Myrtle Topiary
Answered by: Inge Poot
Question from: Diane Gilby
Posted on: June 25, 1999

I am on my third myrtle plant and have no success with them. The first two died and now the third one is in trouble. I have tried to train it into a topiary but it shoots up from the bottom. Then the leaves get huge. I’ve cut off the shoots several times, but nothing seems to help. What am I doing wrong? It sits in a south facing window in Wisconsin, USA. I water twice a week with room temperature water. It gets Schultz liquid fertilizer at least once per week in the water. It is in a pottery container with drainage and a saucer.

The problem might be that you allowed the plant to get too dry at one point and the main plant died. You might wish to consult our web page, click on "Q&A", then on "Search Q&A", then type in "Myrtle" to get two or more questions and answers that deal with the problems of growing myrtle. Since the plant is regrowing from the base and producing very large leaves it is obviously not underfertilized. To continue to get smaller leaves, you should make sure to grow "German" myrtle, since this is a small leaved strain of the species and also you should cut down a bit on the fertilizing. If you nip out the growing tip of your topiary when the plant is still very short, it might abandon any attempt to grow from that part of the plant and start a new shoot from the base. Nipping out the growing tip removes the source of the lateral bud inhibitor produced by the growing tip - the faster it grows the more inhibitor it produces and the inhibitor only diffuses downward- and by its removal allows lower dormant buds to start growing. If you have removed all the buds on the lower portions of the stem, then the plant will sprout from the base.

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