Fertilizer for Crepe Myrtle: 5 Best Options + Full Guide

In order to fully display its beauty, the crepe myrtle, a popular garden flower, may often require some assistance due to its vibrant summer blooms and striking winter bark.

One crucial aspect of crepe myrtle care is proper fertilization. Navigating the world of fertilizers can be a bit overwhelming with all the different types, nutrient ratios, and application methods, but it doesn’t have to be.

The best time to fertilize your crepe myrtle is in early spring just as the new growth is starting. This provides the tree with the necessary nutrients to support vigorous growth and abundant flowering throughout the season. A second lighter application can be made in early summer if needed.

In the following sections, you’ll learn about the nutritional needs of crepe myrtles and the different types of fertilizers, and we’ll provide recommendations for the best crepe myrtle fertilizers on the market.

We’ll also discuss organic fertilizer options and common fertilization mistakes to avoid.

Key Takeaways

  • Crepe myrtles require a balance of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, which can be provided through fertilization.
  • Consider the nutrient content, type of fertilizer (granular, liquid, slow-release, spikes), and ease of application when choosing a fertilizer.
  • Fertilize in early spring, follow the instructions on the packaging, apply evenly around the base of the tree, and water thoroughly after application.
  • Excellent choices include: Carl Pool Crepe Myrtle Plant Food, Nelson Crepe Myrtle Fertilizer, and TreeHelp Premium Fertilizer

Why guess when it comes to caring for your crepe myrtle? Learn all the guidelines in my comprehensive article, Crepe Myrtle Care and Maintenance, and grow your tree with confidence.

Understanding the Nutritional Needs of Crepe Myrtles

Crepe myrtles, like all plants, require certain nutrients to thrive. Understanding these needs is the first step in choosing the right fertilizer.

Key Nutrients Required for Crepe Myrtles

Crepe myrtles require a range of nutrients, but the most important are nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K).

Nitrogen promotes healthy leaf and stem growth, phosphorus supports root development and flowering, and potassium enhances overall plant health and disease resistance.

These nutrients are often lacking in sufficient quantities in the soil, hence the need for fertilization.

Signs of Nutrient Deficiencies in Crepe Myrtles

Nutrient deficiencies can manifest in various ways. Yellowing leaves (chlorosis) can indicate a lack of nitrogen.

Poor flowering can be a sign of phosphorus deficiency, while weak stems and poor disease resistance can suggest a lack of potassium. If you notice these signs, it may be time to fertilize.

Soil Testing

Before applying fertilizer, it’s a good idea to conduct a soil test. This will tell you the pH of your soil and the levels of various nutrients.

Crepe myrtles prefer slightly acidic to neutral soil (pH 5.5 to 7.5). A soil test can guide you in selecting the right fertilizer and help prevent overfertilization.

Choosing the Right Fertilizer for Crepe Myrtles

Choosing the right fertilizer can make a significant difference in the health and appearance of your crepe myrtle.

Different Types of Fertilizers Available

There are several types of fertilizers available, including granular, liquid, slow-release, and spikes.

Granular and liquid fertilizers are quick acting, while slow-release fertilizers and spikes provide nutrients over a longer period.

Understanding Fertilizer Labels and Nutrient Ratios

Fertilizer labels show the ratio of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium (N-P-K ratio).

For example, a fertilizer with an N-P-K ratio of 10-10-10 contains 10% each of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. Crepe myrtles generally do well with a balanced fertilizer, but a soil test can help refine your choice.

What To Look For

When choosing a fertilizer for your crepe myrtle, look for one that provides a balance of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium.

If your soil test shows a deficiency in a particular nutrient, choose a fertilizer with a higher percentage of that nutrient. Also, consider the type of fertilizer that will be easiest for you to apply.

You could opt to use a fertilizer specifically designed for crepe myrtles if you prefer. The best choices are discussed below.

Pretty light-purple flowers of a crepe myrtle on a dark background.

Best Crepe Myrtle Fertilizer

Choosing the right fertilizer for your crepe myrtle can significantly enhance its growth and blooming. Here are some top-rated fertilizers that are well-suited for crepe myrtles:

Carl Pool Crepe Myrtle Plant Food

Carl Pool Crepe Myrtle Plant Food (8-55-7), 24oz

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This specially formulated slow-release plant food is designed to provide crepe myrtles with the nutrients they need for vigorous growth and abundant blooms.

