Why Do Crapemyrtles Not Bloom?

Crapemyrtles are not flowering because they have no leaves. They don’t need any leaves since their roots grow through the soil. There are many varieties of crepe myrtle but most of them don’t bloom at all or only occasionally. Some of them bloom once every few years.

So why does crepe myrtle not flower?

The reason is because the plant doesn’t produce seeds. Seeds are very important for plants to reproduce themselves. Without seeds, there would be no way for a plant to survive without any other kind of food source like water or sunlight. Without these two things, it’s impossible for a plant to live long enough to become a tree.

Creeping Crepe Myrtle (Myrtle)

Creeping crepe myrtle is another type of crepe myrtle. These types of myrtles are usually found near streams or ponds where they hang around in the water. If you look closely, you will see little white flowers hanging from the stems. But what makes creeping crepe myrtle different than other kinds of crepe myrtles is that its leaves never open up completely. If the leaves were to open up completely, it would be as if the plant was underwater for too long and it would eventually drown and die.

This is why creeping crepe myrtle has its leaves partially closed off. The other reason is for protection from predators which might eat the leaves along with the flowers. It’s always a good idea to keep an eye out for potential predators when you are growing any kind of plant.

Green and Brown Creeping Crepe Myrtles (Myrtle)

Green and brown creeping crepe myrtle is a type of crepe myrtle that has leaves that are partially green and brown. This is a very rare type of crepe myrtle but they do exist. The reason why the leaves are green in color is because it gets enough sunlight on a regular basis. The brown crepe myrtle gets very little sunlight and therefore its leaves turn brown in order to better survive.

Creeping Crepe Myrtles as Houseplants

Most people like the look of creeping crepe myrtle and so they often times grow it as a houseplant. If you want to grow a healthy houseplant, it’s important that you know the kind of lighting that it needs in order to survive. If you don’t provide the right lighting, you will kill the plant.

Creeping crepe myrtle also thrives under certain conditions. For example, most of the time you want to keep the soil on the moist side but not too wet. It’s always a good idea to check it every day or two in order to see if it needs water. Creeping crepe myrtle also needs to be kept in a place where there is good airflow.

As long as you take good care of your creeping crepe myrtle, you should have no problem growing this houseplant. Make sure you provide it with enough sunlight and airflow and keep the soil damp most of the time. You can also use a fertilizer once in a while but not too much. Fertilizers contain certain chemicals that may or may not be good for the plant. Be careful when using fertilizers.

Leaf Roller (Insect)

The leaf roller is a type of moth that eats the leaves of creeping crepe myrtle. If you notice that there are big round leaves on your creeping crepe myrtle, then there is a good chance that you have a leaf roller in your garden. The big round leaves are actually the caterpillar’s cocoon and it is eating away at your creeping crepe myrtle. It can completely destroy your plant in just a few weeks.

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The leaf roller doesn’t really fly around like other types of moths. The only time they leave their leaf cocoon is to mate and lay eggs. That’s why you might not notice that you have a leaf roller in your garden until it’s too late. You might see big round leaves suddenly popping up on your creeping crepe myrtle.

The good thing about the leaf roller is that it only attacks creeping crepe myrtle. You don’t have to worry about it destroying any other plants in your garden. The bad thing is that you will have to get rid of it before it kills all of your creeping crepe myrtles.

Insecticidal Soap

The first thing that you can do to get rid of the leaf roller is to spray the creeping crepe myrtle leaves with insecticidal soap. This is specially formulated to kill off any type of soft bodied insect such as a moth or butterfly. It works particularly well on the leaf roller. You’ll need to spray every couple of days in order to completely get rid of the leaf roller and its eggs.

Beneficial Insects

You can also attract predatory types of insects that naturally kill the leaf roller. One type is the wasp. They are very good at controlling the leaf roller population and don’t attack other types of insects. You can buy these online or at your local nursery. You can also make your own insect hotel by drilling holes into an old log and putting it in your garden.

Wasps like to build their nests in these types of places.

Another type of insect that feeds on the leaf roller is the birds. You can attract birds to your garden by planting certain seeds and fruits that they like to eat. Most types of birds will feast on leaf rollers if they are around.

