Commonly known as the lilac-of-the-South, the crepe myrtle is a mainstay of Southern summers. With its brilliant, season-long blooms and magnificent hues, it’s no wonder they have become a mainstay in gardens. To maintain the crepe myrtles in your own backyard, you’ll want to take note of a few critical crepe myrtle care tips.
What to Watch Out For
While the crepe myrtle has laid-back Southern charm, it still has its fair share of troubles. Often the problems will present in a lack of flowering. This can be caused by a variety of factors such as poor soil drainage, not enough sun, excess fertilizer, or root damage. Crepe myrtles are also often the victim of powdery mildew, which can cause disfiguration and disrupt growth. This particular mildew is fought with plenty of sunlight and wind flow to keep the plant dry.
Keeping Pests Away
If your crepe myrtle has become host to aphids, you might notice sooty, prematurely dropping leaves. The surgery spit of aphids causes black mold to grow which is the cause of this problem. Luckily, the solution is relatively simple. You can spray for aphids, apply an insecticide, or simply give your crepe myrtle a quick rinse with soapy then clean water to wash off the mold.
Trimming And Shaping
While some crepe myrtle purists may shake their heads at the thought of pruning this flowering shrub, a good trim can help create the look you want. Because the shrubs can grow into bonafide trees (reaching 30 or more feet in height), it’s important to take your ideal image into account. If you want a smaller accent plant, you may need to look for smaller varieties. Some grow in naturally rounded shapes while others create a more vase-like outline.
Once the flowers have bloomed for the season, the plant will produce its small seed balls. Depending on the local weather patterns, you might be able to induce a second bloom by trimming off these seeds to stimulate new growth. While these plants can grow in colder climates, they may need a little more attention and may not care to put out the second round of blossoms.
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