Quick tips to keep your Crepe Myrtle blooming.

You can still have the beautiful cluster of crepe myrtle blooms without an immense tree covering your yard. Instead of the ‘Natchez' crepe myrtle, which can grow 30-35 feet tall, plant a smaller selection that doesn't grow very big. That way you will have a tree of manageable size that can be pruned every year in the proper method, and you won't be tempted to commit crepe murder. Candidates: 'Acoma' (white flowers, 6-10 feet tall), 'Early Bird' (white or purple, 6-8 feet), 'Siren Red' (dark red, 8-10 feet tall), 'Velma's Royal Delight' (rich purple, 4-6 feet), 'Zuni' (lavender, 6-10 feet), 'Pink Velour' (neon pink, 10-12 feet), and 'Tonto' (red, 10-12 feet).
Southern Living

Once crepe myrtles have bloomed and shed their flowers, they will set seed. The small round seedpods or capsules usually weigh the limbs down, making them sag. Using a sharp pair of clippers or hedge trimmers, cut off the seedpods. New shoots with buds will quickly appear, and you will get a second bloom.

Sometimes people are hesitant to remove seedpods because they think the round capsules are flowerbuds. This is not so. The seedpods are larger than the flowerbuds and extremely hard.

If temperatures stay warm into the fall and you continue to remove spent flowers, you may even get a third or fourth bloom out of your crepe myrtles.

"Crepe Myrtle Pruning Tips" is from the June 2002 issue of Southern Living.