Luma apiculata

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USDA Hardiness zone: Zn7b 10º to 5ºF

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Chilean Myrtle is a very good looking dense evergreen shrub/tree in our climate. It requires a slightly protected location as it can be tender when young. Protect young plants from temperatures below 15ºF. With age and establishment it gains much, much more cold hardiness enduring 5ºF with just light leaf burn. The leaves are deep, dark green and rounded with a sharp tip. Almost formal looking. In protected gardens it can attain tree like status in about 8 years. Most often in our region its a shrub of about 12′. And perhaps the most impressive thing about this Chilean/Argentinian tree is the exfoliating orange to tan bark it achieves with age. In mid-summer masses of small white fragrant myrtle flowers with a central boss of exerted stamens smother the whole plant. These turn into sweetly edible if not a little mentholated black berries. They can be messy so locate away from paths, pavement. Birds almost always make off with the berries so that is helpful. Avoid direct exposure to subfreezing gorge winds. In gardens subject to that locate on a south or west facing wall. Very drought adapted when established, but consistent water and average soil will yield the best growth. Grows about 1′-3′ per year. Moderate deer resistance. Not a good plant for cold rural gardens. Tree size specimens are phenomenal and worth the effort to protect when young. Excellent performance at the Oregon coast.

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