3 Causes Crepe Myrtle Leaves Turning Red [Troubleshooting]

Are your crepe myrtle leaves turning red and dropping leaves? Well, this can be a concerning matter for you. 

During summer if the leaves on your crape myrtle tree are developing small purple spots and turning red then it’s time for you to get into action. And before that, you need to know the exact reasons to treat them properly.

There are 3 major reasons why your crepe myrtle leaves are turning red. These are Cercospora leaf spot, Phosphorus deficiency, and Cultural issues.

Keep reading to find out how to get rid of the red leaves on your beautiful crepe myrtles before they start injuring the blooms. 

So, Let’s get started-

Why Are The Crepe Myrtle Leaves Turning Red?

1.Cercospora Leaf Spot

Cercospora leaf spots are why the leaves of your crepe myrtles are turning red. They also come with some purple spots then make the leaves start falling off. But it’s just not only red. Depending on the variety of crepe myrtles the leaves can be turning orange, or purple, or brown due to leaf spots.

It is a fungal disease. The fungal spores spread from water splash during warm and wet weather. Young Crepe myrtles that are in humid areas with little airflow are very susceptible.

When Cercospora leaf spots severely infect the crepe myrtles you will see all the leaves are turning red and falling off and your beautiful buds aren’t blooming at all.

Control Measure

This fungal problem can re-appear every summer. So, it’s better to apply a protective fungicide spray to control this disease. Treat your crepe myrtles with the best copper-based fungicide (Our Pick: Bonide Copper Fungicide)

Start treating with fungicides in the early summer when the symptoms appear. Follow the product label for instructions. Retreat your crepe myrtles with the fungicide every two weeks. 

Remove the spotted leaves and discard them safely in the garbage.

Try these very effective and practical homemade remedies to get rid of the Cercospora leaf spot from your crepe myrtles.

# Recipe 1:- Homemade Fungal Spray Recipe


  • 5 teaspoons of baking soda
  • 3 teaspoons of mild liquid soap
  • 5 liter of water


  • Mix the baking soda with water and then add the liquid dish soap
  • Spray thoroughly on your crepe myrtle leaves.

# Recipe 2:-Milk Spray Recipe


  • 1 liter of sour milk 
  • 1 liter of water 


  • Mix milk and water very well
  • Always use it as an instant mixture 
  • Spray it twice a week on your crepe myrtles until the problem is solved.

#Recipe 3:-Apple Cider Vinegar Spray Recipe


  • 3 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar 
  • a gallon of water
  • Few drops of liquid dish soap


  • Mix the ingredients very well and spray on the spotted leaves of your crepe myrtle twice a week.

Note: While using these homemade recipes be sure to try them on a small area first. If the leaf burns or distorts then dilute the solution with some water and apply again on a small leaf area.

Preventive Measure

Cercospora leaf spot spreads in humid and wet conditions. Overhead watering can encourage this fungal problem. It’s best to water your crepe myrtle in the early morning hours. In this way, the leaves will have enough time to dry out. It’s better to water at the base of the plant.

Thin out the branches before the blooming period to provide a better airflow.

Keep your plant well-nourished with nutrients. It will help them cope with the leaf spot better.

Plant Cercospora resistant varieties like Apalachee,”Fantasy,’ ‘Glendora White,’ ‘Miami,’ ‘Osage,’ ‘Tuscarora,’ ‘Tuskegee, etc.

2.Phosphorus Deficiency of Crepe Myrtle

Phosphorus deficiency can turn the leaf purple. Young crepe myrtles are more likely to fall victim to this deficiency. The plant also gets stunted. The blooming will also get reduced a lot.

Control Measure

Apply the best all-purpose and slow-release shrub fertilizer to your crepe myrtles. (our pick: Nelson Plant FoodCrape Myrtle & All Flowering Trees)

To get your crepe myrtle an instant dose of phosphorus you can try Bone meal.

You can make a homemade phosphorus fertilizer just from banana peels. Here’s how:

#Recipe 1:- Banana Peel Tea Recipe 


  • 3 Banana peels
  • 500 ml of water


  • Soak the banana peel in the water for a few days
  • After a few days get the peels out and put them in the compost bin
  • Use the rest of the water and pour it into the base of your crepe myrtles. It is a very good source of phosphorus.

3.Cultural Issues

Improper watering interrupts the movement of phosphorus. Overwatering and underwatering both can be turning the leaves of your crepe myrtles red.

Even bark injuries due to heavy pruning can cause purple and red leaves on your crepe myrtles. Poor soil drainage and cold soil often produce red and purple spots on the leaves.

Control Measure

Water your crepe myrtles correctly. You can get a moisture meter that will help them to water the right amount (our pick: Atree Soil Soil Tester Kits with Moisture, Light, and PH Test for Garden)

Make sure your plants are in well-drained soil. Improve the soil drainage by adding organic mulches like leaves and well-decomposed manure.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Do crepe myrtles leaves change color?

The crape myrtles are deciduous trees. So, during early winter the green leaves change their colors and turn orange, red, and yellow. Eventually, they fall off. But the spring brings lots of new green leaves and blooms.

What color is Tuscarora crape myrtle?

The Tuscarora Crape Myrtle is a variety that produces clusters of dark pink flowers. Each cluster contains hundreds of pink flowers.

The Tuscarora variety is a very tall tree. And it is adapted to a wide range of soil types.

What is the lifespan of a crepe myrtle tree?

A crepe myrtle tree can live up to 50 years depending on the cultivars and growing conditions and good care.


We all wait for the spring season to see the colorful crepe myrtles bloom. But when the Crepe myrtle green leaves start turning red just before the blooming period you cannot just sit and watch.

Apply fungicide and prevent your crepe myrtles from getting Cercospora leaf spots and get them the right amount of fertilizer. Water them just the right amount and provide good air circulation. Your crepe myrtles will just be fine. And you will be getting lots of pretty blooms

I hope this article helped you solve this red leaf situation on your crepe myrtles. For any further questions drop a comment and we’ll get back to you.

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