CREPE MYRTLE – BEAUTIFUL BUT NOT A WILDLIFE PLANT

CREPE MYRTLE

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.

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