Your beautiful Crepe Myrtles aren’t blooming? There is nothing more frustrating than seeing others crepe myrtles blooming but yours are not!
A healthy Crepe myrtle will definitely bloom. However, when it’s having some issues the blooming may not happen at all. Don’t worry if they are not blooming right now. There are many reasons for it. But the good thing is, you are about to figure out how to make your crepe myrtles bloom.
Here are the 7 most common causes why your crepe myrtles won’t bloom- Late Pruning, Overdose of Nitrogen, Insect Attack, Fungal Disease, Lack of Sunlight, Soil & Water Stress, and Different Crepe Myrtle Varieties.
In this article, I am going to explain all the possible reasons why crepe myrtle is not flowering with their solutions.
So, let’s fire away-
7 Reasons For Crepe Myrtle Not Blooming
1. Late Pruning
The most common reason for crepe myrtles not blooming is untimely pruning. Right pruning can make lots of blooms. But wrong pruning will make no blooms at all.
Crepe myrtles flower on new wood. This means they grow on the new branches in spring. The best time to trim them is during late winter or early in the spring.
As we know newly grown shoots produce blooms. Do not trim them once they have started growing. They can also be lightly pruned after they finish blooming.
Never practice “crepe murder”. I mean, Do not top them heavily. If you top them entirely the vegetative production will increase. But there will be no flowering.
Again, if you prune very heavily the branches will not be mature enough to hold blooms.
But before you start trimming, you have to know the exact blooming time.
So when does crepe myrtle bloom?
Crepe myrtles basically bloom in the summer season. Usually between the month of May to early June. And the blooming period continues for 90-120 days depending on the variety.
2. Too Much Nitrogen
Too much nitrogen in the soil will produce lots of leaves in crepe myrtle, but not many blooms. In the first year, Nitrogen is very important for plant growth.
But if you continue to provide too much nitrogen during the growing season your crepe myrtles will not be blooming in the second year. Reduce the amount of nitrogen during the growing season.
Poor nutrition is also the reason why they are not blooming. If they lack potassium and phosphorus they bloom very little.
To ensure blooming you need to apply a balanced, slow-release, and all-purpose fertilizer. (our pick: Nelson Plant FoodCrape Myrtle & All Flowering Trees)
Crepe Myrtles are heavy feeders. Lightly fertilize them in summer and spring every 3 weeks. But stop feeding them during winter.
3. Insect on Crepe Myrtles
Aphids and scale are the two most obvious reasons why your crepe myrtles are not blooming. When the tree is tall it is hard to notice these insects.
Aphids bring sooty mold disease too. So, look for black spots and wrinkled leaves on your crepe myrtle tree. Scales are found on the barks mainly(More about the Bark Scales on Crepe Myrtles). These two insects damage the buds and result in poor blooming.
These bugs need to be killed as soon as possible to ensure the flower blooming. Get your crepe myrtles the best insecticide that chemically won’t affect the flower buds (our pick: Bonide (BND611) – Annual Tree and Shrub Insect Control)
Try these homemade neem oil and horticultural oil recipes to control them naturally-
#Recipe 1:- Horticultural Oil Recipe
- 5 tablespoons of liquid dish soap
- 1 liter of any cooking oil like olive oil or vegetable oil.
- Mix the soap and oil very well in a mixing bowl
- Store the mixture in a bottle.
- Add 5 tablespoons of this mixture with every liter of water and pour it into the sprayer.
- Spray with the help of a battery-operated sprayer if the tree is tall.
#Recipe 2:- Neem Oil Recipe
- 5 tablespoons of neem oil
- 2 gallons of water
- Mix the ingredients and spray it on your crepe myrtles every week.
4. Fungal Diseases of Crepe Myrtle
Crepe myrtles are highly susceptible to powdery mildew and black sooty mold. Powdery mildew damages the flower buds severely. And sooty mold coats the leaves with black spots and they start falling off. Eventually, it results in no blooming in spring.
Transplanted Crepe myrtles fall victim to mildew very much if it doesn’t get enough sunlight and air.
Get rid of the infected leaves if possible to stop the further disease from spreading. Keep your pruning shears clean and disinfected before making any cuts. Make sure the tree is getting enough air circulation and bright sunlight.
