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



Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Water Requirements:

Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


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:

Unknown - Tell us

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


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

Grand Isle, Louisiana

Marrero, Louisiana

New Orleans, Louisiana

Paulina, Louisiana

Slaughter, Louisiana

Vacherie, Louisiana

Centreville, Maryland

Valley Lee, Maryland

Waynesboro, Mississippi

Chapel Hill, North Carolina

Durham, 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

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On May 1, 2015, peachmcd from Durham, NC wrote:

This truly is an effortless and beautiful native for my area (Durham NC); however, I wanted to mention what is not part of the description of the most common cultivar, 'Don's Dwarf': it is a male clone, so there will be no berries.

I plan to move mine out of its current location to make room for a female dwarf wax myrtle if I can locate one. Meanwhile, it is a nice plant, and the minor pruning (to keep it under 5ft)) gives me natural roach repellent to use around the house.


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.


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'... read more


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.


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 s... read more


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.


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.


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.


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.