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Description

The dwarf myrtle slowly grows into a medium size evergreen shrub up to 5-8 ft. high and as wide. It is one of the most popular and well adapted plants for clipped hedge and topiary uses. Foliage is comprised of 1-2 in. long pointed leaves that are bright glossy green and have a spicy fragrance when clipped or crushed. Noticeable clusters of small white flowers are pleasantly fragrant and occur in spring; these are often removed when plants are sheared.

Myrtle is native to Europe where it occurs in coastal and inland habitats around the Mediterranean region. It has been cultivated in gardens for centuries for scented oils contained within its foliage, flowers and bark. These oils are widely used in the production of perfumes. In Southern California, this plant has shown wide adaptability to a variety of soil types, including calcareous. The best foliage character is maintained with regular moisture, particular when grown as a hedge. Older plants can be pruned to reveal twisting trunks that have an interesting bark character for specimen value in raised planters.

Water Needs

The dwarf myrtle is well adapted to sunny garden locations, many soils and moderate amounts of supplemental water during summer. The chart shown below provides a recommended baseline guide to the monthly irrigation schedule and volume of supplemental water needed to maintain healthy growth throughout the average year. It should be noted there are several months indicated by an asterisk (*) when winter rains can provide sufficient moisture and irrigation is not needed. The high and low range of moisture indicates it can grow with varying amounts of water.

Irrigation Schedule and Graph

Moderate Water Use Plants

Irrigation Schedule 3

  Jan* Feb* Mar* Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov* Dec*
Runs per Month 0x to 3x 0x to 3x 0x to 3x 2x to 3x 1x to 2x 1x to 2x 1x to 2x 1x to 2x 1x to 2x 2x to 3x 0x to 3x 0x to 3x
Inches per Run 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1"
 
Inches per Month 0" to 3" 0" to 3" 0" to 3" 2" to 3" 1" to 2" 1" to 2" 1" to 2" 1" to 2" 1" to 2" 2" to 3" 0" to 3" 0" to 3"

Range of supplemental summer water: 9"-16"
Range of supplemental winter water: 0"-15"

 
0"-3"
0"-3"
0"-3"
2"-3"
1"-2"
1"-2"
1"-2"
1"-2"
1"-2"
2"-3"
0"-3"
0"-3"
  Jan* Feb* Mar* Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov* Dec*
For more information on how to use this Irrigation Schedule and Graph, follow this link.

For information how to calculate your irrigation system’s schedule and precipitation rate, please follow this link.

Plant Properties

Plant Type: Shrub
Foliage Character: Evergreen
Habit: Upright, Mounding, Low-branching, Dense, Compact
Growth Rate: Moderate
Height: 5 ft. - 8 ft.
Width: 5 ft. - 8 ft.
Water Needs: Moderate 3
Foliage Color: Medium green
Flower Color: White
Flower Season: Summer
Soil Adaptations: Well-draining soil, Silt, Loam, Clay, Calcareous soil
Exposure Adaptations: Wind, Morning sun, Heat, Frost, All day sun
Function: Screening, Residential spaces, Raised planters, Grouped, Foundations, Foliage accent plant, Flowering accent plant, Espalier, Commercial spaces, Civic spaces, Borders, Banks, Background plant, Fragrant foliage, Hedge

Maintenance

Dwarf Myrtle is a very tough plant that requires little to no pruning to maintain its dense compact form, if you desire it to be the size it will naturally grow to. Most often it is used in the landscape as a hedge or clipped shrub, which can be sheared as needed any time of year (D). It is best to shear consistently, so that cutting is always done into the portion of branches with leaves below it, for best appearance, although plants have no problems if cut back to smaller branches below leaves (they just look bare until they regrow). If hedges or clipped shrubs are pruned back to the exact same point every time, they will eventually develop woody growth at the cut points that will eventually need to be pruned out. To avoid this, try to cut back to a slightly different spot each time while maintaining the same overall look. Pruning a small, residential scale, low hedge, can normal be more attractively done with a nice sharp pair of manual hedge shears rather than a more dangerous, bulky, and easier to lose control of electric or gas trimmer. For hedges, to ensure the lower branches to not get shaded out over time by the upper branches and die, it is best to slightly taper the vertical edge of the hedge so the top part of the hedge is cut slightly further back from the bottom part. This will make sure the lower part of the hedge maintains good sunlight exposure (S).

References

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