How to Get a Second Bloom Cycle on Crepe Myrtles
A Young Crepe Myrtle in Second Bloom Cycle
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 bloomClick thumbnail to view full-size
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
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
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.
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!
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.
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
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