Crepe myrtle is one of Georgia’s most recognizable summer bloomers.  It is difficult to go anywhere without seeing them. We spot them growing along city streets, in yards, and around public buildings.

       These large shrubs-small trees are truly stunning. Throughout the summer they produce an abundance of attractive flowers ranging in color from white to purple and pink. In the fall, the foliage of different varieties turn purple, yellow, orange or red.  Why even their bark is attractive.

       If that isn’t enough other than pruning them back in the winter, they require little care.  These hardy plants are able to withstand dry conditions, bloom well in the heat and humidity of summer.  On top of that, they prosper in most well-drained soil types.

       With so much going for it, one could easily assume it is the perfect plant to include in your home landscape. However, if you want to establish plants that are valuable to backyard wildlife, this is not the plant for you.

       Aside from the fact that birds occasionally nest in crepe myrtles, they have little value to wildlife.  Crepe myrtles are not the host plants for our butterflies and moths. They do not produce a bounty of pollen and nectar for our native pollinators, or serve as a valuable source of seeds for birds and other wildlife species.

       With that in mind, if you are looking for a woody plant that will only beautify your yard, plant crepe myrtle. However, if you are seeking a plant that provides beauty and is valuable to our backyard wildlife neighbors there are many other plants that fit the bill.


  1. Mr. Johnson, I strongly disagree with your opinion of the Crepe Myrtle as “not a wildlife plant”. When my plants are blooming they are so alive with bees you can here the collective buzzing from 5 feet away! I also observe their legs to be laden with pollen. If I deadhead the plant will flush with a second bloom and the bees are back in force. On what do you base your information, I wonder? Or do Bees not make your list of valuable wildlife, perhaps?
    I grow Lipan, Tuscarora, Dynamite and several others.

  2. I have long suspected that birds were eating the blossoms of our crape myrtles. Today, 07/04/2021, I confirmed m suspicions. Several fledgling sparrows and/or house finches were flitting through our crape myrtle so I looked through my binoculars and saw that some of them were actually eating blossoms as well as unopened blossom buds.

  3. I had a bright red crape myrtle tree and it was frequented by a Green-Violet Ear Hummingbird
    Colibri thalassinus that fed on the nectar for as long as the tree was blooming.

  4. I deeply regret having planted a crepe Myrtle in my yard. The roots spread clear across my 12 foot long yard, under the sidewalk, under the driveway, and in a web-like cross-crossing fashion, filled my entire flower bed 5 feet down. Crepe Myrtle is not a hard wood. So it doesn’t grow like a dogwood. The roots are incredibly tough and fibrous with little wiry roots attached to the larger roots that reach way down into the earth. I’ve manually removed many trees in my life. I’ve removed bamboo successfully by hand (the runners stay closer to the surface than Crepe Myrtle roots). Unless you are okay with poisoning the crepe Myrtle tree, it will never be fully dead. Any piece of root you leave will re-sprout. I’m on year 7. I’ve never seen anything like this. It was a Natchez (Lagerstroemia indica x fauriei ‘Natchez’)

    • Kate,

      I really appreciate your comments concerning crepe myrtle. Other folks have told me they have trouble trying to remove this plant too. However, nobody has ever provided such detailed accounts.

      Would you mind if I post your response as a stand alone blog? If so, could I use your name? I thinks others would benefit from your knowledge.

  5. Not a wild life plant? Hummingbirds feed from them. The aphids attract other insects that come to eat them which attracts birds that eat the bugs. Bees and butterflies love them. The canopy offers shelter to birds, moths and butterflies. Just because a plant is not a host for insect eggs does not mean its worthless for wildlife.

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