Myrica californica Pacific Wax Myrtle
Hailed as “one of the best-looking native plants for gardens” by The New Sunset Western Garden Book, Myrica californica is not only good-looking but extremely adaptable to a variety of growing conditions. This evergreen shrub is very tolerant of wind and salt-spray, so it’s a good choice for seaside landscapes. It thrives in moist areas but also gets along fine with minimal irrigation. It tolerates sandy, loamy or clay soils and is useful for habitat restoration, as it builds soil health and vitality by transferring nitrogen and water to neighboring plants, thus reducing the need for added fertilizers and irrigation.
If allowed, it grows a whopping 15-30 feet tall and 10-12 feet wide, but can be easily pruned into a more manageable formal hedge. Pacific Wax Myrtle is well known for its size, and is the perfect choice for a natural screen. Do you want to block out the noise of traffic (or noisy neighbors)? This is the plant for you! Do you have an unsightly area of the garden that you wish to block? This long-lived, multi-branched perennial is up for the job!
Plant Myrica californica in full sun along the coast, afternoon shade inland. If planted in hot summer regions, provide occasional deep watering and rinsing of the leaves during the hot dry season. The shiny, medium green leaves have a pleasant fragrance and look neat and tidy all year. This is a monoecious plant, meaning it has both male (staminate), and female (pistillate) flowers growing on the same plant. The flowers that bloom in early spring are rather nondescript, but the purple berries that appear in early summer and ripen in autumn attract an array of birds to the garden.
The Sunset Climate zones for Myrica californica are 4-9, 14-24. We are currently growing this outstanding California native in 1 gallon containers.