Crepe Myrtle Tree: How To ID Crepe Myrtle, Pics, Care Tips, Growing Zones

Woman with a shovel bends over looking at a crepe myrtle tree (crepe myrtle tree) after learning how to grow crepe myrtle and reading a crepe Mrytle pruning guide that including planting and growing zones for crape myrtle gardening care tips.

If you’re thinking about planting a Crape Myrtle or Crepe Myrtle tree to bring a dashing ambiance to your backyard, it’s a great choice.

The Crape Myrtle or Crepe Myrtle also known as Lagerstroemia indica, is an ornamental tree that can grow pink flowers, purple flowers, and more.

This versatile and picture-perfect tree can be grown as a dwarf size, shrubs, and hedges, so deciding what works for your small backyard really depends on your preference and needs.

But besides adding beauty to your yard, planting this wood tree will also help you do your part in mitigating the effects of global warming.

You will find that the amount of greenhouse gasses that your new crape myrtle can absorb in its leaves, bark, and roots will vary. However, with the help of a carbon offset calculator, you may know how much your new Lagerstroemia indica tree can purify your immediate environment.

So, if you’re deciding which Crepe Myrtle tree (or Crape Myrtle tree) to plant, this complete guide explains everything you need to know about growing this ornamental tree and making sure that it flourishes for years to come.

Crepe Myrtle Tree Facts

Varieties of crape myrtle or crepe myrtle tree are very diverse in how they’re showcased in yards and commercial properties.

Crape Myrtle; Crepe Myrtle

(Lagerstroemia indica)

An image of a crepe myrtle tree in an oval frame on green background.
  • Family: Lythraceae
  • Genus: Lagerstroemia
  • Leaf: Simple oblong or oval shape
  • Bark: Exfoliating trunk that is brown or gray
  • Seed: Round dark brown seed
  • Blossoms: Summer months July-September
  • Fruit: Small green capsule that ripens to a dark brown
  • Native Habitat: Himalayas, Southeast Asia, and Japan
  • Height: Shrubs up to 9 ft., trees up to 40 ft
  • Canopy: Wide canopy up to 30 ft
  • Type: Deciduous
  • Native Growing Zone: 6-9

IUCN Red List of Threatened Species Ranking

Not Evaluated


Image Credit: Bishnu Sarangi (sarangib)19

According to Oregon State University, the Crepe Myrtle Tree is a landscaping plant that is the official state shrub for the State of Texas.1

This landscaping plant was named “crepe ” because the clustered flower resembles the texture of crepe paper.

It should also be mentioned that the Crepe Myrtle is not in the Myrtle tree family. It’s all about the very similar shape in which the Crepe Myrtle leaf proudly blooms that favors the Myrtle tree.

"Graphic of Crepe Myrtle identification showing Crepe Myrtle Seeds, flowers, and leaves.

Your landscaping design can also bring bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds to your backyard retreat with a Crepe Myrtle Tree. Bees can be scary for some, but you can’t beat the pollination it provides.

One of the impressive Crepe Myrtle Tree facts is the welcomed lingering bloom periods.

The Crape Myrtle or Crepe Myrtle Tree bloom is known to last at least 100 days, as reported by the University of California Master Gardeners of Napa County.2

Here are some additional Crepe Myrtle Tree facts to get a better understanding of why the Crape Myrtle is cherished:

Crepe Myrtle Tree Symbolism

The Crepe Myrtle Tree symbolism can vary slightly by culture, traditions, and spiritual beliefs.

However, love, renewal, fertility, and longevity seem to be common meanings surrounding the Crepe Myrtle Tree.

Crepe Myrtle Tree Leaves

With a slight red design in its green leaves, the Crepe Myrtle Tree leaves are simple and oval-shaped.

The leaves are also impressive in the fall, with red, orange, and yellow variations.

Crepe Myrtle Tree Flower

The star of the Lagerstroemia indica family is the Crepe Myrtle Tree flower.

You have a number of color choices for the flowers of a Crape Myrtle: purple, white, pink, and several shades of red.

A focused image of a bunch of flowers of a crepe myrtle tree.

(Image: leechentou8)

The Crepe Myrtle Tree flower is beautiful, but it’s recommended you sweep the flowers off the ground, car, and concrete areas to ensure it doesn’t stain.

