Myrtle, myrtle tree: tips for care and reproduction

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Myrtle, myrtle tree: tips for care and reproduction
Myrtle, myrtle tree: tips for care and reproduction

Distinctive features of myrtle: native places of distribution, common features, recommendations for growing indoors, how to propagate, struggle, facts to note, species. Myrtle (Myrtus) is a plant belonging to the genus of evergreen woody specimens of the green world of the planet, which is botanically included in the Myrtaceae family. In natural conditions, you can find a myrtle tree on the lands of the Mediterranean, the Azores and in the north of the African continent. At the moment, it is grown in the United States, Australia and Asia. In total, according to various sources, there are from 40 to 100 varieties in this genus.

Myrtle bears its name due to its consonance with the Greek word "myrra", which means "balm" or "liquid incense." All this is due to the fact that the plant has long been familiar to mankind as an incense and cult attribute, which was used in temple complexes of various confessions of the world.

Under conditions of natural growth, a myrtle tree or shrub can reach about three meters in height, but when cultivating myrtle in rooms, its parameters rarely exceed a meter. The usual height of a homemade myrtle with a rounded crown is 30–60 cm.

The leaf plates have a leathery and glossy surface and short petioles. Their color is dark green, small in size. The arrangement on the branches is rarely alternate or opposite. The shape is elongated, there is a sharpening at the top. If you crumple a leaf in your hands, then you can clearly hear the myrtle aroma due to the large amount of essential oil in them.

During flowering, small buds are formed, located singly on thin pedicels, or they can gather in a racemose inflorescence. The flowers are bisexual, the color of the petals is white. They take on a simple or terry form.

In the process of fruiting, nuts or drupes with ovoid (elliptical) or rounded outlines ripen, they are comparable in size to peas. The color of the fruitlets is bluish-black or white. Each berry contains up to 15 seeds.

Interestingly, eucalyptus, tea and clove trees are also considered to be myrtle trees.

Tips for growing myrtle, home care

Potted myrtle
Potted myrtle
  1. Lighting. Cultivation requires bright, but diffused lighting. A place is suitable for the east and west orientation of the windows.
  2. Content temperature. For myrtle in the spring-summer months, they maintain 18–20 degrees, and with the arrival of autumn, the heat indices are reduced to 10 degrees, optimally about 5 units. If myrtle hibernates at temperatures above 10 degrees, foliage may begin to shed. Frequent airing of the room is also needed.
  3. Air humidity when growing a myrtle tree, it should be increased, therefore it is recommended to often spray the leaves with soft water. If in winter the heat indicators exceed 15 degrees, then daily irrigation of the leaf crown will also be needed, and not only as in the spring-summer period with increased temperatures.
  4. Watering. In the spring-summer period, soil moisture should be frequent and abundant, as soon as the top layer of the substrate in the pot dries out. With the arrival of autumn and throughout the winter, watering is reduced. It is important not to allow both the filling of the substrate and its drying, since in the first case, rotting of the root system will begin, and in the second, the myrtle will shed the foliage. If it so happens that the soil in the flowerpot is too dry, then it is recommended to place the pot in a basin of water until the soil and roots are saturated with moisture. Only soft and warm water is used for irrigation. It is recommended to settle the water before watering for several days.
  5. Fertilizers myrtle it is necessary to carry out in the spring-autumn period, use complex preparations for indoor plants. The frequency of feeding is weekly.
  6. Transplant and soil selection. When the myrtle is still young, the pot and soil in it is changed annually, but such an operation is recommended for adult specimens only once every 2-3 years. When transplanting, it is important to plant the myrtle at the same depth without dusting the base of the stem. A drainage layer must be laid on the bottom of the new container.
  7. When replanting, you can use several options for soil mixtures. The first is peat, sod and clay soil, humus soil, coarse sand in a ratio of 2: 2: 2: 2: 1. In the second case, all of these components are taken in equal parts, and in the third, greenhouse land is used.
  8. Dormant period for a myrtle tree or bush depends on its location in the premises. If the side of the placement of the pot with myrtle is north, then it will winter for up to three months, at the southern location this time will be halved.
  9. Pruning myrtle. In order for the plant to branch out and its crown does not thicken, it is necessary to carry out planned pruning. If you cut off the upper shoots, then the myrtle will take the shape of a bush, and when the side shoots are shortened, it will grow like a tree. If pruning is not carried out at all, then the myrtle plant will have a pyramidal shape. Often, side shoots should not be shortened, since the trunk of the myrtle does not have sufficient strength and thickness, and if you often pinch the shoots, then the number of flowers formed will decrease. After several years, you can get lush bushes with proper care, since the growth rate of the home world is quite high.

