Myrtles are attractive evergreen shrubs from the Mediterranean. The common myrtle is the main garden variety and is prized for its elegant white flowers. In this article, I’ll analyze how fast, tall, and wide myrtle plants grow to help you plan accordingly in your own garden.
How Tall and Wide Do Myrtle Plants Grow?
Common myrtles (Myrtus communis) are evergreen plants that grow as shrubs or small trees. These plants are native to the Mediterranean and Southern Europe. Common myrtles also grow in parts of Africa, Asia, and the Indian Subcontinent.
Common myrtles grow between 8 and 16 feet tall and approximately 8 to 10 feet wide. Myrtles are relatively compact ornamental trees that suit even small gardens. Whatever their size, myrtles are easy to keep in check through pruning.
Myrtles grow at their best in USDA Zones 8 to 10 and thrive in full sun or partial shade. Myrtles require well-draining soils that still hold some moisture. Established myrtle shrubs are drought-tolerant and hardy enough to survive frosty conditions during the winter.
How Fast Do Myrtle Plants Grow?
Common myrtle plants are considered to be slow-growing shrubs. Even in ideal conditions, myrtles only grow by about 12 inches per year. It can take myrtle plants 10 to 20 years to reach their full mature size of approximately 16 feet high. This means that myrtles are easy to manage, even for inexperienced gardeners.
Factors That Contribute to the Growth of Myrtle Plants
Although common myrtles are slow-growing plants, providing good growing conditions helps them grow as quickly as possible. Here are the main factors that contribute to the growth of these beneficial plants:
Common myrtles prefer a Mediterranean climate with warm temperatures and mild winters. Myrtles thrive in Zones 8 to 10. That said, myrtles are relatively cold-hardy and can tolerate winter temperatures as low as 10ºF (-12ºC). Myrtles can also survive moderate frosts but need winter protection in freezing climates.
Myrtle shrubs need a bit of space to promote good air circulation. Myrtles make great hedges when spaced approximately 1.5 feet apart. Plant individual myrtle shrubs about 3 to 6 feet apart to limit the spread of diseases and pests.
Common myrtles require full sun or partial shade, depending on the climate. Myrtles need about 6 hours of full sun in most climates daily. Plant myrtles in partial shade in hot, dry climates to protect them from intense afternoon sunlight.
Myrtles grow well in most conditions if the soil is well-draining but retains some moisture. Although myrtles prefer moist soils, established plants are reasonably drought-tolerant. Myrtles prefer slightly acidic soils with a pH range between 5.0 and 6.5.
Water myrtles once every two weeks during the growing season. Established myrtle shrubs are fairly drought-tolerant but may need extra water during hot, dry summers. Water newly planted myrtle shrubs once a week for the first two years. This helps the myrtle establish a good, healthy root system.
Feed established common myrtles once a year during the spring. Slow-release fertilizer granules are ideal. Fertilize newly planted myrtle shrubs once a month during their first year with diluted liquid fertilizer. This provides plenty of nutrients to help the young plant establish itself.
Prune myrtle shrubs after they finish flowering in late summer or fall. This is the ideal time to trim back and shape the plant. Remove any damaged, diseased, or weak branches. Pruning also helps thin out the inner branches to improve air circulation.
Myrtle Growth Expectations FAQs:
How Long Does Myrtle Take to Grow?
Myrtle plants grow fairly slowly and take a few years to become well-established. Some myrtle shrubs take 10 to 20 years to reach their full height.
Is Common Myrtle Fast Growing?
Common myrtle is considered to be a slow-growing plant. Myrtles only grow by approximately 12 inches each year in ideal conditions. It can take up to 20 years for a common myrtle to reach full size.
How Long Do Myrtle Plants Live?
Common myrtle plants can live for several decades. In some cases, individual myrtle shrubs have been known to live for up to 150 years.
Myrtles are slow-growing evergreen shrubs that grow by about 12 inches every year. Common myrtle plants grow between 8 and 16 feet tall and approximately 8 to 10 feet wide. These Mediterranean shrubs can take 10 to 20 years to reach full size and can also live for several decades.
For more, see our in-depth guide to the meaning and symbolism of myrtle flowers.
Edd is a budding content writer and gardener living in the United Kingdom. He has a bachelor's degree in Creative and Professional Writing and has written for several gardening publications online. He is passionate about nature and sustainability with a focus on gardening and wildlife.