Crapemyrtle – Severely Pruned, No Blooms

Q: Our driveway is lined with Carolina Beauty crepemyrtles but we have yet to see any beauty in them. We have pruned them in every way possible. Why can’t we get a bloom out of these trees?

A: I think the pruning is the problem. ‘Carolina Beauty’ is a strongly upright tree, growing to 20 feet or more. By cutting them back severely, the plant is forced each year to revert to its “growth mode” rather than its “flowering mode”.

If you leave them alone until they reach 20 feet, which will only take a few years. I predict they will bloom just fine.

A hint on pruning in the mean time: choose 2 – 3 upright shoots in each plant and remove everything else down to the ground. Let the vertical shoots become the main trunks of the crapemyrtles over the next two years. remove any side branches on the lower half of each trunk each spring. This should give you trunks near the ground that won’t interfere with cars passing by. Most of the branches then will be well above car roofs.

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