This water-soluble blend also includes essential micronutrients like copper, iron, and magnesium to prevent deficiencies and is highly recommended for outstanding blooms.

Nelson Crepe Myrtle Fertilizer

NutriStar Crape Myrtle Granular Fertilizer 10-15-9 (2 lbs)

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Nelson’s Crepe Myrtle Fertilizer is another excellent choice. It has a unique nutrient ratio designed to promote vibrant blooms and healthy growth in crepe myrtles.

It’s a granular, slow-release fertilizer, making it easy to apply and providing long-lasting nutrition.

TreeHelp Premium Fertilizer for Crape Myrtle

TreeHelp Premium Fertilizer for Crapemyrtle
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TreeHelp Premium Fertilizer is a slow-release granular fertilizer specifically formulated for crepe myrtles. It contains a blend of all the necessary nutrients to support healthy growth and flowering.

Scotts Evergreen Flowering Tree & Shrub

Scotts Evergreen Flowering Tree Food (3lbs)

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While not specifically for crepe myrtles, this fertilizer from Scotts works well for all flowering trees and shrubs. It’s a slow-release formula that feeds your plants for up to 2 months and is guaranteed not to burn.

Jobe’s Fertilizer Spikes

Jobe's Fertilizer Spikes for Trees and Shrub, 9-Pack

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Jobe’s Fertilizer Spikes are a convenient option for fertilizing crepe myrtles. The spikes are driven into the ground around the tree, slowly releasing nutrients directly to the roots.

When and How To Fertilize Crepe Myrtles

Fertilizing your crepe myrtle correctly is just as important as choosing the right fertilizer. Here’s a detailed guide:

  • When to Fertilize: The best time to fertilize crepe myrtles is in early spring just as new growth begins. This provides the tree with the nutrients it needs for the growing season. A lighter application can be given in early summer.
  • How Much to Use: Follow the instructions on your chosen fertilizer’s packaging for the correct amount. Overfertilizing can lead to excessive leafy growth at the expense of blooms and can also burn the roots.
  • How to Apply: For granular fertilizers, spread the fertilizer evenly around the base of the tree, starting a few inches from the trunk and extending out to the drip line. Avoid letting the fertilizer come into contact with the trunk. For fertilizer spikes, drive them into the ground around the drip line.
  • Watering In: After applying the fertilizer, water the area thoroughly to help the fertilizer penetrate the soil and reach the roots.
  • Monitoring: Keep an eye on your tree after fertilizing. If you notice any signs of nutrient burn, such as yellowing or wilting leaves, you may have overdone it. In this case, water the tree thoroughly to help flush out excess fertilizer.

Organic Fertilizer Options for Crepe Myrtles

While synthetic fertilizers are effective, organic fertilizers can be a great alternative. They not only provide nutrients but also improve soil structure and promote beneficial soil microbes.

Benefits of Using Organic Fertilizers

Organic fertilizers offer several benefits. They release nutrients slowly, reducing the risk of nutrient burn. They also improve soil structure, increasing its ability to hold water and nutrients.

Additionally, organic fertilizers are environmentally friendly, derived from renewable resources, and less likely to contribute to water pollution.

Examples of Organic Fertilizers Suitable for Crepe Myrtles

There are many types of organic fertilizers suitable for crepe myrtles. Compost and well-rotted manure are excellent options that provide a wide range of nutrients.

Bone meal is high in phosphorus, promoting root development and flowering. Blood meal is a good source of nitrogen for leafy growth, and greensand provides potassium for overall plant health.

Tips for Incorporating Organic Fertilizers Into the Soil

Incorporating organic fertilizers into the soil is straightforward. Simply spread the fertilizer on the soil surface around the base of the tree, then lightly rake it into the top layer of soil.

As with synthetic fertilizers, avoid contact with the trunk, and extend out to the drip line. Water thoroughly after application.

Common Fertilization Mistakes To Avoid

Fertilization can greatly benefit your crepe myrtle, but mistakes can be harmful.

  • Avoid over-fertilization, which can lead to excessive leafy growth and nutrient burn.
  • Always follow the instructions on your fertilizer’s packaging.
  • Avoid fertilizing late in the season as this can stimulate new growth that may not harden off before winter.

In Summary

Fertilizing your crepe Myrtle is a key aspect of its care. With the right fertilizer and proper application, you can support your tree’s growth, promote abundant blooms, and maintain its overall health.

Whether you choose a synthetic or organic fertilizer, your Crepe Myrtle will surely thank you for the extra nutrition.

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