Why Won't My Crepe Myrtle Bloom?

Right now, no one in the South cares about the meaning of life, sea level rise, or whether Beyonce will have another baby. (Yes.) All they want to know is how come my stupid crepe myrtle isn't blooming while all of my neighbor's are? There, there, don't pop an artery. Let Grumpy help.

There are four common reasons why a crepe myrtle doesn't bloom. Let's discuss.

Reason #1. You planted it in the shade. Crepe myrtle likes full sun. The more sun it gets, the more flowers you get.

Reason #2. The leaves and flower buds get covered with this fuzzy, white fungus called powdery mildew. Most crepe myrtles nowadays are mildew resistant, but old selections like 'Carolina Beauty' and 'Watermelon Red' aren't. Powdery mildew causes leaves to shrivel and flower buds to die. So before you buy, check the plant label to see if the selection you're considering resists mildew. If your crepe myrtle already has mildew, spray it according to label directions with either neem oil or Natria Disease Control, two natural fungicides you can get at garden centers. Next year, spray before it gets mildew.

Reason #3. Hot, dry weather. Long stretches of hot, dry weather can cause crepe myrtles to stop growing and go to sleep. They just sit there, waiting. I've seen my 'Miami' crepe myrtle fully loaded with flower buds that don't open for weeks waiting for the rain. Then we get a frog-strangler and voila! Blooms!

Reason #4. You are an evil person. Yes, you. Sometime in your past you did something absolutely horrible that you have yet to make right. You know exactly what I'm talking about. As a result, universal justice is now being visited upon you. And until you right that wrong, you won't ever see another stinking bloom on your crepe myrtle. The garden may be cruel, but it's fair. Repent! Atone! And stop complaining!

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