When Do Crepe Myrtles Bloom?

It’s a rarity for an ornamental tree not to begin showing off its canopy in spring. However, a Crepe Myrtle Tree can tolerate high temperatures, unlike some other ornamental trees.

But when do Crepe Myrtles bloom?

Your favorite purple flowers, white flowers, pink flowers, and more begin blooming in early summer.

Crepe Myrtle Tree Seeds

After the summer bloom, you will notice the Crepe Myrtle Tree seeds sprouting up around the tree.

The seed pods are dark brown.

How To Identify Crepe Myrtle Tree

One of the easiest ways to identify or ID a Crepe Myrtle is its clustered flowers.

The Crepe Myrtle colors, with the help of its leaves, allow novices to identify the tree.

How to identify Crepe Myrtle Tree besides its colors is the crepe paper texture of the flowers.

The bark can also give its identity away. The Crepe Myrtle Tree bark can appear pinkish, orange, or cream color in the fall after exfoliation.

Crepe myrtle tree leaves in red and orange shades during autumn.

(Image: Famartin9)

Even with different colors, this ornamental tree is still identifiable in the fall. All with the help of the Crepe Myrtle Tree oval leaves fall colors and blotches of new bark.

Use Picture of a Crepe Myrtle To Help ID a Crepe Myrtle Bush

To use a picture of a Crepe Myrtle to help ID a Crepe Myrtle Bush is a good idea. Especially if designing your privacy hedges with Crepe Myrtle Bush is the purpose.

Whether you decide to plant a Crepe Myrtle Bush to show off its beauty or to add to your outside aesthetics, there are 50 different species to choose from in the Lagerstroemia indica genus, as reported by Wikipedia.3

Crepe Myrtle Bush Vs. Tree

Choosing between a Crepe Myrtle bush vs. tree depends on your backyard oasis plan and your preference.

However, the Crepe Myrtle is not exactly a bush or shrub.

A young bush of a crepe myrtle tree with its fully bloomed flowers in front of a house yard.

(Image: Tatters10)

A Crepe Myrtle Bush is a trained and trimmed dwarf tree.

If a purple, lavender, or lilac bush is what you desire, you have options.

Related Reading: Lilac Tree Vs Lilac Bushes: How To Grow and Identify Types of Lilac Flowers, Plants.

A Crape Myrtle or Crepe Myrtle Tree has one or more trunks.

The types of trees that give you the variety of colors and sizes to have a bush, shrub, or 30-foot tall tree is all in the Lagerstroemia indica genus.

If you desire the Cherry Tree look without the height and edible fruit, a Crape Myrtle Cherry Dazzle is perfect for a bush. The Cherry Dazzle is a great crape myrtle bush with heights up to 4 feet.

A Cherry Dazzle may not fit your fancy small backyard layout, but a tall 30-foot Red Rocket Crape Myrtle is a great option.

The parts of a tree that you should consider come down to the color of the flowers and the size.

Lagerstroemia indica and Types of Crepe Myrtle Tree

The Lagerstroemia indica is not native to the United States but grows beautifully in yards and urban street landscapes, and does well as parking lot ornamental trees.

According to the University of Florida, the Lagerstroemia indica and types of Crepe Myrtle tree in the family are tough trees that thrive in air pollution and poor soil drainage.4

Types of Crepe myrtle tree graphic showing Muskogee Creape myrtle, White crepe myrtle tree, red crepe myrtle tree, and Twilight crape myrtle.

Planting a Crepe Myrtle may be possible in your region because of its versatility to thrive even in some undesirable climates.

Here are the types of trees in the Lagerstroemia indica group to consider:

Muskogee Crape Myrtle

The Muskogee Crape Myrtle is a light lavender tree that gets as tall as 30 feet. This Crape Myrtle is great for hedges and aligning your driveway with its beauty.

An image of two crepe myrtle trees planted just below a building.

(Image: cultivar41311)

The lavender bloom of the Muskogee Crape Myrtle is often over 100 days.

Image of different colors of crepe myrtle trees planted in a residential area.

