Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Dwarf Wax Myrtle, Southern Bayberry
Morella cerifera

Family: Myricaceae
Genus: Morella (mor-EL-a) (Info)
Species: cerifera (ker-EE-fer-uh) (Info)

Synonym:Cerothamnus ceriferus
Synonym:Cerothamnus pumilus
Synonym:Myrica cerifera
Synonym:Myrica cerifera var. pumila
Synonym:Myrica pusilla

2 vendors have this plant for sale.

20 members have or want this plant for trade.


20-30 ft. (6-9 m)

10-12 ft. (3-3.6 m)

USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)
USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun
Sun to Partial Shade


Bloom Color:

Bloom Time:
Late Winter/Early Spring
Mid Spring


Other details:
Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Soil pH requirements:
5.1 to 5.5 (strongly acidic)
5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
From softwood cuttings
From semi-hardwood cuttings

Seed Collecting:
Unknown - Tell us

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There are a total of 15 photos.
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8 positives
No neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive longjonsilverz On May 21, 2014, longjonsilverz from Centreville, MD wrote:

Wax Myrtles grow wild locally here in Maryland (zone 7) around the Chesapeake Bay and Atlantic Ocean. They are a great choice for this area, but rarely seen in the landscape although somewhat popular in the South. They are perfect for wet areas and will tolerate full sun and shade. Growth rate is very fast for an evergreen, and can eventually be pruned into a small tree if allowed. Some wild ones are 15ft + tall in this area and larger in the South. They also make a good hedge screen and respond well to pruning. It is rumored that Wax Myrtles also repel mosquitoes. (I haven't noticed much of a difference though) Foliage starts to turn a little brown and some leaves drop as temperatures approach 0F.

Positive h9kr4jg8ir5 On May 21, 2013, h9kr4jg8ir5 from Spring, TX wrote:

(Administrator: please remove the word "dwarf" from the name of this plant.) I had read that Wax Myrtles need lots of sunlight. So I didn't try to grow any until I had some sunny spots. I finally planted 20 bare-root seedlings this past winter and about 80% have survived in their first 6 months, which I'm very pleased with. A few are surviving in shade although not growing very rapidly. Several are doing well in very swampy soil. The ones in the sunny spots seem to be growing rapidly, or at least compared to Yaupon Holly. I think Wax Myrtles look beautiful and I wish I had planted more sooner. The only downside is that you probably can't plant them in a shady woodland garden. They seem to be perfect for planting in sunny areas along driveways and house foundations where there isn't enough room to plant tall trees.

Positive mrickett On Apr 18, 2011, mrickett from Lawrenceville, GA wrote:

I garden mainly for wildlife. I wanted something I could plant along a chain link fence at the front of my house. Previous owner had Chineses privet and they were out of control. I purchased 15 of the Morella (Myrica) cerifera 'Don's Dwarf,' They are exactly what I wanted for that area. They were planted about five feet apart. Don's dwarf has formed a dense hedge hiding the fence but not overwhelming. I do not like clipped hedges. I prefer a natural look. These fit the bill. They are nicely shaped and require no maintenance. They are approximately five feet in height and width but still growing. They are said to grow 4-6 feet high and wide. Most of all the birds enjoy them.

Positive Fires_in_motion On Jan 5, 2011, Fires_in_motion from Vacherie, LA (Zone 9a) wrote:

Just an awesome, bulletproof, small-to-medium tree for the entire Southeast. It's often thought of as a boring native forest shrub, so has little cachet value around here. It has a beautifully contorted, Olive Tree-esque (or dwarf Live Oak-esque) appearance when mature, though some people give it the topiary treatment for some unfathomable reason or another. I used to turn my nose up at this tree, not for its non-rarity, but rather for the slight orangey color at the tips of its new leaves. I dunno why, but this has always put me off for some reason. Maybe it's just mild chlorosis (iron deficiency)? I finally decided to get one after learning that the big multi-trunked stunner of a tree in the yard of my parents' neighbors in New Orleans is a Wax Myrtle. I had assumed it was some sort of big smooth-leaved holly, I guess. The owner told me he dug it up as a baby in a forest in Abita 30 years ago; it is now about 20 feet tall and 15 feet wide, planted only a few feet from their house's foundation. (He's an electrician/contractor, but apparently is not worried about it doing any damage to the foundation.)

