Companion Plants for Crepe Myrtles: 26 Gorgeous Pairing Ideas

Does your crepe myrtle seem lonely? Adding complementary plants around and beneath it can improve the overall look of your yard and make its flowers even more vibrant.

Ideal companion plants for your crepe myrtle are ones with shallow roots and some tolerance to shade. If you’re stuck for inspiration, check out 26 perfect pairings below!

If you want to see your tree thrive season after season, learning key care aspects is critical. Learn the basics as well as problems to watch for and more in my detailed Crepe Myrtle Guide.

1. Hosta (Hosta spp.)

A variety of hosta plants planted together.

Versatile hostas grow in pleasing clumps with beautiful rib detailing on the leaves that can be lance, oval, or heart shaped and in all the shades and variegations you could want too — blue-green, cream, even bubblegum-pink!

  • Growing Zones: 3-9
  • Light Requirements: Light-medium shade
  • Mature Size: 2-4 feet tall, 2-5 feet wide
  • Season of Interest: Spring/fall

2. Salvia (Salvia spp.)

Long purple flower spikes of salvia.

Salvia resembles lavender with its tall flower spikes of purplish-blue flowers. The blooms are set against a bushy bed of large, gray-green, oblong-shaped leaves, cutting a striking figure against the trunk of your crepe myrtle.

  • Growing Zones: 5-9
  • Light Requirements: Full sun
  • Mature Size: 2-3 feet tall & wide
  • Season of Interest: Summer

3. Liriope (Liriope spicata)

A variegated liriope plant in full bloom.

This beautiful ground cover plant also known as creeping lilyturf sends up spear-shaped blossoms of white or pale violet growing among strappy deep-green leaves that take on a rich bronze hue in winter, giving this one plenty of interest.

  • Growing Zones: 6-11
  • Light Requirements: Full/partial sun
  • Mature Size: 12-18 inches tall & wide
  • Season of Interest: Late summer/fall

4. Knockout Roses (Rosa ‘Knock Out’)

Pink Knockout roses blooming happily.

Matching the crepe-like quality of the crepe myrtle trees, these dark-green shrubs are adorned with clusters of delicate but vibrant cherry-red roses.

This plant is virtually free of diseases and resists most pests, and the blooms won’t fade in the heat — knockout indeed!

  • Growing Zones: 5-9
  • Light Requirements: Full sun
  • Mature Size: 3-4 feet tall & wide
  • Season of Interest: Spring/summer

5. Fountain Grass (Pennisetum spp.)

A row of fountain grass in summertime.

Arching sprays of gray-green grass coupled with soft and feathery flower quills of cream, pink, and purple provide a touch of elegance wherever they’re planted.

Fountain grass also comes in purple, burgundy, or striped-cream variations.

  • Growing Zones: 4-10
  • Light Requirements: Full sun (tolerates light shade)
  • Mature Size: 3-5 feet tall, 2-4 feet wide
  • Season of Interest: Summer/fall

6. Russian Sage (Perovskia atriplicifolia)

Two Russian sage plants in full bloom.

Invite more butterflies to your crepe myrtle with this wispy shrub of fragrant gray-green leaves and pretty flowering spikes of violet-blue.

The feathery mass provides cover for pollinators while repelling pests with its strong sage scent.

  • Growing Zones: 4-9
  • Light Requirements: Full sun
  • Mature Size: 3-5 feet tall, 2-4 feet wide
  • Season of Interest: Summer/fall

7. Daylilies (Hemerocallis spp.)

Cheerful yellow and orange daylilies blooming happily.

Opt for exotic crepe myrtle underplanting with these bold trumpet-like flowers. Individual daylilies bloom for only one day, but great care will keep them coming for a gorgeous rainbow display all season.

  • Growing Zones: 4-9
  • Light Requirements: Full sun (tolerates partial shade)
  • Mature Size: 4 feet tall, 1-3 feet wide
  • Season of Interest: Spring/summer

8. Butterfly Bush (Buddleja spp.)

Long purple flowers of a butterfly in summer.

This fast-growing, laid-back shrub features graceful arching branches of gray-green leaves and elongated flower spikes of dainty four-petaled blooms available in blue, violet, lilac, magenta, cream, and peach colors.

  • Growing Zones: 5-9
  • Light Requirements: Full sun
  • Mature Size: 6-10 feet tall, 4-10 feet wide
  • Season of Interest: Summer

9. Catmint (Nepeta spp.)

Catmint plants in full bloom.

You can safely let your feline friend near this neat dwarf shrub as the gray-green leaves are often used in catnip toys!

