Prolonging Crape Blooms

naFor hopefully only one last time, I find myself in a unique position of re-running an email tip that we sent out last year at this same time. And again, since we have three times as many subscribers as we did this time last year, I think it bears repeating. It's all about prolonging your crape myrtles blooming season.

I love Crape Myrtles, mainly because they bloom for about 3 months, but that still isn't long enough for some folks. So, for those people and the rest of you who would like to prolong your crape myrtle bloom season, this GardenLine email tip of the week is for you.

First, don't wait too much longer to do this, and keep in mind this process can be done anytime during June and July. The simple concept of extending the bloom cycle of Crape Myrtles is to get rid of the expired or expiring bloom clusters. Sounds pretty simple, eh?? Yep, there's a catch.

In order to get the best possible chance at a new flower cluster, you need to trim the stems that are more greenish in color. The more woody or brown the stem is, just under the bloom cluster, the less likely it will set a new bloom head for you. So, think selective pruning when you're trying to prolong this blooming season. There is one other caveat! You're supposed to prune back to where you notice new side-shoots emerging from a branch. If you don't see any, prune very long branches back about one-fourth or one-third; shorter branches prune less than that, and you will get branching as well as new buds forming. A new flush of flowers should follow.

Here's one helpful hint! After the pruning clinic on these crapes, try to boost the bloom-feeding quotient. Use a water-soluble bloom-booster such as Carl Pool's BR-61, Super Bloom, Super Thrive or even Miracle Gro.

By the way, there's a brand new society dedicated to our favorite flowering tree - the Crape Myrtle. They had their first meeting a couple of weeks ago in Bryan-College Station. Sorry we didn't get that information out then, but if you would like to join you still can! Just click on

Randy Lemmon is the host of the GardenLine radio program on Newsradio 740 KTRH. Randy has been doing GardenLine in one capacity or another since December of 1995, for all three of the now Clear Channel AM stations - KTRH, KPRC & KBME. When Randy took over GardenLine, he replaced long-time Houston radio veteran and GardenLine originator, Bill Zak. For those who remember that far back, GardenLine was a weekly radio staple on KTRH from 10 a.m. to Noon Mondays through Fridays - along with a Saturday show as well. Now GardenLine is heard exclusively on Newsradio 740 KTRH on weekend mornings.