I bought a 3-gallon baby in September at Banting's, having demurred on a drool-inducing 15-gallon behemoth with three fat, elegant trunks. The next day I went back and swapped my baby ($15) for the big boy ($90), and planted it that same day in brutal 95 heat. I have not regretted the swap for a second. After planting it (in full sun), I was disconcerted to see more than half of its leaves drop over the next few months. However, the very outer leaves didn't drop, telling me the tree was simply shedding interior leaves in order to regrow new ones to take advantage of the new light availability. Watering it more than I would water most newly-planted trees also seemed to help it a lot. It has handled several recent 25 nights beautifully, and continues to put out new leaves in the winter. This is one tough species all around, and to top it all off, it is awarded the highest hurricane survivability rating (> 80% survival rate) from LSU Ag Center.

Yes, you can probably dig a Wax Myrtle up out of the swampy forests around here, but (much like with Bald Cypresses) I find it actually quite hard to find babies. What you normally find are big ones that have sent up pups (root shoots) to form a sort of thicket, though the thicket does not extend for more than a few yards in either direction. Just buy a nice specimen tree and you, as well as the birds and reptiles in your neighborhood, will thank me.

Positive DreamOfSpring On Jan 11, 2005, DreamOfSpring from Charleston, SC (Zone 9a) wrote:

I have 3 large (12-20') wax myrtles in my yard and the birds love them. Each tree has at least 1 bird's nest, sometimes more. The birds also seem to love the seeds so it's a home with a built in food supply.

Positive growtexas1 On Sep 3, 2004, growtexas1 from Henderson, TX wrote:

An excellent landscape shrub or small tree. I have used them as entry plantings instead of the overused and harsher hollies. Collect seeds as soon as ripe in early-mid autumn. Remove waxy coating and plant in coldframes. Seeds will benefit from several weeks of cold stratification.
Wax myrtles have a wonderful lavender-like fragrance when rubbed or brushed, and make excellent specimens when allowed to develop into a small tree. I have some between 15-20 ft. on my farm, and they develop great branching character as they mature.

Positive patp On Jul 13, 2003, patp from Summerville, SC (Zone 8a) wrote:

The Wax Myrtle is deer resistant, heat and drought tolerant, and grows freely in poor soil. The woody stem shapes can be as interesting as the trimmed foliage. Seeds are small and aromatic; new seedlings emerge beneath established plants. And if you're lucky, the plants are native to your area.

Positive bleu On Aug 4, 2002, bleu wrote:

The wax myrtle responds well to pruning, has attractive evergreen foliage and is a fast grower. The berries are a food source for birds in the winter. It repels insects, (particularly fleas); was often planted around southern homes to keep the fleas out. A sprig in a closet or drawer will keep out cockroaches.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Atmore, Alabama
Tuskegee, Alabama
Morrilton, Arkansas
South Lyme, Connecticut
Auburndale, Florida
Bartow, Florida
Cocoa, Florida
Ellenton, Florida
Fernandina Beach, Florida
Hollywood, Florida
Indialantic, Florida
Keystone Heights, Florida
Lake City, Florida
Naples, Florida
Navarre, Florida
Oldsmar, Florida
Palmetto, Florida
Safety Harbor, Florida
Saint Augustine, Florida
Sarasota, Florida
Sebring, Florida
Summerfield, Florida
Tampa, Florida
Brunswick, Georgia
Lawrenceville, Georgia
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Edgard, Louisiana
Gonzales, Louisiana
Marrero, Louisiana
New Orleans, Louisiana
Paulina, Louisiana
Slaughter, Louisiana
Vacherie, Louisiana
Centreville, Maryland
Valley Lee, Maryland
Waynesboro, Mississippi
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Julian, North Carolina
Sunset Beach, North Carolina
Florence, Oregon
Lansdowne, Pennsylvania
Bluffton, South Carolina
Columbia, South Carolina
Florence, South Carolina
Summerville, South Carolina
Sumter, South Carolina
Knoxville, Tennessee
Sevierville, Tennessee
Arlington, Texas
Cleburne, Texas
Cypress, Texas (2 reports)
Denton, Texas
Huffman, Texas
Irving, Texas
Jacksonville, Texas
New Caney, Texas
Rockport, Texas
Rowlett, Texas
San Antonio, Texas (2 reports)
Santa Fe, Texas
Spring, Texas (2 reports)
Sugar Land, Texas
Tyler, Texas
Cape Charles, Virginia
Gloucester, Virginia
Herndon, Virginia
Irvington, Virginia
Newport News, Virginia
Norfolk, Virginia

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