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How to Get a Second Bloom Cycle on Crepe Myrtles

Updated on September 14, 2018
MariaMontgomery profile image

Maria is a Master Gardener and writer, and lives in central Florida.

A Young Crepe Myrtle in Second Bloom Cycle

This myrtle is on its 2nd bloom cycle. You can see many new buds that haven't yet opened.
This myrtle is on its 2nd bloom cycle. You can see many new buds that haven't yet opened. | Source

Yes! You Really Can Have Two Bloom Cycles on Crepe Myrtles

This is my one and only crepe myrtle, now in its 2nd bloom cycle. As you can see, there are still lots of buds still to open, and dazzle me with the huge flower-heads. Some years, the first bloom cycle lasts a month or more. Some years, they seem to go away far too soon. With minimal effort, this time can be stretched for your and your neighbors' enjoyment. Have you ever wished those gorgeous mophead-sized blooms would last a few weeks longer? Well, they can. All it takes is a little effort on your part to have beautiful blossoms for up to 2 months, maybe more.

Here's how to get a second bloom cycle: simply cut off the old bloom heads after they have finished blooming. At every cut, two or more new bloom heads filled with clusters of tiny flowers will emerge within just a few days. They will be just as large and full as the ones produced by the first bloom cycle of the season.

Remember, when cutting off the bloom heads, your are pruning your crepe myrtle trees. This will cause the limbs to branch at the point where you made the cut. Be sure to make a nice, clean cut, so there is no invitation to disease. You can see in this photo the two bloom heads now growing from the cut I made when I removed the spent one.

All of These Photos Were Taken on the Same Day in August 2014 - I removed the spent blooms. My neighbors didn't. My one and only myrtle is now in its 2nd bloom

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Why have this...Or this...When you can have this with little effort?  My myrtle in its 2nd bloom cycle.
Why have this...
Why have this...
Or this...
Or this...
When you can have this with little effort?  My myrtle in its 2nd bloom cycle.
When you can have this with little effort? My myrtle in its 2nd bloom cycle.
Fiskars PowerGear Pruner (7936)
Fiskars PowerGear Pruner (7936)

I've had lots of little pruners like these, but these are my favorite ones. I use them for almost everything in my garden.

 

Where to Cut

Source

Make your cut just past the old bloom heads, and just in front of the first or second leaf junction as shown in this photo.

The White Flowers of the Natchez Crepe Myrtle

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For More About Pruning Those Myrtles...

While cutting off those spent bloom heads, you can do some shaping, too. If you see any small limbs that have begun growing back toward the center of the tree, go ahead and remove them while they are small. Even if they are large, however, they need to be removed. Also, if any of the limbs rub against each other, one of them should be removed, as this will damage the bark on both of them. For more information about pruning your crepe myrtle trees, please see my related lens entitled, Proper Pruning of Crepe Myrtles.

Fiskars 18 Inch PowerGear Bypass Lopper (96256935J)
Fiskars 18 Inch PowerGear Bypass Lopper (96256935J)

When branches are too high for me to reach, I use these longer-handled pruners. I also use them on larger branches that are too thick for my little pruners shown above.

 

Here Comes the New Bloom Cycle - And You Get Twice as Many as Before!

Source

I just cut off my old bloom heads 7-10 days ago, and now I already have new bloom heads. Just as with any other type of pruning, two or more new shoots will appear at each cut. This one cut produced multiple new bloom heads that will burst open in just a few days. I can't wait to see them.

Source

Collect Seed From Your Myrtles and Grow Lots of These Lovely Trees

Do you want to grow more crepe myrtles? Just leave some of the spent bloom heads on your tree until they dry out. You can allow the seed to fall to the ground and sprout, or you can collect it and plant it elsewhere. You can also start the seed indoors for planting in the spring.

These are the seed pods that hold the seeds. I broke them off the trees a bit late, so the pods are mostly empty. Crepe myrtle seeds are hard little balls. Soaking them in water until they send out a tiny sprout will speed up the process. When planting them into the ground, they should be placed where they will not be stepped on. When they have grown larger, they can be moved to a permanent location.

