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Wax Myrtle

Wax Myrtle


Description: Wax Myrtle is known for its aromatic foliage, which releases a pleasant fragrance when crushed or bruised. It typically grows as a multi-stemmed shrub but can also be trained into a small tree with a single trunk. The leaves are leathery, glossy, and lance-shaped, measuring 2 to 4 inches (5 to 10 cm) in length. The shrub produces small, waxy berries that are bluish-gray in color and persist throughout the winter, providing food for wildlife. Wax Myrtle is dioecious, meaning male and female flowers are borne on separate plants, with only female plants producing berries.

Size: In its shrub form, Wax Myrtle typically grows to heights of 6 to 12 feet (1.8 to 3.7 meters) with a similar spread. However, it can also be pruned to maintain a more compact size. In ideal conditions, it can reach up to 20 feet (6 meters) in height. As a tree, it can grow up to 20 to 30 feet (6 to 9 meters) tall, with a narrower crown.

Best Growing Zones: Wax Myrtle is well-suited to USDA hardiness zones 7 through 10. It thrives in warm, temperate climates with mild winters and is relatively tolerant of a wide range of growing conditions. It is commonly found along coastal areas but can also be grown inland in suitable climates. Wax Myrtle is particularly well-adapted to sandy soils and salt spray, making it an excellent choice for coastal landscapes.

Soil Requirements: Wax Myrtle prefers moist, well-drained soil but can tolerate a variety of soil types, including sandy, loamy, or clay soil. It is relatively drought-tolerant once established and can withstand periodic flooding or wet conditions. This plant is also tolerant of salt spray, making it suitable for coastal landscapes.

Maintenance: Wax Myrtle is a low-maintenance plant. It requires minimal pruning but can be pruned to maintain shape or remove dead or damaged branches. Pruning is best done in late winter or early spring before new growth begins. Wax Myrtle is relatively pest and disease resistant, but it may occasionally be affected by issues such as scale insects or sooty mold. These problems can usually be managed with proper cultural practices.

Landscape Use: Wax Myrtle is valued for its aromatic foliage, attractive berries, and tolerance to a variety of growing conditions. It can be used as a hedge, screen, border, or specimen plant in gardens, parks, and landscapes. It is also suitable for planting along property boundaries or in naturalized areas, where it provides habitat and food for wildlife. Additionally, Wax Myrtle can be planted in containers for use on patios or decks.

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