Plant Profile: Don's Dwarf Southern Wax Myrtle
Morella (Myrica) cerifera 'Don's Dwarf'
Southern Wax Myrtle has been a favorite in southern gardens for many years. This tough
evergreen shrub is native to Georiga's coastal areas, but is hardy throughout the state. It can be used
as a trimmed hedge in a formal garden or left unpruned in a less formal setting. While the
older varieties often grew to be upwards of 15 or more feet, we can thank the work of dedicated
plant breeders for the introduction of this dwarf variety which only reaches a mature size of
4-6 feet tall and wide.
Grow Don's Dwarf Southern Wax Myrtle in full sun to light shade.
The foliage is nicely aromatic and can be used in sachets. It is also deer resistant and can tolerate
salt and occasional flooding. A fast-growing shrub, it is easily pruned and can be used
as a backdrop in formal rose gardens, as a low-growing screen or for birds in a wildlife habitat.
There is some confusion as to whether Southern Wax Myrtle has separate
male and female plants (as with Hollies) or whether male and female flowers
are on the same plant. Female plants (or female flowers) will produce gray
waxy berries that are loved by smaller birds. The berries were often used
in colonial times to make wax for candles.
The botanical name of the plant has been recently changed and it is often found labeled
either in the genus
Myrica or Morella.
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