Wax Myrtle or Southern Bayberry
A popular ornamental, Wax Myrtle has attractive evergreen foliage, is a fast grower, and responds well to pruning. Its leaves and fruit smell like bayberry when crushed. Wax myrtle is a Florida Native Plant which can and has been used as a source of wax for bayberry candles. The waxy berries are a high energy food loved by many different types of native and migratory birds in the winter. Wax Myrtle responds well to pruning.
The leaves and berries of Wax Myrtle may be used for flavoring meats (especially wild game) and stews in a manner similar to Bay leaves or Juniper berries.
Common Name: Wax Myrtle, Southern Bayberry
Botanical Name: Myrica cerifera
Plant Type: Deciduous or evergreen small tree or shrub.
Height: 15 – 25′ tall to 15′ wide
Soil Requirements: Various soils, does best in well-drained, moist and rich soil. Medium salt tolerance.
Water Requirements: Medium drought tolerance.
Light Requirements: Full sun to part shade.
Leaves: Leathery, medium green, narrow leaves, 4″ long.
Flowers: Not showy, green.
Fruit: Waxy blue-gray fruit on female plants is a major source of food for wildlife.
Uses: Often used as a screen or hedge and in median and buffer strips. Makes a wonderful specimen and planter plant. As the roots of the plant fix nitrogen like legumes, do not fertilize them.
Propagation: Seeds, greenwood cuttings in early or midsummer.
Sources (“As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.”): AMERICAN HORTICULTURAL SOCIETY A-Z ENCYCLOPEDIA OF GARDEN PLANTS; BETROCK’S FLORIDA PLANT GUIDE; NEW ENCYCLOPEADIA OF HERBS & THEIR USES