(Image: Wendy Cutler12)

White Crepe Myrtle Tree

With many white Crepe Myrtle Tree options, you must decide which style of white flowers and size is best for your backyard or front yard oasis.

There are several white Crepe Myrtle Trees to choose from, such as:

  • Acoma Semi-dwarf
  • Burgundy Cotton
  • Buyers White
  • Glendora White

The time of bloom may be considered prior to planting. Some white flowering trees can also be added to the white Crepe Myrtle Tree that begins in the spring.

Red Crepe Myrtle Tree

The Red Crepe Myrtle Tree options are almost unlimited, from dark to light red colors.

The Red Crepe Myrtle tree is a favorite, and you can choose from the following variants:

A photo of a red crepe myrtle tree in the front yard of a house.

(Image: Famartin13)

  • Baton Rogue Crape Myrtle
  • Dallas Red Crape Myrtle
  • Rocket Red Crape Myrtle
  • Sacramento Red Crape Myrtle

Red Crepe Myrtle Trees are often dwarfed by shrub and bush hedges.

A photo of the Twilight Crape Myrtle.

(Image: David Stang14)

Twilight Crape Myrtle

The Twilight Crape Myrtle is a purple flowering tree that grows up to approximately 20 feet. This tree can be dwarfed into a shrub or bush.

The Twilight Crape is drought tolerant like most of its tree family.

If you desire a smaller version, such as a bush or shrub, an Early Bird Crape Myrtle is a similar smaller version of the Twilight Crape Myrtle that blooms earlier in mid-May.

The Lagerstroemia indica and types of Crepe Myrtle vary in many cultivations. Whether you live in an area of loamy or clay soil, there is a Crepe Myrtle Tree that will fit your home’s landscaping layout.

Crepe Myrtle Tree Growing Zone

If you’re looking for ideal growing zones for Crepe Myrtle Tree, where to grow them depends on your area’s overall climate

The Crepe Myrtle Tree growing zone is 6-9. However, certain Crepe Myrtle Trees are known to thrive in growing zone 10.

It is recommended to contact your local nursery or college agriculture extension to confirm the Crepe Myrtle Tree of choice in your area.

Referring to the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map can also help to determine if your location is ideal for a thriving Crepe Myrtle Tree.5

Crepe Myrtle Tree Growth Rate

The Lagerstroemia indica types of trees are considered fast-growing plants.

The Crepe Myrtle Tree growth rate, in particular, averages 1-2 feet per year. However, depending on the Crepe Myrtle Tree variety, some Crape Myrtle Trees can grow more than 2 feet a year.

When To Plant Crepe Myrtle Tree

The Crepe Myrtle Tree requires full sunlight. Location matters for when to plant Crepe Myrtle Tree for the best yield.

If you buy a container ready to plant with Crepe Myrtle flowers in full bloom, planting in the summer is recommended. However, planting from a seed or cutting, and avoiding a frost season, is necessary.

When to plant Crepe Myrtle Tree from a seed, ball, cutting, or bare-root is after the frost season in late spring.

How To Grow a Crepe Myrtle Tree

Now that you’ve envisioned exactly where you want to place your Crepe Myrtle Tree, you can now choose the size and types of Crepe Myrtle that fit your style and growing zone.

How to grow a Crepe Myrtle Tree depends on your green thumb abilities.

You can choose to grow your Crepe Myrtle Tree as follows:

Propagating Crepe Myrtle Trees

Propagating Crepe Myrtle is possible with several techniques.

You can grow your favorite pink Crepe Myrtle Tree or other varieties of Crape Myrtle by seed, grafting, cutting, and more.

Growing a Crepe Myrtle Tree From a Seed

If you have the patience, growing a Crepe Myrtle Tree from a seed is an option.

But even if you saved the seeds from a purple Crepe Myrtle Tree, as it grows, don’t be surprised if its flowers turn out different from the parent tree.

Most Crepe Myrtle Trees are hybrids and cultivated with different Lagerstroemia species. It’s best to be pleasantly surprised by what you may grow with a seed.

Close up photo of crepe myrtle seed pods and flowers.

(Image: leoleobobeo15)

When you collect the Crepe Myrtle seed pod, make sure to shake the seeds from the seed pod. If you notice the seed pod is not open, you can place the seed pods in a glass of water until they open for easy access.

