Among the different shrubs that we can plant in our garden is the myrtle. This species combines a high tolerance to various environments along with a beautiful appearance, which also does not require great care.
When it comes to looking for shrubs to decorate our garden, we have different proposals at our disposal. Among them is the Myrtus Communis, better known as the common myrtle. However, much better known is the other name by which this species is called: arrayán. A denomination that gives name to one of the patios of the Alhambra in Granada, where this type of plants abound and that is much more identifying of this species.
This plant is very complete, since in addition to decorating our garden with its leathery and shiny leaves, they also offer a pleasant aroma. As if this were not enough, the plant also has beautiful white flowers, which are born from the axils of the leaves, and it is even capable of bearing fruit, a kind of edible berry that adds a different touch to our environment.
Best of all, the common myrtle is a shrub with a suitable level of acclimatization, while it does not require great care either, as we will see later. Therefore, it is a very interesting option for those who do not have much time to take care of their garden.
Although we have already created a sketch of this plant and its shape, it is time to dig a little deeper into its appearance. We are talking about a bush with compact foliage that, properly cared for and at the corresponding age, can reach no less than five meters in height at the stem.
It consists of leathery opposite leaves, with an entire edge and an intense dark green color on the upper side, which lightens a little on the lower side. In these leaves there are some transparent oil glands, in which oils are stored that generate the pleasant smell of this plant, especially when breaking or rubbing its leaves.
Regarding its flowers, these are white, appear in isolation on the axillary peduncles and have five petals and five sepals, separated and prominent from the rest of the flower. The stamens of the plant are yellow, also standing out from the white color of the rest of the flower. And just like the leaves, these flowers also have a very intense and pleasant smell.
Finally, we do not have to forget about the fruits. These have a blue color when ripe, including a small calyx at the top. Its size is usually approximately 1 to 1.5 centimeters, coming in two varieties: red and yellow. These berries are edible and, in fact, are used as a substitute for pepper or for making alcoholic beverages on the islands of Corsica and Sardinia. By the way, these berries generate a good amount of seeds, which the birds feed on and which also serve to disperse the plant around the environment.
Your land and sowing
Once we know this species in depth, it is time to see some more details regarding where we can place the myrtle. Since we are talking about a plant that successfully withstands both the extreme temperatures of summer and the frosts of winter, we can plant it practically anywhere in our country. In fact, it is a very common plant in many parts of the Mediterranean region, which proves its versatility.
Regarding its sowing or transplanting, the truth is that both options are valid, given that the reproduction of myrtle from seeds has a high percentage of success. You can even opt for its reproduction from woody cuttings of a plant in good condition.
In any case, whether you opt for sowing or bet on plants from nurseries, it is important to choose the correct location for the plant. These plants should be away from both the pool, if you have one, and the porch or terrace. The reason is that, due to its characteristics, it is a plant whose leaves and flowers fall frequently, which forces us to redouble cleaning efforts in this area.
Nor should it be placed in front of windows or in areas that are going to have passage, since as the plant grows they will cover them. Let us remember that the myrtle or arrayán can reach 5 meters in height, almost equivalent to the first floor of a house.
As a last section, it is necessary to know the care that the myrtle or arrayán needs. One of the most important has to do with irrigation. The myrtle is not a species that requires particularly frequent watering, so you will not have to carry the hose (here you can find some options to buy) on your back every day so that the plant does not get damaged. Specifically, during the spring and autumn it is enough to water the myrtle every six days, while during the summer the watering should be done every three days, approximately. By the way, the myrtle can be attacked by cochineal if the ground is wetter than expected, so be careful with excessive watering.
Regarding pruning, as happens with all shrubs, this should be done at the end of winter, so that spring and its power find the plant in its best state, facing the new season.
Finally, it is necessary to fertilize the myrtle, using manure in the fall, just as you should do with the rest of the garden. As a complement, it is advisable to use a mineral fertilizer every 15 days, both in spring and summer. By the way, for that fertilizer with manure it will always be better to put on good boots than to wear golf shoes or any other footwear that you are fond of, for obvious reasons.