According to legend, a branch of a myrtle tree is the only thing that Adam managed to take with him when he was expelled from paradise. In the favorable Mediterranean climate, the shoot took root well. From here, the culture subsequently spread throughout the world. The name was given to her from the Greek «incense» for a persistent pleasant aroma. Myrtle is grown as a houseplant. It is very beautiful and is considered the patron of the family hearth. We will analyze all the subtleties of caring for him.
All about caring for a myrtle tree
— top dressing
Under natural conditions, this is a tree. It grows slowly, in adulthood it reaches 4 meters, rarely more. At home, it does not grow above one and a half meters. The annual growth is 10-20 cm. It has narrow glossy leaves of a deep dark green color. In spring, flowers appear on the branches with a large number of long thin stamens. Later, dark blue berries ripen in their place. Myrtle flower — in the photo below.
The flowers and leaves of the myrtle tree have a very pleasant smell. In addition, it releases a large amount of phytoncides. They clean and disinfect the air, reduce the likelihood of inflammatory diseases of the respiratory system, and do not cause allergic reactions. The culture produces an essential oil. It removes bronchospasm, strengthens the immune system. Traditionally, myrtle leaves are valued as a spice, if berries are added to them, then liqueurs with a bright aroma are prepared. Leaves and flowers are widely used by cosmetologists.
Caring for a houseplant myrtle at home
The indoor tree is capricious. If the owner does not create the desired conditions for him, he sheds foliage and refuses to bloom. We will analyze in detail what he needs for normal development.
The culture prefers nutritious loose soil with good breathability and slightly acidic reaction. It can be bought at the store. This is an ordinary universal soil mixture with a pH of 5.3 to 6.4. Suitable soil for citrus fruits. If desired, the substrate is prepared independently. In this case, humus, perlite and garden soil are mixed. All ingredients are taken in equal proportions. To improve the properties of the resulting soil, crushed moss, coconut substrate, coal powder or vermiculite are gradually added to it.
Myrtle is light-loving. It is best suited for placement in a well-lit area. He loves sunlight, but the bush needs a little shade. Diffused lighting is also possible. In this case, the leaves will be very bright, but flowering is unlikely to occur. In poorly lit rooms, the tree stretches out, the leaves lose their saturated color. The bush will not bloom in such conditions. The window sill, which is turned to the southeast or southwest, is considered the best place for decorative culture.
When growing a myrtle tree, the right temperature is very important. In spring, autumn and summer, it prefers moderate heat. The best option is 20-23°C. An increase in temperature will cause foliage and buds to drop. From the end of October, the plant is prepared for a dormant period that occurs in winter. During these months, it is desirable to keep it cool, stably maintain 10-12 ° C. Sharp temperature changes, strong drafts are highly undesirable.
Dry air is unacceptable for the bush. Periodic spraying is suitable for moisturizing. An indoor tree can be placed near a container filled with water, for example, near an aquarium. He will be fine in a tray filled with rubble or pebbles, the stones need to be moistened regularly. You can install a humidifier near the tree and turn it on periodically.
How to water myrtle
The myrtle tree is moisture-loving. It needs frequent watering. In the active development phase, it is watered three or four times a week. However, excess moisture is also dangerous — the root system quickly rots. Therefore, before watering, you need to check the dryness of the land coma. It must dry at least 1 cm deep. In winter, watering is carried out less often. Do this once every ten days. To preserve moisture, the substrate in the pot is mulched. For this, crushed coniferous bark, coconut fiber, etc. are suitable.
The plant needs regular feeding. They are held every two weeks from early March to mid-October. In the resting phase, you can not feed. From the beginning of budding and all subsequent flowering, any complexes for flowering are introduced. The rest of the time they are fed with fertilizers for decorative deciduous crops. Doses of application are indicated on the packages of drugs.
