Crape myrtles are chiefly known for their colorful and long-lasting flowers which occur in summer. Most species of Lagerstroemia have sinewy, fluted stems and branches with a mottled appearance that arises from having bark that sheds throughout the year. The leaves are opposite and simple, with entire margins, and vary from 5–20 cm (2–8 in). While all species are woody in nature, they can range in height from over 30 m (100 ft) to under 30 cm (1 ft); most, however, are small to medium multiple-trunked trees and shrubs. The leaves of temperate species provide autumn color.
Crape myrtles are relatively friendly to foundations and walkways in that the roots are not strong nor damaging to fixed structures, they form large networks of fine fibrous roots, rather than large heavy penetrating surface or taproots. The root zones, however, can be very competitive for water and nutrients when considering growing other plants under the tree’s canopy.
Crape myrtles are quite messy, and their seedpods stain concrete and are best planted away from swimming pools, decks, and sidewalks.