Q: I read your Feb. 15 article in the Tribune and wondered whether you have a theory on why my crape myrtle did not bloom last year. It is fairly new and bloomed the first year but not the second year. I have done nothing to it other than watering it when it was first planted. It looked healthy last blooming season but never bloomed.
Answer: I found a great article from Louisiana State University’s Agriculture Center that lists eight reasons why a crape myrtle may not be blooming. The list includes the following:
♦ Shade: They need eight hours of direct sun each day to bloom proficiently.
♦ Variety: Some don’t flower as much as others.
♦ Pests: Aphid infestations can decrease blooming.
♦ Excessive fertilizer: This can eliminate or delay blooming.
♦ Leaf spot: Fungus reduces blooming and health/growth.
♦ Wet soil: They need well-drained soil moisture.
♦ New growth: This is needed in spring for summer blooms.
♦ Improper pruning: Pruning after new spring growth may delay summer blooms.
For information on this topic, read the article “Here’s why crape myrtles may not bloom” by LSU Ag Center Horticulturists Dan Gill, Kyle Huffstickler and Allen Owings at www.lsuagcenter.com/news_archive/2012/june/news_you_can_use/Heres-why-crape-myrtles-may-not-bloom.htm.
Lynn Barber is the Florida Yards and Neighborhoods agent at Hillsborough Extension.. Reach her at [email protected]