Catmint bears teensy mauve or blue two-lipped flowers on its long, slender stems and attracts bees and hummingbirds too.

  • Growing Zones: 3-9
  • Light Requirements: Full sun (tolerates light shade)
  • Mature Size: 12-18 inches tall, 1-2 feet wide
  • Season of Interest: Spring/summer/fall

10. Coneflowers (Echinacea spp.)

Purple coneflowers in full bloom in front of a wood fence.

These quirky daisy-like flowers see their colorful petals droop and their centers protrude like wind-defeated umbrellas as they bloom, creating their distinctive cone-like shape. They come in a rainbow of gorgeous shades too.

  • Growing Zones: 4-9
  • Light Requirements: Full sun
  • Mature Size: 2-5 feet tall, 1-2 feet wide
  • Season of Interest: Summer/fall

11. Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia spp.)

A mass of black-eyed Susans blooming happily.

Somewhere between daisies and skinny sunflowers, black-eyed Susans feature slender golden-yellow petals and a contrasting brownish-black center, creating a wonderfully cheery sight beneath your crepe myrtle.

  • Growing Zones: 3-11
  • Light Requirements: Full/partial sun
  • Mature Size: 2-3 feet tall, 1-2 feet wide
  • Season of Interest: Summer/fall

12. Ornamental Grasses (Miscanthus spp.)

A row of Miscanthus ornamental grass.

For swaying movement and beautiful texture beneath your tree, pair your tree with a mix of ornamental grass varieties.

These hardy plants come in soft and wispy or spiky and defined styles. Try feather reed grass to electric blue fescue.

  • Growing Zones: 4-8
  • Light Requirements: Partial/full sun
  • Mature Size: 2-10 feet tall, 1-3 feet wide
  • Season of Interest: Spring/summer/fall

13. Coreopsis (Coreopsis spp.)

The cheery, yellow flowers of a coreopsis plant in full bloom.

Also known as tickseed, these joyful sunny-yellow blooms resemble daisies with softly crimped edges to their petals.

There’s a lot of variety with the foliage too as some coreopsis leaves can be broad while others have a strappy, lacy quality.

  • Growing Zones: 4-9
  • Light Requirements: Full sun/light shade
  • Mature Size: 2-4 feet tall, 1-2 feet wide
  • Season of Interest: Spring/summer

14. Shasta Daisy (Leucanthemum x superbum)

The cheerful, white flowers with yellow centers of Shasta daisies.

Shasta daisies create that classic cottage-garden feel with their large golden centers surrounded by pristine white petals.

With 69 varieties to choose from, you can take your pick of tall daisies, dainty dwarf styles, and even ones with curly, twisted petals!

  • Growing Zones: 4-9
  • Light Requirements: Full sun/partial shade
  • Mature Size: 2-3 feet tall, 1-2 feet wide
  • Season of Interest: Summer

15. Verbena (Verbena spp.)

Pink flowers covering a verbena plant.

This tough flowering plant grows with rigid dark-green stems topped with heads of minute star-shaped flowers in colors ranging from white and apricot to orange, pink, red, and bi-color varieties.

Verbena also ranges between uptight, trailing, and mounding growth habits.

  • Growing Zones: 3-11
  • Light Requirements: Full sun
  • Mature Size: 9-12 inches tall, 12-18 inches wide
  • Season of Interest: Summer

16. Agapanthus (Agapanthus spp.)

Blue-and-white flowers of the Agapanthus plant.

Also known as African lily, Agapanthus wows with large trumpet-like flower heads in striking patterns of striped blue and white set against bright-green, strappy leaves.

There are tall and compact varieties to suit underplanting with crepe myrtle shrubs and trees too.

  • Growing Zones: 8-11
  • Light Requirements: Full sun
  • Mature Size: 1-4 feet tall, 1-3 feet wide
  • Season of Interest: Summer

17. Mexican Feather Grass (Nassella tenuissima)

Mexican feather grass swaying in the breeze.

This ultra-compact perennial grass is formed of long pale-green thread-like stems that sway gracefully in the wind.

It’s worth noting that this grass is listed as invasive in California, so a continual removal of seedlings may be necessary.

  • Growing Zones: 7-10
  • Light Requirements: Full sun
  • Mature Size: 24 inches tall & wide
  • Season of Interest: Spring/summer

18. Lamb’s Ear (Stachys byzantine)

The fuzzy foliage of lamb's ear plants.

Lamb’s ear is a distinctive ground cover, producing thick, silvery-green foliage with a fuzzy halo due to its coating of tiny hairs. It also sends out contrasting flower spikes of pink and purple in summer.

