Wax myrtle is a popular evergreen shrub that can grow into a small tree over time. It grows well in Florida, is prized for its shiny green leaves, and is often grown as a hedge.
These plants grow well in both moist and dry soils, making them a versatile choice for many landscapes. Let’s look at how to grow and care for a Wax Myrtle plant in Florida.
What is a Wax Myrtle plant?
Wax myrtle is a member of the family Myrtaceae. It has the botanical name Myrica cerifera and grows well in USDA zones 7 to 9. The leaves of the Wax Myrtle tree are shiny and feel waxy to the touch. Historically they were used to make candles. The plant also has a lovely fragrance, and the plant’s essence is used throughout the beauty industry.
Whether you’re looking for a beautiful shrub to plant in your yard or want to grow a hedge, the Wax Myrtle is an attractive choice. These shrubs are fast-growing and can grow approximately 3 feet per year until they reach maturity.
How to grow care for a Wax Myrtle
While wax myrtle is typically easy to grow, there are a few things to keep in mind when caring for wax myrtle plants. These plants are salty tolerant, which means that they grow well in coastal areas of Florida. Once established, they are also moderately drought resistant and can cope with the hot summer weather.
Here are some tips to help you successfully grow a thriving plant:
Wax myrtles thrive in full sun to partial shade.
Wax Myrtles can tolerate many soil types as long as they are well-draining. They do best when the pH of the soil is between 6 and 8; this is neutral to slightly acidic. Mulching with pine bark, cypress or cedar mulch, cocoa, chipped hardwood, or other additives can help to keep the soil cool and moist.
Watering is vital for wax myrtle care. Wax myrtles are fairly drought-resistant; however, they prefer moist but well-draining soil. If left completely unwatered, the leaves may begin to yellow and fall off. Moisture stress can also cause branches to die back or may even kill the entire plant.
Fertilizing is not necessary for wax myrtle care in Florida. If your soil is of poor quality and deficient in nutrients, you can add a general fertilizer to improve your plant’s health.
Pruning is also unnecessary for most wax myrtles; however, if desired, light pruning can be done in late winter or early spring. Prune out any dead or damaged branches and then shape the plant to your liking.
Pests and disease
Insects and diseases are rarely a problem for wax myrtles in Florida. Aphids, leafhoppers, whiteflies, spider mites, and scale may infest wax myrtles; however, these pests rarely become severe enough to require chemical control.
Wax myrtles can be propagated by rooting hardwood cuttings taken from new growth in late winter or early spring. Follow these steps for successful propagation:
1) Remove the leaves from the lower half of a wax myrtle branch and leave it to dry out.
2) After one week, remove the branch using a sharp knife or pruning shears. Ensure that you make a clean cut above a node on the branch. Nodes are where leaves and branches originate from the stem.
3) Dip the cut end of the branch into a rooting hormone and place it in a pot filled with moistened soil, sand, vermiculite, or perlite.
4) Keep the soil moist but not wet and place it in a warm location. The rooting hormone will help promote root growth.
5) After several months, the plant will have grown roots and established itself. You can then transfer the plant to your yard.
Other ways to care for a Wax Myrtle
In addition to pruning and propagation, there are a few other things you can do to keep your wax myrtle healthy:
• Remove weeds by hand as they appear around the base of the plant.
• If the leaves turn yellow, it may be due to too much or too little water. Adjust your watering schedule as necessary.
• Apply a layer of organic mulch around the base of the plant to help retain moisture and suppress weed growth.
Wax Myrtle Florida: Conclusion
The wax myrtle plant makes an excellent addition or accent to a yard or garden. Its attractive foliage and fragrant flowers are sure to please, and its easy care makes it a popular choice for many homeowners.
The wax myrtle is a versatile shrub that grows well in many different types of soil; it is a popular choice for Florida landscapes. By following these simple tips, you can help your wax myrtle thrive and grow into a beautiful, fragrant plant.