Crapemyrtle Tree Care Tips:
* Crepe Myrtle Trees need light and shade. They like bright sunlight but they do well with some indirect sun too.
Shade will make them feel better. You can place a small piece of cardboard or other material over their pot so it blocks out most of the direct sunlight from hitting their leaves.
* If your crepe myrtle tree does get too hot during the summertime, you can put it in a cool location such as under a large rock or even inside a box. Be sure to keep it moist at all times!
* Make sure your crepe myrtle tree gets plenty of water every day. Do not let it dry up completely though because if its dried out, then its going to die.
* When watering your crepe myrtle tree, use a spray bottle. Spray the top half of the leaves only.
Don’t worry about getting into the roots of the tree since they don’t drink much anyway. Then rinse off with fresh water and repeat until you’re done watering.
* Never ever ever ever EVER give your crepe myrtle tree any kind of pesticide or herbicide products. These things kill everything!
Ever! Believe it or not.
Stop using broad-spectrum pesticides or herbicides because they kill everything. This means no weed-and-feed, edging products, or anything else that says its for killing weeds and grass.
Let me say it again: DO NOT USE ANYTHING THAT WILL KILL EVERYTHING!
Fertilizing Your Crepe Myrtles
* Do not use any kind of chemical fertilizer on your crepe myrtle. This will burn the roots and kill the plant.
Honestly, this plant doesn’t even need to be fed because it isn’t going to eat very much at all. If you feel the need to fertilize it, use a special slow-release fertilizer that’s for flower beds only and follow the instructions on how and when to apply it.
* Some gardeners swear by compost tea. It doesn’t contain any chemicals and it has nutrients which help your plants grow better.
You don’t need to apply it every day, just mix up a batch and keep it in a closed container so the beneficial bacteria doesn’t fly away. Then spray your plants with it every week or so.
* Some gardeners also swear by fish emulsion. It’s even better than compost tea because it has more nutrients in it.
Just follow the instructions on the bottle for how often to use it and how much.
* You can also use bone-meal. It’s an organic fertilizer that’s very good at helping your plants grow bigger and stronger.
It helps especially with flowers and flowering shrubs. Follow the instructions on the package for how to apply it.
When To Fertilize Which Crepe Myrtle
The best time to fertilize your bare-root crepe myrtle is right after you plant it. You can use any of the methods listed above.
If you’re in a hurry to get it planted, then use the fish or bone-meal. They work fast.
The best time to fertilize your potted crepe myrtle is also right after you plant it. That way it has the whole summer to grow and develop a strong root system.
It can get a good start on blooming for the next season while it’s growing. The plant doesn’t need to be fed again until right before the following spring.
Do not fertilize your crepe myrtle in the summer! This is when it’s growing and if you feed it then, it will just grow a lot of leaves instead of blooms.
You can also prune your crepe myrtle lightly anytime. This helps it to grow bushier and more full.
Crepe myrtles like to be pruned, just like any other plant!
Plant Care For Your Crepe Myrtles
Where you plant your crepe myrtle is very important. They do best in at least half-day sunlight, but they will survive in less, especially if they’re young.
They also like to be planted in soil that isn’t very fertile. They need well-draining soil that isn’t too loose (like sand) or too dense (like clay).
Most gardeners mulch around their crepe myrtle. This keeps weeds from growing, holds the moisture in the soil so it doesn’t dry out, and helps keep the root system protected.
If you do this, don’t use grass clippings, they’ll actually “feed” on the nitrogen in the clipping and grow stronger. Shredded bark works well.
Don’t over-water your crepe myrtle. Like most flowers and shrubs, they like wet soil but hate being water-logged.
If you live in an area that has hard water, get some anti-chlorine drops for your hose so it doesn’t damage the plant’s leaves.
Fertilize your crepe myrtle every two months or so. Use the types of fertilizer that are organically-based and not ones that have a lot of nitrogen.
Nitrogen makes plants grow leaves and stems, not flowers.
How To Prune Your Crepe Myrtles
Most gardeners trim their crepe myrtle to keep it smaller than it naturally would grown. If you let it grow naturally, it’ll eventually get about 20 feet tall and 30 feet wide.
If you keep it pruned down to about 6 feet tall and 3 feet wide, it’s easier to care for and still looks great.
Prune crepe myrtle right after they bloom. This will promote more branching and blooming for the next year.
You can also prune them to any shape you want. Just cut off any limbs or twigs that seem dead or that are growing inward toward the center of the plant.
Do not cut crepe myrtle back to stumps. They don’t heal over like many types of trees do.
Just shorten them back to the nearest “side knob.” These are the little bumps that are on the sides of the stems. They’re usually at each side where a branch is attached. These knobs are the beginning of new limbs so by pruning them, you’ll get more branching.
No matter how hardy and easy to grow crepe myrtles are, they can still get diseases and bugs. If you notice your crepe myrtle is looking sick, check it over and clip off any dead or browned parts.
Then, spray the entire plant with an organic anti-transpirant. This will keep bugs away and give it a nice, healthy coat of defense.
To prevent disease in the first place, always make sure you’re using quality soil and watering it properly. Also, don’t over-fertilize.
Use fertilizer specifically made for acid-loving plants in crepe myrtles because it has less nitrogen and more phosphorous. This will help the myrtle to grow more blooms rather than lush green leaves.
If you do happen to find bugs infesting your crepe myrtle, there are a couple of organic ways you can get rid of them. First, you can clip off affected branches and either throw them away or dip the cut ends in boiling water to kill any bugs that might be in there.
Second, you can get an insecticidal soap spray to help wipe out the bugs.
As long as you don’t over-water it or give it too much nitrogen, your crepe myrtle will bloom beautifully every year. They make a wonderful addition to any type of garden.
If you have other types of plants, get some crepe myrtles to add to the landscape!
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Sources & references used in this article:
Management of fertilizers and water for ornamental plants in urban landscapes: Current practices and impacts on water resources in Florida by AL Shober, GC Denny, TK Broschat – HortTechnology, 2010 – journals.ashs.org
Crape myrtle culture by GW Knox – 2000 – University of Florida Cooperative …
Fall fertilization and cold hardiness in landscape trees by GL Wade, J Williams-Woodward – 2009 – athenaeum.libs.uga.edu
Crape myrtle post-transplant growth as affected by nitrogen nutrition during nursery production by ET Smiley, AM Shirazi – Journal of Arboriculture, 2003 – researchgate.net
Use of crape myrtle, Lagerstroemia (Myrtales: Lythraceae), cultivars as a pollen source by native and non-native bees (Hymenoptera: Apidae) in Quincy, Florida by RI Cabrera, DR Devereaux – Journal of the American society for …, 1999 – journals.ashs.org