Steps to self-propagate myrtle

Myrtle pots
Myrtle pots

To get a new myrtle tree or bush, you need to sow seed or cuttings.

When sowing myrtle seeds in spring, a substrate of vermiculite and peat or peat-sandy soil is used. It is placed in a bowl, watered and treated with a fungicide for disinfection. Then the seed is spread over the substrate and sprinkled with the same soil. After planting, the container should be covered with a plastic bag or placed under glass; a transparent plastic lid is also used. At the same time, it will be necessary not to forget daily, to air the crops, and, if necessary, to moisten the substrate. The germination temperature is maintained around 19 degrees.

After 1-2 weeks, you can see the seedlings, and when they grow up and a pair of true leaf plates are formed on them, you need to pick (transplant) in separate pots. In this case, the substrate should consist of river sand, sod and humus soil and peat (equal parts). After transshipment, the seedlings do not show their growth, as they are being adapted to new conditions, but development will resume a little later. After the root system has completely mastered the substrate proposed to it, then the next transplant is carried out (by the transfer method in order to less injure the myrtle roots). Then care goes, as for adult specimens.

You can cut blanks for cuttings both in June and in January. Cuttings are cut from semi-lignified shoots. The length of the blanks should not go beyond 5–8 cm. Almost half of the leaves are removed, and the remaining ones are halved - this will help the moisture not evaporate so much. It is recommended to treat the cuttings with a rooting stimulator for better rooting. Cuttings are planted in pots or boxes filled with a soil mixture of river sand and leafy soil. Containers with cuttings must be covered with a plastic bag or a cut plastic bottle - this will create the conditions for a mini-greenhouse. Then they are placed in partial shade, ventilated daily, and if the soil is dry, then moistened. The rooting temperature is maintained between 18-20 degrees.

Rooting occurs in 3-4 weeks. After that, you can plant in separate pots (with a diameter of 7 cm) filled with a substrate of humus soil, peat, turf soil and coarse sand (parts are equal). In order for young myrtles to begin actively branching and blooming, they perform pinching and abundant watering. When the root system completely fills the entire pot, then the myrtle tree is transferred without destroying the earthen lump into a slightly larger container. Such a plant will bloom when grown indoors in 3-4 years.

Difficulties, diseases and pests when caring for a myrtle flower at home

Pest-infested myrtle
Pest-infested myrtle

If the heat indicators have increased, and the humidity is low, then the myrtle plant may be affected by the whitefly, mealybug, thrips, scale insects and spider mites. If these pests or products of their vital activity are noticed (cobweb, sticky sugary substance (pad), whitish lumps), it is recommended to immediately carry out the treatment with insecticidal preparations, followed by repeating in a week, until the complete destruction of harmful insects and their manifestations.

If the foliage of the myrtle began to acquire a yellow color, curl, deform, dry out and fall off, then this is possible:

  • at low light levels, the size of the leaf plates becomes smaller and the color fades;
  • the stems are strongly elongated in low light;
  • with an excess of light, the foliage loses its gloss and shine, turns yellow and curls;
  • if the temperature readings are too high, foliage may begin to shed.

The fall of the leaf plates can also provoke too much drying of the soil in the pot. Then it is necessary to shorten the branches in half, often spray and water the myrtle.

Interesting facts about myrtle

Blooming myrtle
Blooming myrtle

Despite all the advantages, myrtle is a poisonous plant, since leaf plates in sensitive people can cause not only headaches, but also nausea.

According to the research, myrtle helps to destroy pathogenic microbes and bacteria, and also kills diphtheria and tubercle bacilli. Due to the exuded aromas of the essential oil, the plant helps to purify the air, can exterminate staphylococcus and streptococcus. If you inhale with essential oil or just stay near the myrtle tree for a long time, it helps with colds, acute respiratory infections and flu.