Cold stratification is recommended to germinate your Crepe Myrtle seed. Cold stratification requires the following actions:

  • Place seeds in a poly grow bag or sandwich bag
  • Include vermiculite in the poly grow bag
  • Place in refrigerator for approximately 3-4 weeks
  • Keep Crepe Myrtle Tree seeds and vermiculite moist

After completion of the cold stratification process, place your germinated seeds in a container with the recommended potting mix and peat moss. The sprouting of a Crepe Myrtle Tree or young plant can take a few weeks.

By placing your Crepe Myrtle pot in your warmest room or covering the pot container with plastic for more expedient sprouting, your Crepe Myrtle Tree is on its way.

Growing a Crepe Myrtle Tree From a Cutting

When to plant your Crepe Myrtle cutting is highly dependent on your location.

Some would suggest growing a Crepe Myrtle Tree from cutting in the summer. But there are certain regions that can have year-round planting of a Crepe Myrtle Tree.

A graphic that shows how to grow a Crepe Myrtle Tree From a Cutting.

Planting and growing a Crepe Myrtle Tree from a cutting can begin in a container and later be transferred into your backyard soil.

Growing a Crepe Myrtle Tree from a cutting requires the following:

  • A cutting with no Crepe Myrtle Tree buds or flowers
  • Semi-hardwood cuttings must be 6-8 inches long
  • Remove lower leaves but ensure 3-4 leaf nodes
  • Place cuttings into a container with potting mix and peat moss
  • Make sure the container can properly drain the soil

Keeping your Crepe Myrtle Tree in a container is possible and recommended if your region has very cold winters. During the winter months, a young container Crepe Myrtle Tree can be placed inside your home to protect from the winter frost.

Image of young crepe myrtle trees in their individual plastic pots.

(Image: Wouter Hagens16)

However, depending on the time of year and your growing zone, your young Crepe Myrtle Tree can be planted in the ground within six weeks.

Your Crepe Myrtle cutting’s root ball must be protected to ensure the root system is developed properly in your backyard soil.

The root system of Crepe Myrtle Trees is strong but shallow. So, it’s a great idea to know exactly where you want to plant your Crepe Myrtle Tree cutting to ensure it doesn’t compete with other plants for growth.

Because although the Crepe Myrtle Tree is not invasive, it does require a lot of nutrients and water as a young tree.

Growing a Crepe Myrtle Tree From a Seedling

There are several options for nurseries growing a Crepe Myrtle Tree from a seedling.

Whether you want to start with a 3-foot Crepe Myrtle Tree in a pot or a seedling with blooms, both are possible. But choosing the right variety of Crepe Myrtle Tree for your region and the size you desire matters.

Growing a Crepe Myrtle Tree from a seedling requires the same planting requirements as from a cutting or a seed. However, if your seedling has flowers or buds, planting in the summer is recommended for most growing zones.

Full sun and a lot of water may be required to ensure the soil is moist.

Planting Tips for Crepe Myrtle Tree

The best-growing conditions for Crepe Myrtle Tree depend on your growing zone and quality of care.

Because these types of trees are resilient in different locations, following the following planting tips for Crepe Myrtle Tree will help your new trees thrive:

  • Choose a planting location with full sun and good circulation
  • Soil should be well-drained to avoid sitting water
  • Large containers are needed if the Crepe Myrtle will remain in the pot
  • Water up to two times a week for a young Crepe Myrtle Tree

If you choose to plant your Crepe Myrtle Tree in your backyard without a container, be sure to get advisement from your local college extension. Removing your Crepe Myrtle Tree from a container with its young root system involves a gentle green thumb.

A graphic that shows the different planting tips for crepe myrtle.

How long it takes to grow Crepe Myrtle Tree to maturity is approximately five years. Although, if you’re growing shrubs, five years is not needed.

A Crepe Myrtle Tree can grow up to 3 feet a year, and shrubs can be 3-4 feet tall. However, how long does it take for a tree to grow is reliant on preventing disease and standard of care.

Crepe Myrtle Tree Disease Prevention

Crepe Myrtle Tree disease prevention is possible primarily with the many disease-resistant varieties.

