Crape myrtles are highly prized for their beautiful crepe-like flowers that flower for months during summer and fall. So it can be frustrating when your crape myrtle doesn’t bloom on time. In this article, we’ll examine eight common reasons why your crape myrtle isn’t blooming.
Common Reasons Your Crape Myrtle Is Not Blooming:
Incorrect pruning is one of the most common reasons why your crape myrtle might not bloom. Crape myrtles produce flower buds on new growth. As such, pruning crape myrtles at the wrong time of year means that these flower buds may be accidentally removed.
Prune crape myrtles in fall once the flowers have finished or in late winter while the tree is still dormant. This allows you to lightly prune your crape myrtle to remove damaged branches and shape the plant. Pruning crape myrtles in February before new growth emerges is the best way to avoid cutting off developing flower buds.
Not Enough Sunlight
Crape myrtles thrive in full sun and need approximately six hours of direct sunlight daily. If your crape myrtle doesn’t get enough sun, it may not bloom at all. That’s why crape myrtles should never be planted in full shade.
Plant crape myrtles somewhere that get full sun during the morning. This protects the flowers and leaves from harsh afternoon sunlight. South or west-facing aspects are perfect for crape myrtles.
Not Enough Water
Crape myrtles prefer slightly moist soils, which means that they need a good amount of water. Water established crape myrtles once a week or so. Newly planted crape myrtles need more water to develop a sound root system. Water young crape myrtles once or twice weekly for the first two years.
Like all plants, crape myrtles need water to develop leaves and flowers. If your crape myrtle doesn’t get enough water, it’ll struggle to produce flowers and may also display signs of yellowing leaves.
Lack of Nutrients
If your crape myrtle isn’t getting enough nutrition, it may not produce flowers. Fertilize established crape myrtles once a year with slow-release fertilizers. Feed newly planted crape myrtles once a month in their first growing season.
The amount of nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K) that fertilizers contain is indicated by the NPK ratio. If the fertilizer contains too much nitrogen, your crape myrtle will produce lots of leaves at the expense of flowers. Use high-phosphorus fertilizers to produce more flowers.
Poor Soil Conditions
Although crape myrtles thrive in most types of soils, some soil conditions can hinder flower production. Crape myrtles need well-draining soils that still hold some moisture. The soil should also contain a good amount of nutrients.
If the soil doesn’t drain well, it’ll become waterlogged. This causes problems like root rot, which can damage your crape myrtle and prevent it from flowering. If the soil doesn’t contain enough nutrients, your crape myrtle won’t have the tools necessary to produce flowers.
Improve soil drainage and nutrition by mixing organic matter such as compost or leaf mold into the soil. If more drainage is needed, add some grit or sand.
Crape myrtles grow best in USDA Zones 6 to 9. As subtropical plants, crape myrtles prefer warm, humid conditions and mild winters. Crape myrtles may struggle to flower in climates that are too cold or too hot.
In colder areas, grow crape myrtles in pots. This allows you to protect them during the winter by wrapping the pot in fleece or bringing the plant indoors. In hot, dry climates, water crape myrtles more frequently so that they don’t dry out, as this impacts flower production.
Crape myrtles only begin flowering once they’re fully established. So if you recently planted a crape myrtle, it may take some time to flower. Most crape myrtles take three to five years to become fully established. Feed and water newly planted crape myrtles regularly to speed up the process.
Diseases and Pests
Diseases and pest infestations can prevent your crape myrtle from flowering. Common crape myrtle pests include aphids, Japanese beetles, and scale insects. Common crape myrtle diseases include leaf spot and powdery mildew.
Eliminate pests using horticultural oils, insecticidal soap, or organic pesticides. Most diseases can be prevented by growing your crape myrtle in good conditions.
Why is my Crape Myrtle Not Blooming FAQs:
What is the best time to fertilize a crape myrtle?
Fertilize crape myrtles in late winter or early spring before new growth appears.
How often should I water my crape myrtle?
Crape myrtles prefer well-draining soil and don’t like to be in soggy soil. Water deeply once a week during periods of drought.
Can crape myrtles bloom more than once a year?
Crape myrtles can bloom more than once yearly if appropriately pruned. After the first flush of blooms fades, deadhead the spent flowers and fertilize the plant to encourage new growth and another round of blooms.
Should I remove the seed heads from my crape myrtle?
Removing seed heads from crape myrtles is unnecessary for the plant’s health, but it can improve its appearance. Deadheading spent flowers and seed heads will encourage the plant to produce more blooms.
Crape myrtles may only flower if they get enough water, sunlight, or nutrition. Pruning crape myrtles incorrectly is the main reason why these plants fail to bloom. Prune crape myrtles in fall or late winter before new flower buds begin to grow to maximize their colorful spectacle.
For more, see our in-depth guide to 13 beautiful types of crape myrtle to grow in your garden.
Edd is a budding content writer and gardener living in the United Kingdom. He has a bachelor's degree in Creative and Professional Writing and has written for several gardening publications online. He is passionate about nature and sustainability with a focus on gardening and wildlife.
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