Myrtus communis (True Myrtle)

Beloved of the gods, the ancient Greeks and Queen Victoria, who carried a sprig on her wedding bouquet signifying love. Please contact us for stock availability and sizes.

Hardiness traffic light amber

Hardiness level Amber

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A truly lovely evergreen shrub reaching 2metres over 10 years. This sounds a bit pedestrian but that’s the basics. Read on.


Humans and Myrtles have a long, shared history. Artistically, symbolically and ritually significant since ancient times (records from 600 B.C.E suggest the medicinal qualities of this plant were well understood and utilised) For those tuned into the Greco-Roman soap operas, Aphrodite and Demeter were associated with it and depicted, diaphanously-robed, wearing wreaths of the stuff. It’s said to be symbolic of honour, justice, generosity, hope and love. And prosperity.

Goodness but this shrub has been doing some heavy lifting for a while now.

We celebrate it here, too, where it has an actual job to do and one which it does admirably. Its corporeal qualities include pretty white flowers which appear all along the tawny stems from July to August. These are sweetly-scented and while subtle they do slosh a good dose of that Mediterranean sunshine-and-citrus cologne over you when the breeze brings it. The foliage, too, is aromatic and has a nice smart glossiness to it which is delicate but sturdy and emerald green. The little leaves give the plant a feathery silhouette and once the blooms fade there will be a sprinkling of pretty berries clustered among them, the colour of a turtle doves breast.

Clipped (gently) into neat boules and kept low they make quite a special edge-hedge (that’s one you can step over without having to hitch up your diaphanous robe too high) for defining formal-ish planting. We’ve seen some especially nice crown-raised examples and this is a nice way to have them: proper little trees with canopies and their lovely soft deerskin bark on display.

Happy on any soil that is moist but well drained and great for a sunny courtyard or cosy corner in a city garden. Avoid cold winds if you can: best in a south or west facing position that offers some shelter.


N.B. When clipping several plants with the same tool, have a bucket containing a 5% bleach solution and swish your blades around for 30 seconds between plants to sterilise them. This will help avoid the chance of cross contamination of disease.

As with all woody plants, plant high, exposing as much of the taper at the base of the trunk as possible. Allowing soil to accumulate round the base of a tree can be fatal. Keep very well-watered when first planted.


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