Lighting

Another way that you can get rid of the leaf roller is to increase the amount of sunlight in your garden. The leaf roller doesn’t like direct sunlight and will stay away from it. If you have creeping crepe myrtle planted under large trees, move them to a new location where they will receive more sunlight.

Neem Oil

Finally, you can spray the leaves of your creeping crepe myrtle with neem oil. This is a natural product that will kill off any insects that come in contact with it. It is also safe for the environment and won’t harm animals or humans. You can buy a bottle of it online or at your local garden center.

Destroying the Cocoon

If you don’t want to get rid of the leaf roller, you can always destroy its cocoon before it hatches. The leaf rollers pupae is located at the bottom of the big round leaves. Just pick up the leaf and throw it away.

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You can also remove the whole plant from your garden and take it some place away from your other plants. It’s important to keep in mind that the leaf roller is only going to eat your creeping crepe myrtle and not anything else in your garden.

Prevention

The best way to avoid having to deal with the leaf roller is to not let it get to that point in the first place. Here are a few tips that will help you do that:

Plant your creeping crepe myrtle in an area of your garden that receives a lot of sunlight. Leaf rollers don’t like to be in the full sun so they won’t attack your plant if it is under a bright sun light.

Put your creeping crepe myrtle in a pot and add gravel to the bottom of it. Leaf rollers won’t be able to build their nests in the gravel.

Purchase a small tree baler and place the creeping crepe myrtle inside of it. There are special wraps that will keep the plant from getting any sunlight. This will prevent the leaf roller from attacking it.

Predators

Leaf rollers have several predators. Birds are one of their biggest enemies and will feast on the leaf rollers themselves as well as their eggs. Wasps are also a leaf roller predator. They will sting and paralyze the insect and take it back to its nest to feed to its young. If you want to get rid of the leaf rollers in your garden, buy some wasp nests and place them around your garden.

Interesting Facts

A female leaf roller only needs to mate once in her life in order to produce many eggs, which is unusual for a moth. The adult will then lay their eggs on the leaves of plants and then roll them into a neat package to keep them safe until they are ready to hatch.

There is a type of moth that actually mimics the leaf roller in order to protect itself from predators. It is often referred to as the “impostor” moth and has evolved to look exactly like the leaf roller. It is even in the same color scheme. This helps protect it from its predators because they don’t know which one to attack.

The leaf roller is the state insect of South Australia.

Sources & references used in this article:

First Report of Natural Infection of Watermelon mosaic virus on Lagerstroemia indica in China by X Wu, X Cheng, W Li – Plant Disease, 2018 – Am Phytopath Society

Host specificity and environmental impact of two leaf beetles (Galerucella calmariensis and G. pusilla) for biological control of purple loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria) by B Blossey, D Schroeder, SD Hight, RA Malecki – Weed Science, 1994 – JSTOR

Antioxidant effect of Lagerstroemia speciosa Pers (Banaba) leaf extract in streptozotocin-induced diabetic mice by SM Saumya, PM Basha – 2011 – nopr.niscair.res.in

Chlorophyll fluorescence and leaf-air temperature difference as potential shade-tolerance indexes of ornamental plants by CW Wu, TS Ke, YJ Chang… – Advanced Science …, 2013 – ingentaconnect.com

Transpiration by crape myrtle cultivars surrounded by mulch, soil, and turfgrass surfaces by JM Zajicek, JL Heilman – HortScience, 1991 – journals.ashs.org

Extraction of leaf biophysical attributes based on a computer graphic-based algorithm using terrestrial laser scanning data by Q Xu, L Cao, L Xue, B Chen, F An, T Yun – Remote Sensing, 2019 – mdpi.com

Diversity of leaf phenology in a tropical deciduous forest in India by CP Kushwaha, KP Singh – Journal of Tropical Ecology, 2005 – JSTOR

Label-free comparative proteomic and physiological analysis provides insight into leaf color variation of the golden-yellow leaf mutant of Lagerstroemia indica by S Li, S Wang, P Wang, L Gao, R Yang, Y Li – Journal of Proteomics, 2020 – Elsevier

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