You can also try these two homemade recipes below. But if the tree is very tall then I recommend sticking with the store-bought fungicide.
# Recipe 1:- Baking Soda Spray Recipe
- 4 teaspoons of baking soda
- Few drops of liquid soap
- 1 gallon of water
- Mix the ingredients well and spray with a strong stream of hose.
#Recipe 2:- Vinegar Spray Recipe
- 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar
- 2 liters of water
- Few drops of liquid soap
- Mix the ingredients very well and spray.
5. Lack of Sunlight & Heat
Crepe myrtles need 6-8 hours of sunlight every day. Without enough sunlight, the flowers will not be blooming.
Crepe myrtles are heat-loving trees. They prefer temperatures above 80 F. So, If the weather in your area is cool then the blooming will be less. Frost can also set back your crepe myrtle blooms. But if the plant is healthy then it will bloom later.
Since shade can prevent blooming the best thing is to plant them in a sunny area. If they are shaded by any trees or buildings the blooming will keep reducing. Eventually, they won’t bloom at all.
You cannot do much about the temperature. Just after the frost is gone feed your crepe myrtles with a balanced amount of fertilizer and water. It should help to promote new growth. Cold shock can delay the blooming for up to 2-4 weeks. In that case, you have to wait patiently to see the blooms.
6. Soil & Water
Crepe myrtles like constantly moist but well-drained soil. But if it is too dry or soggy then the tree goes dormant. They get stunted and bloom very little in the season.
Crepe myrtle loves acidic soil of a 5 – 6.5 pH scale. If they are not blooming you should check the pH.
To get the best blooms you need to water them correctly. Get a moisture meter to give the exact amount of water they need (Our pick: Atree Soil Soil Tester Kits with Moisture, Light, and PH Test for Garden)
When the soil is alkaline the blooming will not be good. After checking the pH you need to add some acidic fertilizer to amend the soil.
Improve the soil drainage. While transplanting crepe myrtles, place the roots just below the soil level. Do not plant very deep. Because the crepe myrtles cannot uptake water properly if the roots go very deep.
Crepe myrtles have lots of varieties. Some of them bloom more, some less. Even the time of blooming changes with variety. Bloom time can vary by 6-8 weeks depending on the variety.
Muskogee crepe myrtles are the easiest for flowering among all the varieties.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
When Do Crepe Myrtles Bud?
Crepe myrtles usually start budding in spring. But depending on the varieties some may bud in early summer.
Do Crepe Myrtles Bloom Twice A Year?
Many varieties can bloom twice a year. But for that, you have to remove the dying blooms at the right time. This will encourage new bloom later in the year.
Do All Crepe Myrtles Bloom At The Same Time?
No. Depending on the variety, they bloom at different times. For example, Natchez crepe myrtles bloom in the spring. While black diamond crepe myrtle blooms in the summer.
Do Crape Myrtles Bloom All Summer?
Not all of them. But the variety of lavender crepe myrtle and Muskogee crepe myrtle blooms all summer.
Do crepe myrtles bloom on old or new wood?
Crepe myrtles only grow on new wood. The more new wood the more bloom. This is why old wood is trimmed to encourage the growth of new wood.
Can You Trim Crepe Myrtles After They Bloom?
Yes, you can. But it is best to trim them before they bloom so that new wood can have more flowers.
Which crepe myrtle blooms longest?
These four varieties are seen to bloom the longest – Purple crepe myrtle, Natchez crepe myrtles, Muskogee crepe myrtle, and lavender crepe myrtle.
At What Age Do Crepe Myrtles Bloom?
They take about 5-10 years to mature depending on the variety. After maturity, the crepe myrtles start to bloom. But the time of maturity varies with their types. For example, the dwarf crepe myrtles mature a bit later than Muskogee varieties.
In this writing, I have tried to explain all the reasons why crepe myrtles are not blooming. Do not give up on them. Because Crepe myrtles are very resilient plants.
Get the right pruning done and allow your crepes to spread and branch. Fertilize with the right nutrients and take care of the diseases and pests. You are definitely going to have fabulous blooms in the summer.
I hope this information helped you fix the blooming problem on your beautiful crepe myrtles.