Common myrtles are beautiful evergreen shrubs from the Mediterranean. Although common myrtles tolerate poor soils, providing the correct soil type helps them thrive. In this article, we’ll discover the best types of soil for common myrtle.
The Best Type of Soil for Common Myrtle
Common myrtles grow pretty well in most types of soils. They need well-draining soil that can still hold some moisture. Common myrtles are also drought-tolerant and can still thrive in nutrient-poor soils.
Loamy, sandy, or silty soils are ideal for common myrtles, although chalky soils and clay soils also work well. Common myrtles don’t mind the lack of nutrients in sandy or chalky soils. However, common myrtles don’t like peat-based soils as they hold too much moisture and are often too acidic.
Common myrtle shrubs prefer slightly acidic soils with pH levels between 5.0 and 6.5. However, common myrtles will grow well in most neutral soils. Avoid chalky soils that are too alkaline.
Improving Your Soil for Common Myrtles
Although common myrtles thrive in most types of soils, some growing mediums may not suit them. Thankfully, it’s easy to amend the soil to meet your common myrtle’s needs. Before you amend your soil, use a soil testing kit to identify the problem.
If the soil is too dense, add some grit, gravel, sand, or organic matter such as compost. This improves drainage and aeration. Adding organic matter also provides some extra nutrients.
Although common myrtles need well-draining soil, some sandy or chalky soils may lose nutrients and moisture too quickly. Add lots of organic matter or sphagnum moss to improve water retention. This also allows the soil to retain more nutrients without becoming too dense.
You can also alter the pH level of your soil if it’s not suitable for common myrtles. Use a soil testing kit to identify whether the soil needs to be more acidic or more alkaline. To increase acidity, add some sulfur or organic matter, such as pine needles. To make the soil more alkaline, mix some lime into the soil.
Soil Conditions for Common Myrtles in their Native Habitats
Common myrtle shrubs are native to the Mediterranean and parts of Africa, Asia, Southern Europe, and the Indian Subcontinent. Common myrtles (Myrtus communis) often grow in loose, nutrient-poor soils in dry climates. These drought-tolerant shrubs inhabit dry scrublands and rocky areas and offer a host of uses and benefits in addition to their ornamental value.
Common myrtle grows best in USDA Zones 8 to 10. These evergreen shrubs prefer warm climates with mild winters. However, common myrtle is relatively cold-hardy and can survive winter temperatures as low as 10ºF (-12ºC).
Brief Overview of Different Soil Types
Garden soils are divided into six main categories. Each soil type provides different levels of drainage, aeration, and nutrients. The six main types of soil are:
- Chalky soils
- Clay soils
- Peat soils
- Loamy soils
- Sandy soils
- Silty soils
Generally, looser soils provide better drainage and aeration but don’t provide many nutrients. By contrast, dense soils hold more water and nutrients but also have poor drainage and aeration. Sandy soils are the loosest type of soil, while clay soils are extremely dense.
Loamy soil is ideal for most plants because it balances nutrients, drainage, and aeration. Silty soils also provide a good balance between these properties. Chalky soil is extremely variable in terms of density but doesn’t provide many nutrients.
Most soil types are fairly neutral in terms of their pH level. Peat-based soils are more acidic, whereas chalk-based soils are more alkaline.
Common myrtles thrive in well-draining soils that still hold some moisture. They are drought-tolerant and still grow well in nutrient-poor soils. Common myrtles prefer slightly acidic soils with pH levels between 5.0 and 6.5.