Myrtus communis (also called Common Myrtle)
Bushy, medium sized, evergreen shrub grown for aromatic glossy foliage and the profusion of attractive white flowers which open in mid to late summer. In hot summer, the flowers may be followed by black fruits. The plant tends to grow quite quickly when it is young, slowing with age.
In warm areas it can be used for hedging but, for most parts of the UK, it might be best grown singly in a sheltered area, such as against a wall. Can also be grown under glass.
The flowers are very attractive to beneficial hoverflies.
Foliage all year round, flowers in summer.
Habit - bushy, upright. H&S: 2.5m.
Stems - slender, smooth, rounded, mid-brown.
Leaves - ovate, glossy, smooth, mid to dark green. Aromatic when brushed against.
Flowers - in good years, during a hot summer, will bear a profusion of white flowers, 2cm across. Each flower has many stamens, which protrude from the flower in a firework-like burst. Flowers may be followed by black fruits, if the weather has been warm enough.
Sheltered, south or west facing.
Neutral to alkaline. Prefers soil to be moist but well-drained or well-drained.
Not fully hardy, may need winter protection. Protect from very cold or drying winds.
I keep my plant in a container and bring it close to the house over winter, where it seems contented enough. It didn't seem unduly bothered by the winter of '05-'06, though some of the newly opening foliage was affected by frost, turning some of the leaf tips brown.
Prune lightly to maintain shape in mid to late spring and apply a mulch of compost to the base of the plant. Plants grown for hedging can be harder pruned.
By seed in late winter, layering or semi-hardwood cuttings in summer.
Garden Plant Information list of plant care info by botanical name