Common Myrtle (Myrtus communis)

Common Myrtle

Don’t let the name fool you! The Common Myrtle (Myrtus communis) is so much more than common. This is a spectacular landscape shrub for warmer zones (though it excels as a potted plant in colder zones where it can be brought in from winter chill).

This little beauty has very broad evergreen leaves and can be trained as a small tree, trimmed into a sharp hedge or even carved into a sweet topiary. (Leaping dolphins, anyone?)

The leaves are highly scented when brushed against, so plant it where you can touch it – along a well-worn path, in containers next to an entry or patio or edging a driveway where you and your guests will brush by it on the way to the front door. The crushed leaves are so aromatic that they are often used as a substitute for bay leaves in cooking. Common Myrtle blooms fragrant white flowers from May through July that are beautiful to look at but are also surprisingly tasty. Try them garnishing salads or floating in mixed drinks.

Are you a griller? If so you can add the dried wood and leaves to your charcoal to add a unique smoky flavor to your grilled meats and fish.

Once the flowers are gone Myrtle is covered in edible glossy dark berries. (They are honestly just so-so tasting to us humans, but wow, do the birds love them!)

These plants love full sun or part shade so they are good additions to just about any garden, big or small.

Don’t let the name fool you. Common Myrtle is an un-commonly great landscape plant and you need a couple in your garden today!

  • Versatile – use as a small tree, hedge or standout shrub
  • Fragrant white blooms
  • Glossy evergreen leaves
  • Edible leaves, flowers, and berries

Common Myrtle (Myrtus communis) Details

Common name Common Myrtle
Botanical name Myrtus communis
Hardiness zone 8-10
Growth rate Medium
Harvest time Fall
Height 5 - 6 ft.
Width 4 - 5 ft.
Sunlight Full Sun, Partial Shade
Moisture Medium Moisture
Soil condition Very Well Drained Soil
Pollinator-friendly Yes
Flower color White, Yellow
Leaf color Broadleaved Evergreen