I'm growing a crepe myrtle to eventually make a Bonsai out of it. I've had to spray it against powdery mildew few months ago. Now it seems like I'm doing something wrong again as the leaf are curly and twisted, and the tips are burning.

The only thing I did was giving it a very small amount of fertilizer every week. Could that be the cause or is it something else?

Is my soil is lacking nutriment? It's the same soil as 1 year ago. How can I save it or quickly react to it? Because it's dying very fast since 3-4 days.


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1 Answer 1


Shoot, there are things one should do to prevent powdery mildew...such as fans blowing 24/7, spraying with 9:1 water/milk solution. You've got more going on than powdery mildew. Looks like too high of salts in your soil from tap water, fertilizers and perhaps a virus. The leaves are distorted and crinkly.

What a gorgeous plant for a Bonsai. I am seeing that there should have been a few tip prunings that have not happened.

Stop fertilizing. Cut this fertilizer stuff by half or even 3/4. Hopefully this soil is potting soil, yes? The branch from the main stem that goes to the right should be the top of this plant. Cut back to just above that branch without leaving a stub. Cut off these distorted leaves and their branches. Get a fan going. You should be working on root pruning by now and that doesn't mean just wacking off roots.

Your plant still looks very viable, hopefully this isn't a virus, just fertilizer out of balance. Too much fertilizer is worse than too little. Always remember that. This looks like a good product but I always cut fertilizer directions in half because I can always tell what is too much, what is too little and the plant tells me these things.

Growing and cultivating a Bonsai is like the top of all gardening skills. Completely artificial. You are completely in charge of this plant's life. Very rewarding and educational if one can keep that plant healthy or very discouraging if the plant dies.

Stop using tap water. A huge source of toxins and salts. Get bottled or distilled water without fluoride. Use rain water if you are able to collect. Not saying our rain water doesn't have problems but better than tap water.

And most importantly, sign up for a hands on Bonsai class by someone who knows this art! No book or internet can teach you these things. This is such a beautiful start for a Bonsai! If you fail, try not to be so bummed out that you resign from the plant world! The Japanese took thousands of years to perfect this art so don't think you could ever be successful without classes by a master.

All of our landscapes, gardens, potted plants are completely artificial. That puts the onus on us to learn the entire bunch of systems involved to include chemistry, hydrology, pruning, basic botany, light energy, photosynthesis, soils...on and on and on.

Look up a class by a real master of Bonsai. That is the only way you'll ever be able to keep a Bonsai alive as well as appreciate what that Bonsai is teaching you.

  • Thank you for your really complete answer! :) yes it was potting soil. I should prune the root already? I read someplace that this must be done late fall or spring. Also, it's a good time to cute the main trunk in half just above that branch that goes to the right? I just wanna make sure before moving forward! Ill see if I can find a bonsai courses here soon :)
    – Jaythaking
    Commented Jul 24, 2017 at 23:15
  • Yes, I think you understood what I was saying. Your plant is not a Bonsai as yet. You need to be aware of watering...when it is a true Bonsai it will be in a pot without drain holes! And you will be watering every day!. You will have the correct amount of roots to the top growth and the roots will be using up the water too quickly for fungus to become a problem. But this plant has a long ways to go. I am thrilled you will be looking for a Bonsai course! Talk about blasting off into becoming a gardener!! Wait until you've got a class before pruning roots! You've got the perfect subject.
    – stormy
    Commented Jul 24, 2017 at 23:20
  • Just hope this plant doesn't have a fatal disease...keep it healthy and find a class! Use alcohol on your pruners before cutting a single bit of this plant! Please, stay in touch! People give Bonsai for gifts. Almost worse than giving someone a pet. Be nice to have someone learning about Bonsai and documenting your experience!
    – stormy
    Commented Jul 24, 2017 at 23:23
  • +1 for "Stop fertilizing. Cut this fertilizer stuff by half or even 3/4."
    – user16651
    Commented Jul 27, 2017 at 17:52
  • @stormy I want to thank you Stormy, I didn't had the chance to take Bonsai class as it start next year. I'm surely gonna subscribe this fall to it. In the meantime I prune my plant and wire it and I water it with bottle water now... It gave it a second life, buds are starting everywhere and It never look that great. I added a picture of the little guy at the bottom of my post. :)
    – Jaythaking
    Commented Aug 4, 2017 at 12:31

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