The myrtle (( Myrtus communis ) is one of those plants that, without being remarkable, does provide us with some potted vegetables for interiors or galleries. It is a small shrub that, adapted to a pot, can fall into the bonsai category due to its arboreal appearance although small Grown on land, it can grow to be a large shrub up to 3 meters high, but for the moment we are left with its indoor cultivation and its highly aromatic leaves.
ORIGINS AND CHARACTERISTICS OF MYRTLE
If we think about bonsai and the origin of this technique, we go to China (where it originated) and Japan (where such art was perfected). Many of the species for bonsai traditionally come from the nascent country. As the technique internationalized, countless species have been included in this ancient technique. The Myrtle can be one of these species, because its origin is totally European.
It is not a shrub that stands out in its flowering or in the shape of its leaves. The flowers are unpretentious white but full of stamens and very aromatic, yes. Flowering produces an edible bluish berry while giving the bush an aesthetic plus.
The pleasant aroma is due to mirtol , an essential oil widely used in cosmetics and perfumery. Having a myrtle at home or in a gallery is synonymous with perfume.
As we often do, we have to go to the etymology of the name to discover some of its particular characteristics. In this case Mirto, from the Latin Myrtos and its turn from the Greek means perfume. And it is that rubbing the leaves of this small bush is a delight for the smell.
There are many mentions of this plant in mythology and in Classical Greece it was considered a symbol of fertility closely associated with the goddess Aphrodite. Its symbolism has reached Christianity.
Leaving aside the historical part, we are going to comment on what its cultivation will bring us.
GENERAL CARE OF MYRTLE ( MYRTUS COMMUNIS )
SUN AND WARM TEMPERATURES ARE THE BASIS OF THE MYRTLE
It is a Sun plant . If we go to rooms of the house facing north, this plant will suffer, although it may resist. Most of the plants we are talking about require filtered light, they tolerate little and bad direct Sun
Myrtle needs direct sunlight, although it also tolerates sieving. What is indisputable is the need for the Sun, be that as it may. For this reason, the galleries that are usually oriented to the south are a fantastic place to have a myrtle.
Regarding temperatures, it is obvious that it will withstand warm temperatures well, and in fact it prefers them. With all this sun exposure, high temperatures come hand in hand. In winter it will be the only season in which the plant requires cold to rest during this season. It should be kept a little cooler .
It tolerates temperatures of up to 5 ºC. With this data, we forget about growing outdoors in cold areas with severe frosts. An adult shrub can withstand a weak-tempered frost but not much more.
SOIL AND FERTILIZER
Myrtle is tremendously rustic for soils. It is not a factor that should concern us. Composting is optional and can be done during spring and summer every 15 days with a low nitrogen fertilizer. It can be avoided if you will.
For indoor care, watering should be regular without letting the soil dry out completely during the spring, summer and autumn seasons. During the winter rest , watering can be suppressed, although it is advisable to help a little with very sporadic waterings.
PRUNING AND ITS ADAPTATION TO HEDGE OR BONSAI
One of the bases of a bonsai is to mold the tree. Guide the trunk and each of its branches where the bonsai artist wants to take them. Prune whatever is necessary so that the bonsai does not go beyond the limits that the artist has in mind.
Myrtle is a good ally of bonsai because it supports severe pruning very well. For this reason it lends itself very well to the bonsai technique and for those who need to make a hedge in the garden (if the climate of your area allows it).
FINAL THOUGHTS ON MYRTLE
Its multiplication is simple by semi-woody or woody cutting in autumn. Indoors it will be difficult for it to suffer from diseases and pests but to mention a few the well-known whitefly and mealybug.