Help Crepe Myrtles Bloom Again This Summer

As your crepe myrtles finish blooming, and there is no color on the bloom stalk, remove the spent bloom at the base of the bloom cluster to promote new flower buds.

An example of additional buds forming for more flowers. Most of the time the second crop of blooms are smaller than the first flush.

At the same time you are pruning back spent blooms, check the base of the trunk and remove any foliage growth. If you can pull them off good; othewise, use clippers and cut as close to the stem as possible to remove the suckers.

With all the rain, many of our crepe myrtles are just coming into bloom or just finishing their summer show. No matter what stage yours are in, you can get a second set of blooms out of yours with a bit of effort. The trick is to simply remove the spent blossoms right below the bloom stem. That will foster new buds instead of fruit production. If you cannot do all of the finished blooms, even a few will produce more flowers and look good blooming again later in the summer.
At the same time be sure to remove all the suckers that are typical of the tree-form plants. If you can, jerk or pull off the branches (or suckers), and cut the rest as close to the trunk as you can. Sometimes you will need to scratch around the base of the trunk to find the source of the suckers.

Another thing I am constantly watching for are new shoots coming out of the trunk, especially where they were pruned this past winter. Remove any undesirable shoots the same way as the suckers. If the suckers on the branches are very young, I rub them off with a gloved hand.
Two flowering periods on crepe myrtles instead of one is a great summer flowering bonus.

John Floyd

John Floyd has been gardening--and learning about Birmingham area gardening--for more than 30 years. In addition to his day-to-day experience, John has degrees in horticulture from Auburn and Clemson Universities and was Editor-in-Chief of Southern Living.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *