I planted five of these small, evergreen trees last fall. We interplanted them with Osmanthus fragrans. The row of these two evergreens was planted to establish a barrier along the side of our property. As spring rolled into our midst I noticed that some of these Wax myrtles had some flower buds. Let the investigation begin!
It can be left to its open and airy structure or sheared to form a hedge row or a tree. It sends up suckering growth from the root collar. It also spreads laterally by underground runners to form colonies. This tree has the capability of fixing nitrogen because of root nodules with a symbiotic actinomycete. Because of this Wax myrtle thrives in infertile soils.
I believe this because here is evidence of last year's drupes, also pehaps showing some beginnings of this years female flowers. I first learned of Waxmyrtles when I was on a field trip to Colonial Williamsburg. These tiny drupes have a waxy coating (hence the name cerifera--in Latin means wax-bearing) The colonists took these drupes and boiled off the wax and used the wax for candles--Bayberry candles. Some places still use this technique to harvest wax for candles.
The aromatic leaves can be used as a insect repellent, especially fleas according to the Floridata website. They go so far as to say a sprig of this in your closet or drawer will keep cockroaches away. The fruits are high energy drupes for the birds, especially in the winter. The Myrica cerifera is also the host plant for the larva of the Red-banded Hairstreak and the Banded Hairstreak butterflies. Photos of these can be seen at the LBJ Wildflower website.