Among the ancient Greeks, myrtle was considered a symbol of youth, beauty and chastity. Even then, the beneficial effect of essential oils was noted. Noble townspeople washed themselves with water infused with myrtle. Wine infusion on the fruits of myrtle was used as an elixir of health and vigor. By releasing phytoncides, myrtle destroys pathogenic microbes, even in extremely small doses, phytoncides kill tuberculosis and diphtheria bacilli and other bacteria. A plant with a total leaf area of 1,5 m² can purify 100 cubic meters of air by 40-50%, kills up to 22% of streptococci and up to 40% of staphylococci. Helps to cope with influenza and acute respiratory infections.
Мирт (Myrtle). Farmer Burea-Uinsurance.com Sarah Gregg
Description of myrtle
Myrtus – a genus of southern evergreen woody plants with white fluffy flowers and dark green leaves containing essential oil. Also, myrtle used to be called a wreath of flowers and leaves of such a tree or its branch – a symbol of silence, peace and pleasure.
Myrtle is a fragrant evergreen tree. It has dark green, polished leaves, beautiful flowers. Myrtle leaves contain an essential oil that is used to make incense. Myrtle was a sign of glory and good deeds. The myrtle wreath with roses in ancient times was a favorite wedding decoration.
In ancient times, myrtle was an attribute of the goddess Venus and her three maidservants – the three graces. During the Renaissance, evergreen myrtle began to symbolize eternal love, especially marital fidelity.
During the Renaissance, evergreen myrtle began to symbolize eternal love, especially marital fidelity.
The word “myrtle” itself is of Greek origin. Legend has it that the nymph Mirsina, whom Athena herself admired and admired, defeated this supreme goddess of Olympus in a race. Envy overshadowed her admiration for her darling, and Athena killed the nymph in revenge for her hurt pride. But when she came to her senses, she was horrified and began to pray for the advice of the Olympic gods to leave her at least some memory of Mirsin. The gods took pity, and from the body of the deceased a graceful, like the nymph herself, a plant – myrtle – grew.
According to legend, Aphrodite was crowned with a wreath of myrtle during a famous dispute, thanks to which Paris gave her his apple. Since then, myrtle has become the favorite flower of the goddess of love and beauty, sometimes she even called herself Myrthea. Many myrtle bushes were planted around the temples of Aphrodite, and during the annual festivities in honor of this goddess, everyone was decorated with myrtle wreaths.
Features of growing myrtle
Bloom: usually in summer and mid-autumn.
Growth: myrtle grows rather slowly: an annual growth of 10-15 cm.
Shine: bright absent-minded; the plant is able to tolerate a certain amount of sunlight.
Temperature: moderate or slightly below moderate in spring and summer, 18-20 ° C; during the winter months, the myrtle tree is best kept at a temperature of 5 ° C and no higher than 8-10 ° C.
Watering: from spring to autumn, regular and abundant (as the upper layer of the substrate dries up), in winter it is limited.
Air humidity: from spring to autumn, the plant is sprayed.
Top dressing: from spring to autumn, myrtle is fertilized weekly with flower fertilizer.
Trimming: Plants tolerate pruning and shearing, so they can be shaped to any shape.
Rest period: in winter; the plant is kept in a bright cool (5-10 ° C) place, watering is limited.
Transfer: young plants are transplanted every year in the spring, without burying the base of the trunk into the soil, further transplanting is carried out, if necessary, after 2-3 years.
Reproduction: the plant propagates by seeds, cuttings.
Myrtle loves bright diffused light, carries a certain amount of direct sunlight. Suitable for cultivation in the western and eastern windows. In the south windows in the summer period it is necessary to provide the plant with protection from the midday sun. It can grow on the north window, but the flowering will be less abundant. In winter, myrtle is placed in the most lighted areas.
In summer, the myrtle can be exposed to the open air, to a place where it is protected from the midday sun. The plant should be accustomed to a new level of illumination gradually. Some growers for hardening plants for the summer bury a pot with myrtle directly into the ground.
Myrtle loves coolness, in spring and summer it needs a moderate or slightly below moderate temperature (18-20 ° C). During the winter months, the myrtle tree is best kept at a temperature of 5 ° C and no higher than 8-10 ° C. At a higher than optimal winter temperature, the plant may shed its foliage.
Myrtle needs fresh air.
Water myrtle from spring to autumn regularly and abundantly (as the upper layer of the substrate dries up), in winter – limitedly, with soft, settled water. In no case should even a short-term drying out of the soil be allowed. If, nevertheless, the substrate is dry, watering is used by immersing the pot in a container with water. At the same time, care must be taken that water does not stagnate in the sump.
You should carefully monitor the humidity of the air. Although in natural conditions of myrtle growth, air humidity rarely exceeds 60%, in rooms with central heating it is usually half as much. From spring to autumn, the plant should be sprayed regularly. For spraying, use only soft, settled or filtered water. In winter, when kept cool, the plant is not sprayed.
From spring to autumn, myrtle is fertilized, as already noted, with a weekly flower fertilizer.
Myrtle has a pronounced period of rest. Depending on the position in the room, the myrtle is at rest from 3 (on the north window) to 1,5 (on the south) months.
