Alphabetical Plant Listing

Morella cerifera (Southern Wax Myrtle)

Wax Myrtle, Southern Wax Myrtle, Southern Bayberry, Eastern Bayberry, Bayberry, Candleberry, Tallow Shrub, Cerothamnus ceriferus, Cerothamnus pumilus, Morella cerifera var. pumila, Myrica cerifera, Myrica cerifera var. pumila, Myrica pusilla


Fast-growing, Morella cerifera (Southern Wax Myrtle) is a densely bushy, evergreen shrub with glossy, aromatic, oblanceolate, olive green leaves, 3-5 in. long (7-12 cm).  The foliage emits a bayberry candle fragrance when crushed. Inconspicuous fragrant flowers borne in catkins appear in spring. Southern Wax Myrtle is dioecious, with male and female flowers on separate plants. The female plants give way to attractive clusters of waxy, pale blue berries in late summer, persisting through winter. They provide food for many species of birds. Easy to grow and easy care, Southern Wax Myrtle is valued for its showy berries and dense, shiny evergreen foliage. Very versatile, it is a popular choice for screens, hedges, shrub borders, erosion control along stream banks or wetland gardens. Since it is nitrogen fixing, it is useful for restoration projects. An excellent evergreen shrub, especially for coastal plantings due to its tolerance to salt spray. At least one male plant must be present for female plants to produce berries. The waxy berries were used by colonists to make bayberry candles, soaps and sealing wax.

  • Grows up to 10-15 ft. tall and wide (3-5 m) and 8-10 ft. wide (2-3 m). Tends to sucker to form large colonies.
  • Performs best in full sun or part shade, in average, medium to wet, slightly acid soils. Best berry production is obtained in full sun. Requires constant moisture to get established, but tolerates drought, flooding once established. Tolerates salt spray, heat, but may be damaged by high winds, snow, and ice.
  • No serious pest or disease issues. Keep an eye out for leaf anthracnose and leaf mosaic. Deer and rabbit resistant.
  • Responds well to pruning and frequent shearing. It can be allowed to develop into an airy hedge.
  • Propagate by seeds, semi-hardwood cuttings, softwood cuttings.
  • Native to North America, Central America, Caribbean.

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Requirements

Hardiness 7 – 10
Plant Type Shrubs
Exposure Full Sun, Partial Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Early,Mid,Late)
Summer (Early,Mid,Late)
Fall
Winter
Height 10' – 15' (3m – 4.5m)
Spread 8' – 10' (240cm – 3m)
Spacing 96" – 120" (240cm – 300cm)
Water Needs Average, High
Maintenance Low
Soil Type Clay, Loam
Soil pH Acid, Neutral
Soil Drainage Moist but Well-Drained
Characteristics Showy, Evergreen, Fruit & Berries
Native Plants United States, Northeast, Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, Southeast, Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, Southwest, Oklahoma, Texas
Tolerance Deer, Drought, Rabbit, Salt, Wet Soil
Attracts Birds, Butterflies
Garden Uses Banks and Slopes, Beds and Borders, Hedges and Screens, Ponds and Streams
Garden Styles Coastal Garden, Informal and Cottage, Prairie and Meadow

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Forest and Kim Starr (Flickr)

While every effort has been made to describe these plants accurately, please keep in mind that height, bloom time, and color may differ in various climates. The description of these plants has been written based on numerous outside resources.


Requirements

Hardiness 7 – 10
Plant Type Shrubs
Exposure Full Sun, Partial Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Early,Mid,Late)
Summer (Early,Mid,Late)
Fall
Winter
Height 10' – 15' (3m – 4.5m)
Spread 8' – 10' (240cm – 3m)
Spacing 96" – 120" (240cm – 300cm)
Water Needs Average, High
Maintenance Low
Soil Type Clay, Loam
Soil pH Acid, Neutral
Soil Drainage Moist but Well-Drained
Characteristics Showy, Evergreen, Fruit & Berries
Native Plants United States, Northeast, Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, Southeast, Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, Southwest, Oklahoma, Texas
Tolerance Deer, Drought, Rabbit, Salt, Wet Soil
Attracts Birds, Butterflies
Garden Uses Banks and Slopes, Beds and Borders, Hedges and Screens, Ponds and Streams
Garden Styles Coastal Garden, Informal and Cottage, Prairie and Meadow

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