This is a seedling myrtle that showed up in our nursery. I moved it to a stock bed and observed it for several years. Its proven to be hardy to lower than 15ºF and its a dense and compact growing form.  Good looking evergreen that has deep forest green foliage with a slight gloss. Dense growth forms a shrub to 3′ x 3′ in 6 years- progressively larger after that. In late summer to early autumn a procession of pure white flowers with a central boss of exerted stamens. This aromatic shrub is adapted to hot dry conditions and light to little water once established. In fact, the more lean the conditions the hardier this myrtle will be to cold. Black elongated drupes follow the flowers. Formal appearance that can be even more formal with pruning. Though, its naturally dense habit makes pruning less likely. Great against baking hot south facing walls. Loves the zone of south facing planters that are asphalt on one side and a hot wall on the other.  Best as a specimen- not a hedge as it can be prone to damage in severe winters ( below 10ºF) which recovers quickly in spring but makes it less useful as a hedge. Great container subject. Moderate deer resistance. Tolerates VERY dry summer conditions.  Full sun to quite a bit of shade at the expense of a dense habit. Very durable urban shrub. Protected location. Locate out of the path of subfreezing east wind.

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Myrtus communis compacta ‘variegata’

We love Myrtles they are so drought tolerant and they smell so good and we’re finding more and more cultivars that are hardy in Portland. This one is a real surprise because the green form of ‘Compacta’ is not nearly as hardy as this charming variegated version. A slow growing perfectly round shrub with light green leaves edged in cream- brush them- they smell so good. To 3′ x 3′ in 8 years. In summer small white flowers have a sexy little brush of white stamens. CUTE. Full sun to very light shade in a warm protected position. Mine are against my house on the south side and they’ve grown into a little hedge. They have only had slight tip damage in the coldest winters, but spring recovery is rapid. In fact it can freeze to the ground and resprout and regain its stature in a season.  Don’t go planting this shrub out in the open, exposed to wind. It will fry. Instead keep it close and it will be fine. Extremely drought tolerant.

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Myrtus communis ssp. tarentina

Dense, dark green and aromatic this form of sweet myrtle is also extraordinarily hardy to cold when established. Small glossy deep green foliage is sweetly fragrant when disturbed. Its held densely on upright stems on a compact growing shrub for full sun, a hot position and average to poor well drained soil. In late summer its decked in white flowers with conspicuous protruding stamens. They are sweetly fragrant and turn into WHITE berries by autumn. This shrub is best in a protected hot spot with as little summer water as possible when established.  Too much summer water leads to rank growth that does not harden in time for winter cold. Grow this shrub lean and mean and its perfectly hardy to cold. It can take any amount of summer drought. Slow growing to on average 3′ x 3′ and rounded in 5 years- larger with time and larger in richer soil. Full hot sun all day and good air circulation. Basically plant your myrtle, water it and then leave it strictly alone. Moderate deer resistance.

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Myrtus communis ‘Andy’s Hardy’

Dapper clean evergreen shrub for full hot sun and poor well drained soils. This cold hardy selection of Sweet Myrtle has endured temperatures to 5ºF once established. Formal looking evergreen with sweetly fragrant foliage when disturbed. In summer to early autumn simple white flowers with a protruding showy boss of white stamens appear like little bouquets followed by elongated black berries. Incredibly drought and heat tolerant. Protect from subfreezing east wind. Takes west aspects that are blasting hot – all day or just for part of the day.  Not often seen for sale this form grows moderately slowly to 3′ x 3′ in 6 years. Takes very well to pruning which should only be done in late spring. Moderately deer resistant. Little water when established, light irrigation speeds growth.

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