Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Question on Crape Myrtles


We moved into a newly built home in Delaware in the summer of 2006. The landscaper planted a white (acoma) crape myrtle in the front that is about 7ft tall. There has only been one stem that flowered during each of the 2 summers we have been here. Everyone else in the neighborhood had trees full of blooms but us. Can you please tell me why ours isn’t blooming and every other tree in the neighborhood is??? I only pruned it once in Fall 2006 and even then I only took a couple of inches off of the stems. I pruned it thinking that I would get more blooms this past summer but that did not happen. Instead, new leaves started growing sometime in late July or August. Can you please tell me how to get some blooms out of this tree? I love it and would really like it to bloom.

Please help.


Smyrna, DE

Anne's Response:

Crape Myrtles bloom on new wood so they can be pruned in early March if there are stems that must be removed. I prefer not to prune unless there are limbs that are damaged or rubbing against other limbs. The plants need at least 6 hours of sun. They do not really like to be fertilized and they would prefer not being watered – especially after the first of August. The plants can be hurt by a late freeze so if there are dead leaves on a stem after a freeze you can tip prune to promote new growth. If new leaves were just breaking in late July and August I would suspect freeze damage.

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