Common myrtles are attractive evergreen shrubs from the Myrtaceae family. Myrtles are famous for their white flowers that carry rich meaning and symbolism. In this article, I’ll discuss what common myrtle flowers look like and examine some of their other botanical characteristics.
What Do Myrtle Flowers Look Like?
Common Myrtle shrubs (Myrtus communis) produce small single white flowers with several long stamens. These stamens have white filaments topped with yellow anthers that protrude up from the flower. Each star-shaped flower has five petals, some of which may display slight hints of pink. Myrtle flowers are a vital summer nectar source for pollinators like bees and butterflies.
Other Botanical Characteristics of Myrtle Flowers
Myrtles are evergreen shrubs or small trees from the Myrtus genus in the Myrtaceae family. There are three main species, of which the common myrtle is the most widespread. Myrtle plants grow between 8 and 16 feet high and approximately 8 to 10 feet wide.
Common myrtle shrubs have simple, lanceolate green leaves with a strong scent. This sweet, fresh fragrance is similar to eucalyptus – another member of the Myrtaceae family. Once the white flowers have finished, myrtle plants produce purplish-black berries in winter.
Myrtle shrubs are slow-growing plants that take 10 to 20 years to reach full size. Myrtle plants grow by approximately 12 inches yearly, so they’re easy to manage. Common myrtles can live for decades in the right conditions, with some specimens living for about 150 years.
Where Do Myrtle Flowers Come From?
Myrtle shrubs are native to the Mediterranean and Southern Europe. Myrtles also grow in parts of Africa, Asia, and the Indian Subcontinent. Myrtle plants grow best in warm climates with mild winters.
In the United States, common myrtle shrubs thrive in USDA Zones 8 to 10. Despite preferring warm climates, myrtles are surprisingly cold-hardy and can survive winter temperatures as low as 10ºF (-12ºC).
When Are Myrtle Flowers in Season?
Myrtle flowers bloom from summer until fall. The flowers can appear as early as June, and flowering can last until October. Common myrtles growing in warmer climates will flower slightly earlier than those growing in colder areas.
How to Care For Myrtle Flowers
Common myrtle shrubs need full sun or partial shade, depending on the climate. Myrtles require approximately 6 hours of full sun each day in mild climates. In hotter areas, myrtles need partial shade to protect them during hot afternoons. South or west-facing areas are ideal for myrtle shrubs.
Myrtle shrubs require well-draining soils that still hold some moisture. Myrtle shrubs are drought-tolerant and prefer to be slightly moist rather than waterlogged. Myrtles also prefer slightly acidic soils with pH levels between 5.0 and 6.5. Myrtles suit most soil types apart from chalky, alkaline soils.
Water myrtle shrubs once every 2 to 4 weeks if they haven’t had rainfall in a while. Water myrtles more frequently during hot, dry summers. Newly planted myrtle shrubs need watering once weekly for the first two years until they’re fully established.
Fertilize established myrtle shrubs once a year during the spring. This provides extra nutrients for the new growing season, especially if you use slow-release fertilizer granules. Fertilize newly planted myrtles once a month in their first growing season.
Myrtles respond well to pruning and shaping. The best time to prune myrtles is in late summer or fall once the flowers finish. Remove any damaged or dead branches to keep your myrtle shrub healthy.
Myrtle Flower Appearance FAQs
What is Another Name for Myrtle Flowers?
Common myrtle flowers are sometimes called “true myrtles” to separate them from the unrelated crepe myrtle. Common myrtle flowers are also called Corsican pepper or sweet myrtle.
What Does the Myrtle Flower Symbolize?
Myrtle flowers symbolize love and devotion, illustrated by the fact that myrtles are often used in wedding bouquets. Myrtle flowers may also represent innocence, purity, and renewal like other white flowers.
What Time of Year Does Myrtle Flower?
Common myrtles bloom from summer until fall. The white flowers emerge as early as June and can remain until October. Common myrtle shrubs only produce one flush of flowers each year.
What Do Common Myrtle Flowers Look Like: Wrapping Up
Common myrtle shrubs have small white single flowers with several long stamens. These flowers have five petals. Some petals may also have subtle hints of pink. Common myrtles flower during summer and fall before giving way to purplish-black berries in winter and early spring.
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.