, keeps bottom pruned away I guess, but I do not remember him pruning them but maybe only once. They are just the most wonderful shrub I can think of. Well this year they are blooming pretty but there is a lot of dead branches above the blooms. Our neighbor tells us we are not to prune myrtles, so I won’t let my husband cut on them. But the dead does not look nice and we did have a very cold winter, and we thought that they were dead until late August. They are blooming, but not so pretty with all those dead branches above the blooms. Please help me, do not know what to do and these are my favorite shrubs. Do I have to listen to the radio or tv show or might I hear from you?
    Thanks, Nancy

  • Betty Harringtin Says:
    July 24th, 2015 at 9:26 am

    Have a large Natchez crape myrtle tree planted two years ago. First year there were a few blooms and second year there are no blooms at all. After reading your article about possible reasons that crape myrtles don’t bloom, we have decided that our problem is the result of planting it too low. Due the size of the tree…about 15 feet tall, it would be difficult to re-plant this tree again. We have removed as much soil around the tree to expose the large roots at the base of the trunk. The tree was planted with a “moat” of soil at the base instead of the root ball being planted level with the ground. We purchased the tree from a nursey and they planted it for us. My question is: how would you advise us to proceed….hopefully we will have many blooms next year… When should I fertilizer the tree and what fertilizer do you recommend?

  • JJ Says:
    July 2nd, 2015 at 10:56 pm

    I bought a crepe myrtle that 2 years ago, had it in a pot and it bloomed while in the pot. I took it out of the pot and planted it in my front yard, which gets sun almost constantly, and it is very long and scraggly looking. It has large leaves but no balloons at all. Could you help me out with this?

  • Donna Hinkle Says:
    June 22nd, 2015 at 2:27 pm

    Can I plant gardenias between a row of crape myrtles? What type of fertilizer should I use on each or can the same fertilizer be used for both?

  • ROSIE Says:
    August 30th, 2014 at 9:28 pm

    I just had a local nursery gardener plant a large crepe myrtle tree in my yard 3 weeks ago in Brandywine MD. It has been very hot the last 3 weeks and not much rain. I watered the tree well the first 2 weeks, but did not water it well the third week since I am at work all day. The tree was very beautiful when it was first planted and had flowers. Now it is dead. The tree turned black and all the leaves have fallen off. There is minimum mulch around the tree. Any ideas? Does it need more water? I doubt it has root rot since it has not rained very much the last few weeks. Will the tree bloom again? what should I do?

  • Ron McDaniel Says:
    August 4th, 2014 at 9:58 pm

    7 Crape myrtles planted about 8or9years ago. They have never bloomed. I had a so-called expert for two years he accomplished nothing. They have grown about 10 feet tall. They have lots of branches and very green leaves. They look healthy. They might have 2or3 blooms on each tree. I have azaleas as a hedge around the trees, bout 4 feet tall. The azaleas are doing fine and bloom each year. Can send a picture if you would like. Thanks.

  • 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!

  • 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.

    June 29th, 2014 at 1:52 pm


  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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

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Why Arent My Crape Myrtles Blooming