Myrica pensylvanica

- with wax

Bayberry, Northern Bayberry

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  • Myrica pensylvanica - with wax

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Min. hardiness zone:
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Growing Info

Scarification: remove all wax from seed, wash in warm detergent water to completely get the wax off, rinse 3 times
Stratification: cold stratify for 90 days
Germination: seed may start to germinate in cold strat., sow seed 1/8" deep , tamp the soil, mulch the seed bed

The Northern Bayberry, also known as Myrica pensylvanica, is a beautiful plant native to eastern North America. It can be found from Newfoundland to North Carolina, primarily in coastal regions. This plant thrives in its native coastal habitat, where it is salt tolerant and can grow in poor sandy soil.

The Northern Bayberry is known for its shiny dark green leathery leaves, which have a pleasant aroma when crushed. The leaves may be deciduous or semi-evergreen. This plant is perfect for massing or grouping, and can be grown in full sun or shade.

One of the highlights of the Northern Bayberry is its gray berries, which appear in large masses. These berries are used in candle-making, and the leaves can be used to make a gray-green dye. The plant may be tall and upright or low if exposed to wind. It is native to the northeast US, especially along the seashore.

This deciduous shrub typically reaches a height of 5 to 6 feet, but can grow up to 10 feet. It has an upright, spreading branching habit, with an irregular to mounded shape. The plant is multi-stemmed, suckering and colony-forming. Coastal plants are often low-growing, only reaching 1 to 2 feet tall.

The Northern Bayberry has multiple uses, namely the leaves can be made into Bayberry wax candles or seal wax seals, along with soaps that bear the distinctive scent of the bayberry wax-myrtle. The waxy fruits produced by female plants are an important food source for Yellow-rumped Warblers.

In terms of cultivation, the Northern Bayberry prefers full sun to partial shade, but performs best in full sun. It does well in dry, sandy, infertile soils and prefers acidic soils. It is tolerant of salt spray. However, it is important to note that the plant may experience chlorosis on high pH soils.

Overall, the Northern Bayberry is a versatile and beautiful plant that can thrive in coastal regions and difficult growing sites. It is a great addition to shrub borders, foundation plantings, and seashore landscapes. With its unique features and uses, this native plant is sure to make a stunning addition to any landscape.

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