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Mr. Smarty Plants - Ensuring survival of wax myrtle in Wilmington, NC

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Wednesday - July 29, 2009

From: Wilmington,, NC
Region: Southeast
Topic: Planting, Transplants, Trees
Title: Ensuring survival of wax myrtle in Wilmington, NC
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I just transplanted some wax myrtle bushes. What do I need to do to insure they live?

ANSWER:

Two species of the Morella genus, Morella caroliniensis (southern bayberry) and Morella cerifera (wax myrtle) are native in or near to New Hanover County, in the southern tip of North Carolina.  We don't know which you have, but they are similar in care requirements.

Morella caroliniensis (southern bayberry) - requires sun, moist soil, can grow in clay, loam or sand. More  information and pictures

Morella cerifera (wax myrtle) - requires moist soil, sun or part shade, prefers sandy, lightly acidic soils

Since both of these plants are native to your area, you should not have to worry too much about their survival. They do need to be well-watered; when they are in the early days of planting, a hose stuck down in the dirt around the roots and allowed to dribble for a while a couple times a week is a good idea. Don't fertilize them until Spring, if then, (native plants should not need fertilizer). If you have already planted them, and they are not getting much sun (around 6 hours a day) they may not prosper and will surely grow more slowly. 

These plants are dioecious, that is, you must have both a male and a female plant within about 40 feet of each other in order for there to be berries on the female plant. Probably all of the plants in the nursery, if that is where you obtained the plants you now have, had berries on them because they were all females and had been pollinated before they were put on the market. Most plants offered commercially are clones, products of reproduction by rooting cuttings, which will produce a plant identical to the one from which the cuttings were taken. Hopefully, you have neighbors with male wax myrtle in their gardens, or perhaps your nursery can order some for you, if you want berries.

 

From the Image Gallery


Wax myrtle
Morella cerifera

Wax myrtle
Morella cerifera

Wax myrtle
Morella cerifera

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