The Myrtle is a distinctive small evergreen shrub or tree native to North Africa and the Mediterranean. This means that it does not thrive relatively well-grown outdoors in the UK and other colder areas. However, they make great indoor plants due to their aromatic white blossom that provides a welcome addition to any house and other benefits.
The myrtle plant holds its leaves all year round and maintains a manageable size. It blooms during late summer with elegant white flowers followed by edible blue blackberries in the autumn. Read this Myrtle plant care guide to know how to take care of the plant.
Does The Myrtle Plant Have Any Other Names?
The scientific name for the evergreen common myrtle tree is Myrtus communis. Myrtle is a common name for many trees and other plants in the myrtle family. However, the common myrtle plant has no other names.
Different Types of CommoMyrtle Plants
There are several different types of myrtle trees and shrubs, with most of them sharing similar characteristics. They either have culinary, ornamental, or medicinal values. This makes the myrtle plant very famous worldwide. The common types of Myrtle plants include;
- Chilean Myrtle
- True Myrtle
- Saharan Myrtle
- Lemon Myrtle
- Willow Myrtle
- Rose Myrtle
- Strawberry Myrtle
Main Uses of Myrtle Plants
The Myrtle plant is a gorgeous evergreen shrub that blossoms with white flowers and blue blackberries. It makes an excellent ornamental tree that can be grown both outdoors and indoors. The ancient Romans and Greeks linked the myrtle plant with virginity and love, and hence Myrtle twigs with small, dark green and lanceolate leaves and elegant white flowers are often used for bridal wreaths and bouquets.
Also, the flowers and berries are edible. The ripe berries can be eaten fresh or made into a drink. Dried flower buds and fruits create flavor syrups and sauces used as an aromatic food flavoring in savory dishes.
The leaves and twigs are used to make an essential oil known as Myrtle with antiseptic, antibiotic, astringent, and antidiarrheal properties.
How to Prune Myrtle Plants
The best time to prune the plant is after the flowering period. After flowering, you should allow the new shoots to grow until they produce 6 to 8 pairs of leaves before cutting them back. After trimming the Myrtle, you should ensure to leave a pair of leaves on each twig to ensure new buds will be produced. Place a cut paste on more significant cut wounds.
Best Soil for Myrtle Plants
Myrtus communis does best in moist, well-drained soil. The plant adapts well to sand or clay soil. However, you should plant it in a loam-based compost with good ventilation and filtered light for best results. Look out for iron chlorosis that occurs in highly alkaline soil with a pH higher than 8.3. The plant does not do well in lime, and the leaves start to turn yellowish. In this case, lower the soil PH with the treatment of nitrogen fertilizer or elemental sulfur.
How Much Light Do Myrtle Plants Need?
The Myrtle plant thrives best in full to partial sun in a location sheltered from drying, cold wind. When grown indoors, it will require a lot of air and light. During the hot summer, set it in a semi-shade outdoors. In autumn and winter, place the plant in a cool room where temperatures are approximately 50 degrees Fahrenheit underneath grow lights. You should aim for about six hours of good, indirect sunlight every day.
How Often to Water Myrtle Plants
You should always keep the Myrtle tree root ball moist. Don’t allow it to dry out completely but also avoid excess watering and soil wetness. However, drying out completely will kill it immediately. Water the plant when the topsoil layer starts to feel dry.
If possible, use rainwater for watering because myrtle tree doesn’t do well in high lime concentrations. If tap water is the only available option, fill it in a jug and leave it on the side several hours before watering. This will allow the water to warm up to room temperature and allow various chemicals such as chlorine to evaporate.
Ideal Temperature Conditions for Myrtle Plants
This plant thrives well in USDA Zones 8-11. It tolerates temperatures above 10 degrees Celsius. If you are located in cold regions, it is best to keep your myrtle tree indoors for most periods of the year. During the summer, when the weather is mild and warm, you can place the plant outdoors. However, ensure to keep the plant indoors if the temperature drops below 10 degrees Celsius.
Humidity Conditions for Myrtle Plants
The Myrtle plant thrives best in moderate humidity of about forty percent. It does not tolerate high humidity. High humidity promotes the development of powdery mildew and other fungal diseases. On the other hand, dry air can negatively affect the general condition and flowering. You should hence maintain relative humidity during hot summer days by spraying water on the leaves.
Best Fertilizer for Myrtle Plants
Begin to fertilize your myrtle tree early when the growing season begins. Use water-soluble liquid fertilizer each week during the growing season and summer. Feed the last fertilizer in the autumn when the growth is slow. Do not fertilize the Myrtle plant in winter when there is minimal growth. If the winter location you place the plant is more than 10 degrees Celsius, it will continue to grow. Hence you should continue feeding it a little fertilizer twice a month.
How to Propagate Myrtle Plants
The Myrtle Plants can be propagated from stem cuttings and seeds. You will get the best results in summer and spring with semi-hardwood stem cuttings. Propagation is also possible with air-layering.
Growth Rate of Myrtle Plants
The myrtle plants have a moderate growth rate. Depending on the conditions and variety of the Myrtle plant, this long-lived perennial tree can grow up to 16 feet tall within ten to twenty years.
Ideal Pot Size for Myrtle Plants
The ideal pot size for the Myrtle plant is one that gives the roots sufficient room to grow. A pot at least 30 cm wide or bigger will be good to go. You should report the plant to a bigger pot after 2 to 3 years, which will also help replenish the soil nutrients.
Repotting Tips for Myrtle Plants
You should report young myrtles after every two to three years or when the tree outgrows its current pot, and the matured older plants every three to five years to replenish the soil and maintain a healthy tree.
When selecting the next pot, you should consider a 2-3 inches larger size than the current pot. Also, ensure the new pot has good drainage with holes in the bottom and report using lime-free, free-draining compost.
Are Myrtle Plants Edible?
The myrtle plant produces pea-sized bluish-black fruit that contains up to thirty seeds. The fruits and flowers are edible and are sometimes used for making liquor. They can also be dried to make savory food flavors.
Are Myrtle Plants Toxic to Cats and Dogs?
Absolutely NOT! Myrtle plants do not have toxic substances that can be harmful to your dogs, cats, or even children.
Is The Myrtle (Myrtus Communis) Plants Poisonous?
NO! There is yet no evidence of myrtle plants being poisonous. The plants, berries, and flowers are edible, and the leaves make essential oils with proven medicinal values.
Do Myrtle Plants Prefer To Grow Indoors Or Outside?
The myrtle plant does best in outdoor warm temperate climatic conditions. They often require a long warm summer to blossom. However, they also thrive well indoors, particularly in cold seasons or when used as indoor ornamentals, as long as you follow the proper plant care guides.
What Are Some Other Great Outdoor Plants?
- Bloodleaf Plant Care (Iresine Herbstii)
- Coral Plant Care (Jatropha Multifida)
- Firecracker Plant Care (Russelia Equisetiformis)
- Gopher Plant Care (Euphorbia Rigida)
- Lemongrass Plant Care
- Obedient Plant Care (Physostegia Virginiana)
- Tequila Plant Care (Blue Agave)
- Whale Fin Plant Care (Sansevieria Masoniana)