Crape Myrtle

Crape myrtle is a fast-growing, small to medium-sized, deciduous tree that produces large, colorful flowers over a long period from midsummer to fall. The foliage is attractive in fall and the textured bark provides winter interest. Another common name is southern lilac.

About This Plant

Crape myrtle is a handsome tree that does best in warm summer areas. Flower colors include pink, red, purple, and white, depending on the variety. Most grow 15 to 25 feet tall and wide, with some shorter varieties growing only 3 to 5 feet tall. Dwarf varieties can be grown in containers.

Special Features

Four-season interest

Site Selection

Select a site with full sun and well-drained soil.


Apply a layer of compost under the tree each spring, spreading it out to the dripline (the area under the outermost branches). Add a 2-inch layer of mulch to retain moisture and control weeds, keeping mulch a few inches away from the tree trunk. Water plants during the summer if rainfall is less than 1 inch per week. Flowers are produced on new wood, so prune back weak, spindly growth in spring to encourage better flowering. Prune off dead, diseased, and broken branches anytime.

« Return to the Plant Care Guides Home Page