Dwarf And Semi-Dwarf Crepe Myrtle Trees We Love

Crepe myrtles are a go-to flowering tree for Southern gardens, but not every garden is suited for a large tree. These dwarf varieties are great to mix into perennial beds, to grow in planters, or to use as deciduous hedgerows.

Pink Velour flowering panicles
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Why do people murder crepe myrtles? No, it's not too much Neanderthal DNA. It's that the variety of crepe myrtle they planted got way too big for their space. Thankfully gardeners and growers both saw the need for smaller, more compact crepe myrtles—or crape myrtles or crapemyrtles if you prefer—that didn't need annual pruning. Growers created new selections of dwarf and semi-dwarf types that bloomed well, resisted disease, and were hardy. Let me introduce some of my favorites, all of which are available at garden centers.

Dwarf Crepe Myrtle Varieties

Dwarf myrtles include cultivars that are less than 4 feet tall when fully grown. These smaller crepes give all the brilliant color of their taller cousins, but because they’re smaller, you can get a little more creative and have some fun with them. 

You can plant just one as an accent shrub, or group several of them for a big show of color. If you really want to stop traffic, combine them with complementary plants for a low-maintenance border with "wow" factor. For example, a tall evergreen shrub such as 'Burgundy' Chinese fringe (Loropetalum chinense) makes a nice backdrop for the cherry red, pink, or white blooms of a dwarf crepe myrtle. Then for the foreground, you can add a low-growing evergreen such as blue rug creeping juniper. The possibilities with these bitty bloomers are endless.

'Pocomoke'

This pretty dwarf myrtle features bright-pink blooms and deep green foliage on a mounding shrub. It’s a great pick for pots.

Size: 3 to 5 feet high, 3 to 4 feet wide

Zones: 6-9

Razzle Dazzle Series

These mounding shrubs come in a wide range of colors that do great in containers. I recommend 'Cherry Dazzle' (red blooms), 'Berry Dazzle' (fuchsia-purple blooms and burgundy new foliage), and 'Strawberry Dazzle' (neon-rose flowers). I’ve found that 'Raspberry Dazzle' doesn't bloom as well.

Size: 3 to 4 feet tall and wide

Zones: 6-9 

'Tightwad Red'

Dark-red flowers on a mounding plant. Seedless. Dense foliage

Size:  3-4 feet tall and 5-6 feet wide

Zones: 7-10

'Victor'

Deep-red flowers. Cold-hardy.

Size: 3-6 feet tall and 2-4 wide

Zones: 6-9

Semi-Dwarf Crepe Myrtle Varieties

If you’re looking for something a bit larger than a dwarf myrtle but still don’t want a big variety, consider a semi-dwarf variety. Semi-dwarf or small crepe myrtles typically top out at 12 feet tall or less at maturity. Anything else we can say here about trees of this size?

'Acoma'

That's it up top. White flowers atop an arching, sculptural small tree. Great in a large container.

Size: 10 feet tall and wide

Zones: 6-9

'Delta Jazz'

Combines bright-pink flowers with spectacular burgundy foliage that doesn't "green" in hot weather.

Size: 8-10 feet′ high and 4-6 feet wide

Zones: 7-10

Part of our Southern Living Plant Collection.

Early Bird Series

Comes in three colors—lavender, purple, and white. Long-blooming plant starts flowering in May. Grows 5 to 8 feet tall. 

Size: 5-8 feet High and 3-4 feet Wide

Zones: 7a - 10b

Part of our Southern Living Plant Collection.

'Hopi'

Medium-pink flowers on a spreading, bushy plant.

Size: 7 to 10 feet tall and wide

Zones: 6-9 

Magic Series

Rounded, bushy plants. Colors include coral-pink, fuchsia-pink, and purple. Foliage emerges reddish and then changes to deep-green.

Size: 6 to 10 feet tall and 4 to 8 feet wide

Zones: 7-9

'Pink Velour'

Neon-pink flowers with wine red foliage that doesn't fade. Nearly seedless; blooms for a long time.

Size: 6-12 feet tall and wide

Zones: 6-9

'Red Rooster'

Brilliant red flowers. Foliage emerges maroon and changes to green. Flowers may show white or red flecking.

Size: 8 to 10 feet tall and 5 feet wide

Zones: 6b-9

'Rhapsody in Pink'

Combines soft-pink flowers with purplish new growth. Nearly seedless; blooms for a long time.

Size: Upright grower 6 to 10 feet tall and 8 to 12 feet wide

Zones: 6-9

'Siren Red'

Dark-red flowers on a rounded plant. New foliage emerges wine-red and then changes to dark green.

Size: 6  to 10 feet tall and wide

Zones: 6-9

'Tonto'

Red flowers and maroon foliage. Handsome bark.

Size: 8  to 12 feet tall and wide

Zones: 6-9

'Velma's Royal Delight'

Intense purple-magenta flowers and deep green leaves. Cold-hardy to well below zero degrees. Bushy plant growth.

Size: 4 to 6 feet tall and wide

Zones: 6-9

'Zuni'

Medium-lavender flowers on a vase-shaped, spreading plant. Long bloomer, cold-hardy, handsome bark.

Size: 6 to 10 feet tall and wide

Zones: 6-10


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