Bay Berries

Myrica cerifera

Wax Myrtle or Southern Bayberry


A popular ornamental, Wax MyrtleSouthern Bayberry or Wax Myrtle -- Click to Enlarge has attractive evergreen foliage, is a fast grower, and responds well to pruning. Its leaves and fruit smell like bayberry when crushed. Wax myrtle is a Florida Native Plant which can and has been used as a source of wax for bayberry candles. The waxy berries are a high energy food loved by many different types of native and migratory birds in the winter. Wax Myrtle responds well to pruning.

Plant Facts:

Common Name:   Wax Myrtle, Southern Bayberry

Botanical Name:   Myrica cerifera

Plant Type:  Deciduous or evergreen small tree or shrub.

Zones: 7-11

Height:  15 - 25' tall to 15' wide

Soil Requirements:  Various soils, does best in well-drained, moist and rich soil. Medium salt tolerance.

Water Requirements: Medium drought tolerance.

Light Requirements: Full sun to part shade.

Leaves:  Leathery, medium green, narrow leaves, 4" long.

Flowers: Not showy, green.

Fruit: Waxy blue-gray fruit on female plants is a major source of food for wildlife. 

Uses:  Often used as a screen or hedge and in median and buffer strips. Makes a wonderful specimen and planter plant. As the roots of the plant fix nitrogen like legumes, do not fertilize them.

Propagation:  Seeds, greenwood cuttings in early or midsummer.

Sources: American Horticultural Society A to Z Encyclopedia of Garden Plants; Betrock's Florida Plant Guide; New Encyclopedia of Herbs & Their Uses