Crape Myrtle vs Boxwood: What Are The Differences?

Whether you’re an amateur gardener or a seasoned green thumb, the choice of plants can dramatically impact the look and feel of your landscape. When choosing between popular plants like the vibrant Crape Myrtle or the lush Boxwood, understanding their characteristics and needs can help you make an informed decision.

In this guide, we delve into the differences between these two popular plants, exploring their growing conditions, flower vibrancy, temperature tolerance, and more, to help you choose the plant that’s just right for your garden.

Crape Myrtle vs Boxwood: What Are The Differences?

Crape Myrtle and Boxwood are two popular plant species, each having unique characteristics. Crape Myrtles, botanical name Lagerstroemia, are known for their vibrant summer and fall flowers, and beautiful, peeling bark. These deciduous trees or shrubs can be recognized by their clusters of blossoms in a range of colors including pink, purple, red, and white.

On the other hand, Boxwoods, botanical name Buxus, are evergreen shrubs popular for their dense, green foliage. They are commonly used in landscapes for hedges and borders due to their ability to be pruned into a variety of shapes. Unlike the Crape Myrtle, Boxwoods do not produce showy flowers, instead, they have small, less noticeable flowers.

The two plants differ greatly in their growth habit as well. While Crape Myrtles can grow into large shrubs or small trees, Boxwoods remain compact and small, making them ideal for controlled landscaping designs.

Which Plant Is Easier To Grow: Crape Myrtle Or Boxwood?

In terms of ease of growing, both Crape Myrtle and Boxwood can be relatively simple to cultivate depending on your location and conditions. Crape Myrtles thrive in full sun and well-drained soil, and they are quite drought tolerant once established. They require little pruning unless for aesthetic purposes and are relatively resistant to most diseases and pests.

Boxwoods, while requiring a bit more care and attention, are still relatively easy to grow. They prefer partial to full sun and well-drained soil. Regular pruning is necessary to maintain their shape and promote dense growth. Moreover, they are tolerant to a variety of soil conditions, making them versatile for different landscapes.

Are Crape Myrtle And Boxwood Annuals Or Perennials?

Crape Myrtle and Boxwood are both perennials. Crape Myrtles are deciduous perennials, meaning they lose their leaves in the winter, but their stems remain alive and the plant regrows in the spring. On the contrary, Boxwoods are evergreen perennials, maintaining their foliage all year round.

The Crape Myrtle has a spectacular blooming period in the summer, followed by attractive autumn foliage and appealing winter bark. Boxwood, on the other hand, provides consistent greenery throughout the year and is less subject to seasonal change.

Do Crape Myrtle And Boxwood Attract Bees And Butterflies?

Crape Myrtles are known to attract pollinators like bees and butterflies due to their vibrant, fragrant flowers. They can act as a great source of nectar during their blooming period, which can extend from late spring into the fall.

Boxwoods, while not as attractive to pollinators as Crape Myrtles, can still draw bees when in bloom due to the flowers’ mild fragrance. The small, inconspicuous flowers of Boxwood may not be a standout feature, but they do contribute to the overall biodiversity of your garden.

Which Plant Has More Vibrant Flowers: Crape Myrtle Or Boxwood?

When it comes to flower vibrancy, Crape Myrtles easily take the crown. The flowers, which appear in large, showy clusters, range in color from white to pink, red, and purple, and can create a truly stunning display in the summer and early fall.

Boxwoods, by contrast, produce much smaller and less noticeable flowers. They are usually greenish-yellow and do not stand out against the foliage. Therefore, if you are seeking a plant for its vibrant blooms, Crape Myrtle would be the clear winner.

Can Crape Myrtle And Boxwood Tolerate Hot Temperatures?

Both Crape Myrtle and Boxwood can tolerate hot temperatures to a certain extent. Crape Myrtles are renowned for their heat tolerance. In fact, they thrive in warmer climates, making them an excellent choice for hot, southern regions of the United States.

Boxwoods can also handle heat, although they may require a bit more care in extremely hot conditions. They prefer some shade during the hottest part of the day to prevent leaf scorch, particularly when planted in locations with strong afternoon sun.

What Are The Ideal Growing Conditions For Crape Myrtle And Boxwood?

For Crape Myrtles, the ideal growing conditions are full sun, warm temperatures, and well-drained soil. They are relatively drought-tolerant and can thrive in a wide range of soil types, though they prefer slightly acidic soil. Crape Myrtles also appreciate good air circulation to help prevent disease.

Boxwoods prefer well-drained soil and a location with partial to full sun. They can tolerate a variety of soil types, including sand, clay, and loam, as long as the soil drains well. Unlike Crape Myrtles, Boxwoods can tolerate more shade, though too much shade can lead to less dense growth and a higher susceptibility to disease.

How Tall Do Crape Myrtle And Boxwood Typically Grow?

Crape Myrtle and Boxwood vary significantly in their growth patterns. Crape Myrtles can range from dwarf varieties that grow just 3-5 feet tall to tree varieties that can reach 20-30 feet in height. Their spread is typically similar to their height, giving them a rounded or vase-like shape.

Boxwoods, on the other hand, are compact shrubs that typically range from 2 to 12 feet in height, depending on the specific variety. They have a spread that is similar to or slightly less than their height, and they can be easily pruned to maintain the desired size and shape.

Are Crape Myrtle And Boxwood Prone To Any Specific Diseases Or Pests?

Both Crape Myrtle and Boxwood can be prone to certain diseases and pests. Crape Myrtles may be susceptible to Crape Myrtle Bark Scale, a type of pest that can cause a black sooty mold to develop on the tree. Other possible issues include Powdery Mildew and Leaf Spot.

Boxwoods are most commonly affected by Boxwood Blight, a serious fungal disease that can cause defoliation and even death of the plant. They may also be troubled by pests such as Boxwood Leafminer, Boxwood Mite, and Boxwood Psyllid.

Can Crape Myrtle And Boxwood Be Grown In Containers?

Yes, both Crape Myrtle and Boxwood can be successfully grown in containers. For Crape Myrtles, dwarf varieties are best suited for container gardening. They require a large container, quality potting soil, and regular watering and fertilizing.

Boxwoods also make excellent container plants, especially smaller and slow-growing varieties. They thrive in containers with good drainage and a high-quality potting mix. Boxwoods in containers will require regular watering, especially in the heat of summer, as containers can dry out quickly.