  • Growing Zones: 4-8
  • Light Requirements: Full/part sun
  • Mature Size: 12-18 inches tall, 12-26 inches wide
  • Season of Interest: Spring/summer/fall

19. Society Garlic (Tulbaghia violacea)

The pretty, purple flowers of a society garlic plant.

This delicate, edible groundcover features basal leaves of gray-green topped with tall clusters of the prettiest star-shaped flowers in pale lilac and lavender.

Society garlic’s potent scent deters several garden bugs, gophers, and other wildlife.

  • Growing Zones: 7-10
  • Light Requirements: Full sun
  • Mature Size: 1-2 feet tall, 1-3 feet wide
  • Season of Interest: Summer/fall

20. Hydrangeas (Hydrangea spp.)

Blue hydrangea flowers on a healthy bush.

Huge flower heads of vivid pink, white, and blue will really pop underneath your crepe myrtle tree.

Hydrangeas produce large dark-green leaves and range from globular bloom clusters to flat, or conical flowerheads depending on the variety.

  • Growing Zones: 3-7
  • Light Requirements: Morning sun with dappled afternoon light
  • Mature Size: 3-8 feet tall, 4-6 feet wide
  • Season of Interest: Summer/fall

21. Periwinkle (Vinca minor)

Light bloom flowers of a Vinca minor plant in full bloom.

Grown for their foliage and flowers, periwinkle delights with rich blue or lavender five-petal blooms set against broad, glossy leaves that are typically dark green but can also be variegated with shades of white, yellow, and cream edges.

  • Growing Zones: 4-8
  • Light Requirements: Full sun
  • Mature Size: 8-12 inches tall, 12-18 inches wide
  • Season of Interest: Spring/summer

22. Sedum (Sedum spp.)

Sedum plants in full bloom with purple flowers.

Hardy and versatile sedum or “stonecrop” will thrive in most gardens and sends out tight fan clusters of orange, yellow, pink, white, or red star-shaped flowers.

Sedum comes in tall, upright forms or low-growing spreaders for super colorful ground cover.

  • Growing Zones: 3-11
  • Light Requirements: Full sun
  • Mature Size: 1-3 feet tall, 12-18 inches wide
  • Season of Interest: Summer/fall

23. Lenten Rose (Helleborus orientalis)

Dark-pink Hellebore flowers up close.

This elegant flowering plant produces rose-pink buds that bloom to reveal delicately colored buttercup-shaped flowers.

Depending on the variety, Lenten rose can be drooping or upward-facing with different markings and vein patterns and have either smooth or ruffled petals.

  • Growing Zones: 4-9
  • Light Requirements: Full to partial shade in summer
  • Mature Size: 12-18 inches tall & wide
  • Season of Interest: Winter/spring

24. Japanese Forest Grass (Hakonechloa macra)

A row of Japanese forest grass.

This rare and eye-catching ornamental grass produces thin, elongated blades of variegated green and gold.

Airy sprays of greenish-yellow flowers join in summer too, creating a standout feature in the landscape.

  • Growing Zones: 5-9
  • Light Requirements: Full shade
  • Mature Size: 12-18 inches tall & wide
  • Season of Interest: Spring/summer/fall

25. Japanese Painted Fern (Athyrium niponicum)

A close look at a green-and-white Japanese painted fern.

The deeply lobed foliage of this fern plant creates a stunning texture, but the exquisite variegated detail is the key feature.

Burgundy veins contrast with the gray and dark green leaves, creating a frosted, painted appearance.

  • Growing Zones: 5-8
  • Light Requirements: Full shade
  • Mature Size: 12-24 inches tall & wide
  • Season of Interest: Spring/summer

26. Azalea (Rhododendron spp.)

Pink azalea flowers on the tips of branches.

This staple shrub looks good in any planting scheme with its vibrant bloom clusters of pink, orange, red, white, and yellow funnel-shaped flowers set against dark-green or variegated leaves.

  • Growing Zones: 6-9
  • Light Requirements: Full sun/part shade
  • Mature Size: 4-6 feet tall, 6-8 feet wide
  • Season of Interest: Spring/summer

Closing Thoughts

Whatever your preferred underplanting theme is — an oasis of softly swaying ornamental grasses to vivid flowerheads and striking foliage patterns — there are many amazing and versatile plants to pair with your crepe myrtle tree.

A lot of these picks grow best in full sun conditions, so be sure to map out your planting scheme well to get the most out of your companion plants.