En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Thursday - September 29, 2011

From: Roswell, NM
Region: Southwest
Topic: Shrubs, Trees
Title: Will wax myrtle (Morella cerifera) grow in Roswell NM?
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

We live in Roswell, NM. Will a wax myrtle tree live in our climate and soil?

ANSWER:

Morella cerifera (Wax myrtle) is a 6-12 foot multi-trunked shrub, but might be considered a tree at its maximum height.   Its distribution, according to the USDA Plants Database, has a western limit at Oklahoma and Texas.   If you will click on Texas on that map you will see that its natural distribution in the state is limited to the eastern third of the state.  You will note that the areas where they occur in the US generally have high rainfall and high humidity. 

In the Growing Conditions section of the species page you will see:


Water Use: High
Light Requirement: Sun , Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Moist , Wet
Soil pH: Acidic (pH<6.8) , Circumneutral (pH 6.8-7.2)
CaCO3 Tolerance: Medium
Drought Tolerance: Medium
Heat Tolerant: yes
Soil Description: Slightly acidic, moist, deep sands, loams, clays.
Conditions Comments: Requires constant moisture to get established, but both drought- and flood-tolerant once established. If temperature goes below zero degrees F, will defoliate, not releafing until spring. Tolerant of saline conditions and urban confinement within pavement.

Here in Austin, in the middle of Texas, where our average rainfall is 33" a year, we are able to grow them as landscape plants; however, this year because of the extreme drought and heat, several of my wax myrtles are dying even though they have received regular irrigation.

I checked the websites of several nurseries that specialize in native plants in your area by entering "New Mexico" in the Search by Location slot in our National Suppliers Directory to see if any of them carried wax myrtles.  My thinking was that if they did, that might indicate that they could survive with special care.  None of the nurseries that I checked carried them.

So, my assessment is that you might be able to get wax myrtles to grow with lots of special care and constant watering, but it will be a struggle and they aren't likely to thrive.  If you go to our New Mexico Recommended page and use the NARROW YOUR SEARCH option to choose "Shrub" under GENERAL APPEARANCE, you will find more than 30 shrubs that are native to New Mexico that will give you much happier results.

 

More Shrubs Questions

Damaged leaves on bottlebrush buckeye from Glen Mills PA
June 09, 2013 - My recently planted bottlebrush buckeye plants' leaves are looking damaged but it doesn't look like insect or fungus damage. They look battered by wind but I don't understand why that would happen...
view the full question and answer

White flowers to plant in front of evergreen tree screen in Altoona PA
June 15, 2010 - I have planted about 30 evergreen trees (as a screen). I would like to plant a row of low maintenance whitish flowering bushes or low maintenance large flowering plants in front of this row. Any sug...
view the full question and answer

Native plants/shrubs to plant under sycamore and redbud trees
September 03, 2009 - I want to eventually get rid of our front lawn. We have a 40 year old sycamore tree and a young but well established redbud tree in the front yard. What are some good plants/shrubs to plant under the ...
view the full question and answer

Toxicity of non-native red-tip photinia to fish from Friendswood TX
April 10, 2013 - Mr. Smarty Plants, I have seen several questions on Red Tip Photinia (RTP) concerning toxicity to horses, dogs and children. We recently lost over 100 gold fish and 6 large KOI in our man made back ...
view the full question and answer

Shrubs for area around underground storm shelter
May 27, 2013 - We want to plant shrubs around our underground storm shelter to divide it from our parking area. Obviously, this is to avoid having someone drive on top of the shelter. What native shrub to North GA ...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center