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My 10-year-old crepe myrtle has yet to bloom. What to do?

Katherine Asked

I have a crepe myrtle that is over 10 years old and has yet to bloom. What do I need to do?

The Gardener’s Answer

Hi, Katherine: What does the overall health of the tree look like? Have you noticed anything other than lack of blooms? Crape Myrtles are available in various shapes and sizes and some are more disease resistant than others but they are all sun lovers. They require a minimum of 6 hours of direct sunlight daily. Lack of sunlight is a common reason that flowering plants don’t produce blooms. Another possibility is pruning at the wrong time.

What have your pruning practices been? If you are pruning after the new growth starts in the spring, you are removing potential flowers. The fact that it has survived for 10 years but has never bloomed it is likely an environmental issue. Nutrient levels can also be a possibility. Too much nitrogen(N) will cause leafy growth but prevent flowers and not enough phosphorous (P) and/or potassium (K) will have the same outcome in terms of flowering. If you have not had your soil tested recently, you can do this at your County Cooperative Extension Service.

The Rockcastle offices are located at 1050 West Main Street in Mount Vernon. The phone number is (606) 256-2403. The results will indicate if your soil needs any nutrient adjustment. Hopefully something here sounds like a possibility.

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