These flowering trees are beautifully colored and are often planted both privately and commercially as ornamentals and are cultivated in warmer climates. Although we are used to seeing them, they are an import, native to the Indian subcontinent, southeast Asia and northern Australia.
Crepe Myrtles are everywhere in Peachtree Park: in the Darlington Triangle, on the lead up to the foot bridge across Georgia 400 and in many yards. And you see them everywhere in Atlanta. Some are quite old and we think the older the better.
One of the most beautiful parts of the tree, especially older trees, is the trunk which has a mottled appearance that comes from having bark that sheds throughout the year.
Some people severely prune Crepe Myrtles each spring. It’s called Crepe Murder, and its an arcane and, fortunately, mostly out of date practice. We think it also unnecessarily stresses the tree. Besides, they are more graceful if you let them grow as they do naturally. Just go look at the ones in the Darlington Triangle. They are no longer severely pruned each year and they are magnificent.
Crepe myrtles are chiefly known for their colorful and long-lasting flowers which occur in summer. It attracts all manner of bees while blooming and provides good habitat for birds.