Myrtle easily tolerates a haircut, and can be given a very fancy shape. Several methods of plant formation are given: “If the myrtle (this is how the myrtle was called in Russia at the beginning of the XNUMXth century) is left to itself, then the plant will take the shape of a pyramid. If you cut off the top shoot, then the shape of a bush, if, finally, cut off the side shoots, then the myrtle takes the form of a crown tree and branches out at the top. “
However, the author does not advise to get too carried away by pruning lateral shoots, especially in young plants, since the stem of the myrtle is not strong enough. Also, do not pinch young shoots too often – this reduces the intensity of flowering. Therefore, when caring for myrtle, it is necessary to decide which is preferable – strongly branching compact bushes or flowering specimens with a loose crown.
Young plants are transplanted every year in the spring, without burying the base of the trunk into the soil, further transplanting is carried out, if necessary, after 2-3 years. The following mixtures are recommended as a substrate: 1) sod-humus-peat soil and sand in equal proportions; 2) ordinary greenhouse soil; 3) clay-sod-peat-humus soil and sand (1: 1: 1: 0,5). The pH of the substrate should be around 5-6. Provide a good drainage layer at the bottom of the pot.
Reproduction of myrtle
Myrtle is propagated by seeds and cuttings.
Propagation of myrtle by seeds
For sowing, we make up a mixture of peat and sand in a 1: 1 ratio (you can mix peat with vermiculite (1: 1)). Moisten the substrate (you can spill the substrate with a fungicide).
The seeds are spread over the surface of the substrate, sprinkled on top with a thin layer of the substrate. The container with seeds is covered with glass or a transparent bag (you can use cling film). The temperature is maintained not lower than + 18..20 ° C. Periodically ventilate, removing the shelter. The substrate must be kept moist, try not to overmoisten or overdry.
Seedlings usually germinate in 7-14 days. When the seedlings grow two true leaves, they are dived into pots of the appropriate size. The substrate is made up of sod land – 1 hour, humus – 1 hour, peat – 1 hour and sand – 1 hour. After transshipment, the seedlings can freeze in growth for a while, after a while they usually start growing again.
After braiding a lump of earth with roots, a transshipment is made. Further care is the same as for adult plants.
Myrtle grown from seeds blooms at 5 years of age.
Propagation of myrtle by cuttings
Myrtle is propagated by semi-lignified cuttings in January-February and in summer – in July. Cuttings are taken from the lower and middle parts of the crown, the size of the cutting is 5-8 cm; to reduce evaporation, half of the existing leaves are cut off, and the remaining ones are shortened. It is useful to treat the cut with growth stimulants. N. Tsybulya et al. Recommend the use of heteroauxin in a mixture with ascorbic acid (0,25% 0). Rooted in boxes, bowls, wide low pots in a mixture of leafy earth and coarse sand, or sphagnum and sand in a cool (16-20 ° C) shaded place.
The cuttings are watered, sprayed and covered with glass or plastic wrap. Occasionally, the soil is ventilated to avoid rotting cuttings and soil acidification. The cuttings take root within 20-30 days. Rooted cuttings are planted in 7-centimeter pots. The substrate is made of sod land – 1 hour, humus – 1 hour, peat – 1 hour and sand – 1 hour. Water abundantly. Young plants are pinched to stimulate flowering. After braiding a lump of earth with roots, transshipment is given. A plant from cuttings blooms for 3-4 years.
To the genus Myrtus) belongs to 16 to 40 species of the myrtle family. Species of the genus Myrtle are widespread in North Africa, Western Asia, on the islands of the Caribbean Sea, in Florida (USA), on the Azores, in Europe (Mediterranean region).
One species is widely known in culture – Common myrtle Marcus common.
Common myrtle (Myrtus communis). Grows in the undergrowth of evergreen oaks and pines and in bushes in the Mediterranean region, the Azores, North Africa. Trees or shrubs up to 3-4 m tall; shoots are 4-sided, finely hairy, round, glabrous. Leaves are opposite, sometimes collected in 3, ovoid, lanceolate, 2-4 (up to 5) cm long and 1-2 cm wide, pointed, leathery, whole-edged, smooth, glabrous, glossy.
If you look at the myrtle leaf in the light, you can see small dots filled with essential oil, thanks to which the plant emits a pleasant aroma. The most fragrant are the white flowers of the plant. They are medium-sized (up to 2 cm in diameter), five-petal, located one at a time on long pedicels. Numerous golden stamens give them a special originality.
In nature, myrtle reaches a height of 3-5 m.In culture, the plant is low (about 60 cm), rarely reaches 1 m.
Common myrtle has many cultural forms, differing in leaf position and ability to bloom.
Possible difficulties in growing myrtle
If there is not enough light, the stems stretch out, the leaves shrink and turn pale, but in case of excess, they fade, turn yellow, the edges curl. In a dark room with a high temperature, the plant sheds its leaves.
The plant suffers greatly due to overdrying and overflow of the substrate. If the plant has dropped its leaves due to overdrying or waterlogging, the shoots should be cut in half and continue watering (in case of waterlogging, watering is very careful) and spraying. Young leaves may appear in two weeks.
If placed too warm and dark, leaves may fall off. If suddenly leaves began to fly around from the myrtle, then the matter is in improper watering: it is either insufficient or excessive. In this case, you can recommend immersing the overdried plant in water, and replanting the waterlogged plant. However, most often the plant cannot be saved.
Pests affect primarily old specimens. Too high air temperature in winter also contributes to this.