Soon You Will Have Lots of Flowers Like These

Source

I really enjoy working with plants and trees, and trying to get them to perform for me. Doing things like getting a second bloom cycle on crepe myrtles are fun and challenging. Do you like to try to trick Mother Nature? Please share some of your tips and tricks. With your permission, I will share them on this page.

If you haven't tried getting a second bloom cycle on your myrtles, try it, and let me know how happy it made you. You don't have to be a member of Squidoo to leave a comment, so drop me a line to let me know you visited this page. Thank you for visiting.

© 2013 MariaMontgomery

Have you ever removed your spent blooms to get a 2nd bloom on your crepe myrtles?

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    • MariaMontgomery profile imageAUTHOR

      MariaMontgomery 

      3 years ago from Central Florida, USA

      @ bravewarrior, I'm so glad you commented on this article, because you had asked me where in central Florida where I live. I didn't want to say it publicly, and planned to try to e-mail you later, believing HP had a way for readers to contact its writers through HP. I couldn't find a "contact" button, then I couldn't remember where it was that you posted the question. I also couldn't remember your screen name -- duh! I will send you a Facebook friend request, then send a private message. It could be that we live close to each other

    • MariaMontgomery profile imageAUTHOR

      MariaMontgomery 

      3 years ago from Central Florida, USA

      You're very welcome. Thanks for your nice comment. See you around HP.

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 

      3 years ago from Central Florida

      I love my Crepe Myrtle. It has purple blooms, my favorite color. Many landscapers cut the trees back during the winter. They look ridiculous! I learned from gardening guru, Tom McCubbin, years ago that cutting the trees back is not necessary.

      When my tree has finished blooming, I remove the dried seed heads by hand. Once I do that, I get a new crop of buds.

      It never dawned on me that there are viable seeds inside those pods. Thanx for the info!

    • MariaMontgomery profile imageAUTHOR

      MariaMontgomery 

      4 years ago from Central Florida, USA

      @Nancy Hardin: Oh, I wish you did, too. I just cut the spent blooms on the lower branches a day or two ago, but need a ladder to do the others. My tree will soon be too large for me to do the upper ones. I guess next year I'll have a tree with a 2nd bloom cycle only on the bottom half. Won't that be strange-looking? Thanks for the squidlike and for your comment.

    • Nancy Hardin profile image

      Nancy Carol Brown Hardin 

      4 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

      I love Crepe Myrtles. Wish I had a gardener since I can no longer do those things. This is a great tip about getting them to bloom again. I always hated to see the blooms go away so quickly. Love this lens!

    • MariaMontgomery profile imageAUTHOR

      MariaMontgomery 

      5 years ago from Central Florida, USA

      @tracy-arizmendi: Thank you, and thanks for the squidlike and for commenting on this lens, too. Crepe murder is so very sad...

    • MariaMontgomery profile imageAUTHOR

      MariaMontgomery 

      5 years ago from Central Florida, USA

      @SusanDeppner: Isn't it wonderful when Mother Nature tricks plants into doing wonderful things like your's did? I'm looking forward to starting some from seed myself this year. Good luck with your.

    • tracy-arizmendi profile image

      Tracy Arizmendi 

      5 years ago from Northern Virginia

      Great tips!! I wish more folks knew how to prune their crepe myrtles here in Northern VA. I have witnessed many crepe myrtles that have fallen victim to "crepe murder" up here..

    • SusanDeppner profile image

      Susan Deppner 

      5 years ago from Arkansas USA

      I've never done this. In fact, this is the first year I've ever heard that you could cut off the old to welcome the new on crepe myrtles. It never occurred to me to dry out the seed heads, either. Must go check on our trees and consider doing that! We actually really had two blooming times this summer without cutting anything, just because the weather worked out perfectly for that. Bet the second would have been bigger and better had we pruned the first. Thanks for the helpful information!

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