Pacific Wax Myrtle for Eastern PA?

VForgeFebruary 24, 2013

I have been scouring the Internet and this forum to find out what hedges would work in southeastern PA. I live outside of Philly . . . my area was re-zoned from 6 to 7 recently. Has anyone in this region tried Pacific Wax Myrtle? I only see it advertised on the west coast, where it is native.

I would like to grow a 10-15-ft hedge, lots of sun. I grew Southern Wax Myrtle in Virginia (zone 8) and just moved here and would love to have myrtle once again. So:

Will Pacific Wax Myrtle grow here? Do the deer go after it? (I am right next to Valley Forge National Park so LOTS of deer.) And . . . how far apart should I plant it? Thanks for your answers.

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mad_gallica(zone 5 - eastern New York)

Since there are a lot of very good arboretums in that area, I'd ask them. I'd start with the elephant in the room - Longwood. I'd also not take the supposed rezoning too seriously. Extreme SE Pennsylvania has been considered zone 7 ever since they first invented USDA zones. Valley Forge may have been zone 6 for some of that time, but Longwood definitely wasn't. Any place that considers a temperature of -3F front page news, in about the largest type I've ever seen in a current newspaper, is not zone 6.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2013 at 1:10PM
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A great many plants native to the Pacific coastal area of the US simply do not fair well elsewhere in this country. The climate differences - not just hardiness issues - are substantial. Very generally, if it is not a plant available for sale in your better, larger retail garden centers or in public gardens, then chances are very good it will not thrive in your environment.

Pacific wax myrtle is very much a maritime plant - the further inland one travels even here in western WA, the more difficulty one has in growing PWM and the more likely it is to be damaged by winter cold. While it is usually listed as a zone 7 plant, a severe zone 8 winter can cause problems or at least significant dieback.

Have you considered Myrica pensylvanica or northern bayberry? I realize it is decidious to the PWM's evergreen foliage but it does make a decent hedge. I think mad's suggestion to visit some arboreta or public gardens in your area is very well advised - that would be the ideal place to see what is used in your area, what will be sufficiently hardy and what you like.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2013 at 3:22PM
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Hey thanks for the responses. I was out of town and couldn't respond. I will take the advice. Makes a lot of sense. Many thanks!

    Bookmark   March 6, 2013 at 8:35PM
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