Myrtle has been known to people for a long time, with its help ritual incense was made, wreaths from the branches of myrtle were considered a symbol of glory and blessings. Also, if roses were woven into such a wreath, then it served as a wedding decoration. Such wreaths and bouquets were used in the wedding of the royal persons of the English court. This tradition was introduced by Queen Victoria (1819-1901), who herself raised a myrtle tree from a cuttings taken from her daughter's wreath when she married the emperor of Germany. Later, at the next wedding of a person of English royal blood, a branch from a myrtle tree was always present in the wreath.

Even in the era of antiquity, myrtle was known as a symbol of the goddess Venus and her three maidservants, known to the world under the name of Graces. When the Renaissance arrived, the myrtle twig symbolized eternal love and marital fidelity.

From the ancient Greeks, the cult of the myrtle tree passed to the inhabitants of the Roman Empire, and there are also quite a few references to myrtle in the Bible itself. If you follow the religion of the Jews, then myrtle is one of the 4 plants that you need to take on one of the Tanachic holidays - the Feast of Tabernacles. And according to Arab beliefs, it turns out that myrtle trees adorned the gardens of paradise, and when the time came and Adam and Eve were expelled from paradise, the first man took a myrtle branch with him so that it would be a memorable sign of those blissful times.

Myrtle essential oil is used not only for colds, in folk medicine, with the help of infusions on mature myrtle leaves, they alleviate diseases such as diabetes mellitus, pneumonia, as well as manifestations of chronic bronchitis.

Myrtle is able to stimulate human performance and raise the level of all vital processes in the body; it is also used for increased stress. And since myrtle has no side effects (except for allergic ones), it is prescribed for children from one year of age.

Myrtle leaves are also used in the wine and vodka industry, for example, the aromatic Mirto liqueur is infused on the foliage.

Myrtle species

White myrtle flowers
White myrtle flowers

Common myrtle (Myrtus communis) is the most common species. The plant has the life form of an evergreen shrub. The stem is short, having a branching, its surface is covered with exfoliating scales from the bark, painted in a reddish-brown tone. The leaf plates are small, oval-lanceolate, with a pointed tip, exuding a pleasant aroma. Their surface is leathery and glossy, the color is dark green. When blooming, buds with five petals are formed, which have a white color, but there is a cream or reddish tint, when opened, the flower reaches 2 cm in diameter. The stamens are decoratively visible from the corolla. The flowering process occurs in June-August. The ripening fruit looks like a dark green, red-black or dark blue berry.

The most popular cultivar forms are cultivars:

  • "Tarentina", characterized by a compact bush shape, the resulting fruit-berries are smaller in size than that of the base form, but their number is much greater than the original specimen of myrtle;
  • "Tarentina variegate", which has a creamy white pattern on the surface of the green foliage.

Lush myrtle (Myrtus apliculata) can take both bush and tree-like life forms. The trunk is covered with a peeling bark of a dark brown hue, under which you can see the creamy white inside of the trunk. Leaf plates of a dark green color, their shape is elliptical, the surface is matte. The flowers grow singly, their petals are cast in a snow-white shade. The flowering process falls on the time of July-August, after which edible fruits of a black and red tone are formed.

Myrtus chequen (Myrtus chequen) is a tree decorated with glossy, shiny leaf plates with wrinkled edges. This variety is the most resistant of all.

Ralph's myrtle (Myrtus ralfii) has a bushy form of life, its crown is decorated with pinkish flowers, and later they are replaced by edible fruits of red color. There is a variegated (variegative) variety, which has a white-cream rim on the leaves.

Marsh myrtle (Myrtus calyculata) is an evergreen shrub whose branches do not exceed a meter in height. The crown of the plant is spreading, the stems are straight. The entire surface of the branches is covered with very small scales. The leaf plates are not large, they can vary in length about 1–4 cm. The leaf petiole is shortened. The color of the resulting flowers is snow-white, racemose inflorescences are collected from the buds.

This variety tolerates Russian winters quite well. Sometimes from under the snow cover you can see dry bare myrtle branches peeking out. If you cut them off and put them in a vase of water, they will soon turn green. With the arrival of spring, the myrtle plant revives anew and until the onset of cold weather, the myrtle lasts a growing season. Most of all, this species loves to settle in swampy areas, especially revered sphagnum bogs, which was the reason for the species name. In the common people, this plant bears the name of Cassandra. The life span reaches half a century. It is important to take into account that marsh myrtle has a large amount of poison in the leaves and branches, therefore it is forbidden to feed it to livestock.

For more information on myrtle, see the video below:

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