A top view of leaves on a branch infected by a disease.

(Image: Scot Nelson17)

Besides powdery mildew, common pests of the Crepe Myrtle Tree are:

  • Crepe Myrtle bark scale
  • Aphids
  • Leaf spot disease

Fungus and bacteria such as leaf spot disease and pests like aphids are usually because of overwatering or lack of full sun.

But based on these facts, certain Crepe Myrtle varieties, such as Muskogee Tonto, Natchez, and more, have been determined to be disease-resistant.

Care Tips To Prevent Disease and Pests for Crape Myrtle Tree

The natural pest control for Crepe Myrtle Tree are ladybugs, wasps, and beetles who enjoy feasting on aphids.

There are mixed opinions on whether neem oil or insecticidal soap is the natural solution for the Crepe Myrtle bark scale.

According to North Carolina State University, herbicides are the best option to treat the Crepe Myrtle bark scale.6

How to stop Crepe Myrtle Tree disease, such as powdery mildew, starts with the quality of care. Making sure your Crepe Myrtle Tree has air circulation, which requires pruning to receive full sun and not fertilizing when not necessary, is key.

Care for Crepe Myrtle Tree

It’s often said that the famous purple flowers in the Crepe Myrtle family are easy to maintain. But the care for Crepe Myrtle Tree does require some effort.

The watering needs for Crepe Myrtle Tree plants are only the foundation.

Fertilizing Crepe Myrtles and how and when to prune your favorite ornamental tree is all the knowledge necessary to make sure you enjoy your new trees for decades.

Fertilizing Crepe Myrtles

Fertilizing Crepe Myrtles will help your pink flowers bloom at their best.

A fertilizing schedule is based on the age and location of your Crepe Myrtle Tree grown. Because new growth is required for your Crepe Myrtle to continue to bloom, fertilizing in early spring is necessary.

Be sure to check with your local nursery or college extension to ensure your new Crepe Myrtle fertilization schedule is correct. There are types of Crepe Myrtles that may need monthly fertilization or more during their peak growing season of the warmer months.

There are organic fertilizer options and slow-release fertilizers for young Crepe Myrtle Trees to consider.

However, 10-10-10 fertilizer for your Crepe Myrtle Tree might be a good balance. Checking your soil pH will help you determine which nutrient percentages are best.

How To Prune a Crepe Myrtle

Some varieties of Crape Myrtle do not require a lot of pruning.

How to prune a Crepe Myrtle requires removing pencil limbs, suckers, and rubbing branches.

These twigs or pencil limbs are less than 2 inches in diameter. A hand pruner is suggested to remove twigs.

A 25-30 foot Crape Myrtle may need some pruning of overgrown branches or dead branches. However, pruning your Crepe Myrtle Bush is required to keep the bush or shrub aesthetic.

When To Prune Crepe Myrtle

When to prune Crepe Myrtle is during its dormant months.

The winter season is a great time to prune your Crepe Myrtle with no flowers in sight.

This way, you will be able to see any crowded branches or dead limbs to remove.

How To Trim Crepe Myrtles

How to trim Crepe Myrtle is usually an early spring routine if, after pruning in winter, the tree grew some longer branches that need trimming.

Pruning and trimming correctly are essential to ensure your tree is not damaged. A damaged Crepe Myrtle Tree can attract pests that would destroy the health and beauty of your tree.

Calling an expert in branch removal and trimming your Crepe Myrtle bush or tree is a good idea to keep your tree healthy without injury.

How Much Carbon Does Crepe Myrtle Tree Sequester

With the Crape Myrtle’s many leaves, branches, and root system, greenhouse gasses taken from the atmosphere help the ecosystem and environment. Carbon emissions are stored in the wood, and the air is cleansed.

A row of crepe myrtle trees in a residential area.

(Image: Alabama Extension18)

How much carbon does Crepe Myrtle Tree sequester may vary by age and how much you plant. But on average, 31 to 46 trees are needed to offset carbon emissions.

According to Minnesota Public Radio, fast-growing trees are the best when it comes to trees storing carbon emissions.7

The Crepe Myrtle Tree (Also known as the Crape Myrtle tree) is a fast-growing tree that can grow as quickly as 3 feet a year depending on location and type, and it provides a lasting and beautiful addition to any yard.

