A family of fragrant tender evergreen shrubs and trees from warm-temperate regions. The common variety grows well in mild regions of the UK, especially if sheltered against a sunny wall.
Botanical Name: Myrtus (mur-tus)
Common Names: Myrtle
Foliage: Shiny evergreen leathery ovate leaves, aromatic when bruised.
Flowers: White, bowl-shaped flowers with prominent stamens, followed by dark fleshy berries.
Flowering Period: July-August.
Soil: Moist but well-drained soil (chalk, clay, sand or loam). Acid, alkaline or neutral pH.
Conditions: Full sun. Plant in a west or south facing aspect, in a sheltered position.
Type: Shrub or small tree.
Origin: Mediterranean region.
Hardiness: Half-hardy in UK.
Plant in a well-drained fertile loamy soil in a warm sunny situation. Protect from cold winds and severe frost.
Myrtle can be grown outside under the protection of a south or west facing wall in mild southern and coastal regions. Alternatively, it can be container grown in a cool greenhouse or conservatory and brought outside in summer.
Lightly prune to keep within bounds and tidy up the plant's shape in May. Trim back any frost-damaged branches of externally grown plants in late spring.
Generally trouble free.
Layer in early autumn or take semi-hardwood heel cuttings in July-August and root in a warm frame or heated propagator.
Myrtus communis (common myrtle) is a bushy medium-sized evergreen shrub. Bears fragrant white flowers in July-August, followed by purplish-black berries. Needs winter protection in cold areas. Height and spread to around 8-12ft (2.4-3.5m). For sale at Crocus. Cultivars include: