Myrtle, Mortella - Myrtus communis

Myrtle, Mortella - Myrtus communis

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The genus Myrtus includes 100 species of shrubs and evergreen trees with aromatic leaves. The most famous is the Myrtus communis, a shrub typical of the Mediterranean vegetation.
Myrtus communis is native to Asia and Mediterranean Europe. It is a bush that can reach a height of five feet.
It is used for compositions with other shrubs, or for the formation of hedges.
It was used in ancient times in folk medicine; even today in Sardinia it is used to produce the famous myrtle liqueur.


The leaves are usually leathery and aromatic; they appear opposite, whole, briefly petiolate or sessile, oval or lanceolate. They are persistent with a dark green upper color and a glossy and smooth finish.

The flowers

The flowers of Myrtus communis are white with five petals and stamens and bloom at the axil of the upper leaves. These inflorescences are fragrant and develop in the late spring and summer period. It is possible that myrtle, or mortella, produces a second flowering in late summer until even in October if the autumns are warm.


The Myrthus Bullata comes from New Zealand, reaches a height of about three meters and a diameter of two, as a pot plant reaches proportions lower than half. The flowers of 1 cm and 1.5 cm in diameter develop in May and June to then be followed, in autumn, pear-shaped fruits of blackish purple color.
The Luma myrthus is a plant from Chile; it looks like a large shrub, in fact it can reach the height and the diameter of five - six meters. Its leaves are dark green, shiny and the flowers develop in July and August. A particularity of this variety is constituted by the trunk, very characteristic that in older specimens takes on a brown color, cinnamon dotted with real dark spots.


The fruits of Myrtus communis are more or less globular, ovoid berries and usually have a bluish black color, less frequently they can have a brownish red color.
These fruits develop during the winter from November to January and then remain for a long time on the plant. They have a fleshy texture and are very welcome to birds.


Myrtle or mortella prefers the Mediterranean climate, being a typical species of the Mediterranean basin. If the climate is too cold we recommend protecting the plant. This plant develops mainly where the climate is mild and tolerates droughts well, while it is not very resistant to frosts.


Myrtus communis vegeta in any type of soil as long as it is permeable. In fact it is necessary that a good drainage is guaranteed, given that the myrtle suffers very much from the possible stagnation of water that could compromise its health. It is advisable that the soil is not rich in limestone and if you intend to cultivate it in pot you can buy the appropriate soil in one of the many garden centers in the area.


Myrtle or mortella needs full sun for optimal development, even if it adapts to the shade of the undergrowth. It is not affected by the arid and hot climate, as it must be protected from cold temperatures. In this case it must be positioned in a sheltered area and when the temperatures are lowered, if it is not planted in a pot, but in full ground, it is necessary to adopt protections that allow it to withstand the harsh climate.


The Myrtus communis should be fertilized every fortnight from May to September with liquid fertilizer diluted in water. The best type of fertilizer for this type of plant must be rich in nitrogen and potassium so that the best development and the contribution of all the necessary nutritional elements is guaranteed.


This tree is multiplied by seeds, to be sprinkled in spring and autumn, using a rich and light substrate that will allow seed germination; or reproduction can take place by cuttings in June-July.
in March the untidy branches and branches damaged by the cold are cut.

Diseases and pests

Myrtle is a hardy shrub that is hardly attacked by pests and diseases; but it is not always immune to their attack. In this case it is useful to use insecticidal substances to help combat the attack. The leaves of this plant can also be attacked by fungi that cause their darkening and subsequent yellowing. One of the most common diseases that can affect myrthus is powdery mildew or malaria which can be contrasted with the numerous products on the market.

Myrtle, Mortella - Myrtus communis: Variety

- Flore Pleno characterized by double flowers.
- Mycrophilla has the smallest leaves of the species.
- Tarentina with more compact foliage and whitish fruits.
- Variegated with variegated leaves of white or cream.


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