Frequently Asked Questions About The Crepe Myrtle Tree

Is It Crape Myrtle or Crepe Myrtle?

It’s debatable if crape myrtle is the most common pronunciation. But in the southern states, “Crepe myrtle” is the usual spelling and pronunciation. It’s a personal choice how you decide to acknowledge the beauty of these types of trees.

How Far Apart To Plant Crepe Myrtle Tree?

Your landscaping design matters for the spacing of your crepe myrtle tree. However, 6-10 feet apart is ideal.

How Much Sunlight Does Crepe Myrtle Tree Need Each Day?

Crepe myrtle trees and bushes need full sun for 6-8 hours per day.

How Long Do Crepe Myrtles Live?

The average life span is 25-50 years for the crepe myrtle tree. But an exceptionally cared-for crepe myrtle tree can live up to 100 years.

What Are the Best Companion Plants for Growing Crepe Myrtle Tree?

A Rose of Sharon plant, Hibiscus, Impatiens, and many other companions will add to your charming crepe myrtle landscape.


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2Lee, D. (2013, July 12). Crape Myrtles. University of California Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources. Retrieved July 16, 2023, from <>

3Wikipedia. (2023, June 28). Lagerstroemia. Wikipedia. Retrieved July 16, 2023, from <>

4Gillman, E. F., & Watson, D. G. (1993, November). Lagerstroemia indica Crape Myrtle. Environmental Horticulture Department at the University of Florida, IFAS. Retrieved July 16, 2023, from <>

5U.S. Department of Agriculture. (2023). USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map. USDA Agricultural Service. Retrieved July 16, 2023, from <>

6North Carolina State University. (2023). Lagerstroemia indica. North Carolina Extension Gardener Plant Toolbox. Retrieved July 22, 2023, from <>

7Dunbar, E. (2019, September 27). Climate Curious: What are the best carbon-capturing trees to plant? Minnesota Public Radio. Retrieved July 23, 2023, from <>

8Photo by Leechentou. Pixabay. Retrieved from <>

9Red Rocket Crape Myrtle leaves turning color in autumn Photo by Famartin / Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-SA 4.0). Resized and Changed Format. Wikimedia Commons. Retrieved July 23, 2023, fromv <,_Fairfax_County,_Virginia.jpg>

10Front yard garden with Crape myrtle bush Photo by Tatters / Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0) . Cropped, Resized and Changed Format. Flickr. Retrieved July 23, 2023, from <>

11Crape Myrtle Tree at North County Regional Center Photo by K M / Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0). Cropped, Resized and Changed Format. Flickr. Retrieved July 23, 2023, from <>

12White and pink Lagerstroemia in the Mission Hills area Photo by Wendy Cutler / Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0). Cropped, Resized and Changed Format. Flickr. Retrieved July 23, 2023, from <>

13Crape Myrtle with red flowers along Kinross Circle Photo by Famartin / Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-SA 4.0). Cropped, Resized and Changed Format. Wikimedia Commons. Retrieved July 23, 2023, from <,_Fairfax_County,_Virginia.jpg>

14Lagerstroemia indica Twilight Photo by David Stang / Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0). Cropped, Resized and Changed Format. Wikimedia Commons. Retrieved July 23, 2023, from <>

15Photo by leoleobobeo. Pixabay. Retrieved from <>

16Lagerstroemia indica Photo by Wouter Hagens / Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported. Cropped, Resized and Changed Format. Wikimedia Commons. Retrieved July 23, 2023, from <>

17Lagerstroemia indica (Crape myrtle): Powdery mildew Photo by Scot Nelson / Public Domain Dedication (CC0). Cropped, Resized and Changed Format. Flickr. Retrieved July 23, 2023, from <>

18Row of Crape Myrtle Trees Photo by Alabama Extension / Public Domain Dedication (CC0). Cropped, Resized and Changed Format. Flickr. Retrieved July 23, 2023, from <>

19Giant Crape Myrtle Photo by Bishnu Sarangi (sarangib). (2014, April 26) / Pixabay Content License. Cropped and added text, shape, and background elements. Pixabay. Retrieved February 16, 2024, from <>