An ornamental tree easily tolerates pruning, so it is suitable for bonsai. Formative pruning is desirable for it, otherwise it will take a pyramidal shape. To get a rounded crown, the lower shoots are left untouched, and the top ones are pinched. You can form a tree with a beautiful stem. To do this, remove all shoots, except for the most powerful. A crown is formed on it. Pruning is carried out only on grown specimens. It is best to prune branches after flowering or in the last weeks of winter. Then the bush will bloom.
The myrtle tree needs to be repotted frequently. Be sure to do this after purchase and once every three to four years for adult specimens. Young trees are transplanted annually, then they develop normally. Myrtle transplantation is carried out in the following sequence.
- Choose a new pot. It should constrain the roots of the plant. Usually they take a new container with a diameter half the size of the crown of the bush.
- Prepare the container for planting. Lay a drainage layer on its bottom. Pour some substrate on top of it.
- Do not water the bush before transplanting for two or three days, so it will be easier to remove it from the old container. To do this, turn the tree over, hold it by the stem, and carefully remove the earthen ball.
- Release the roots from the ground. The easiest way to do this is with a thin stick. Separate the substrate from the root processes with it.
- Check out the roots. Cut off any that are dry or showing signs of disease. Treat the roots with a growth stimulator of the Kornevin type.
- Transfer the bush to a new pot, put it on the bottom of the container. Cover with substrate so that the root neck remains on the surface. Firm the soil carefully.
- Water the seedling. Abundant, but not excessive.
- Remove the transplanted tree for a short time in a shady place.
How to propagate myrtle tree
There are two ways to propagate ornamental culture. Let’s consider both.
This is a long and not always successful option for breeding myrtle. You need to know that varietal characteristics when working with seeds are not always preserved. Therefore, one must be prepared for the fact that the young plant will not be as expected. Breeding technology is very simple. Seeds are disinfected in potassium permanganate, you can additionally treat them with a growth stimulator. After that, they are sown in small containers with a moist substrate.
Cover with foil and put in a warm place for germination. Seedlings have to wait a long time. After their appearance, the film is removed, the seedlings are regularly watered. When two true leaves appear, a pick is carried out. Young plants are transplanted into separate small pots and provide them with the usual care. After about five years, the seedlings begin to bloom.
A simpler, faster and safer way to preserve the characteristics of the variety. Actions are performed in this order.
- Prepare cuttings. Side shoots are best suited for this. With a sharp knife, cut them off at a height of 6-8 cm. The cut should be oblique.
- Treat the cut with a growth-stimulating drug, for example, Kornevin.
- Prepare a small box of nutrient substrate for planting.
- Plant the branches in a moist soil mixture, cover with a film.
- Periodically ventilate the home mini-greenhouse and moisten the soil.
Cuttings are considered rooted when they give two or three new leaves. This means that the time has come for transplanting into separate pots. Such seedlings will bloom in three or four years.
The myrtle tree immediately reacts to adverse changes in the conditions of its maintenance. The appearance of the bush is changing. Here is a list of the most common problems and how to fix them.
- The edges of the leaves curl. So, you need to shade from too bright light.
- The leaves turn yellow. This indicates a lack of nutrients, top dressing is required.
- The roots or base of the stem rot. May be a sign of excessive deepening of the root neck. The bush is unlikely to be saved. You can try to replant it.
- Falling leaves. There are several reasons for this: lack of light, low temperature, dry air, rare watering. All this must be eliminated.
Indoor tree can be threatened by pests. The most dangerous are spider mites, mealybugs and scale insects. They affect myrtle more often than others. Insecticides are used to prevent and kill insects.
How to achieve flowering
There are several conditions that must be met in order for the bush to bloom. Let’s list them all.
- Refusal of pruning, because the cut branches do not bloom. As a last resort, it is carried out in the fall or in the last days of winter.
- There should be no shortage of light, nutrients and clean air.
- The pot should be a little cramped for the root shoots.
- Winter dormancy with occasional watering and coolness is needed.
If these rules are followed, the myrtle will surely bloom. Its flowering is very beautiful, it is in the photo below.