Micromyrtus is a small genus of about 22 species, all of which occur naturally only in Australia. M.ciliata is the best known member of the genus and is widely cultivated. As a result of its fairly wide range, it is a variable species in habit ranging from a semi-prostrate plant to a small shrub up to about 1.5 metres high. The leaves are small, linear or narrowly oblong, to about 4-5 mm long. Flowers are profuse but are very small, about 3 mm in diameter, and occur in the leaf axils. They are white or pale pink and, in some forms the flowers age to a darker pink – these are the most common in cultivation.
M.ciliata is a very commonly grown plant but problems can occur when plants native to one particular climate are grown in a different climate. For example, species native to dry climates such as South Australia and western Victoria may be difficult to maintain in more humid areas. The form most commonly available is a low, spreading form from the Grampians in western Victoria and it can be short lived in humid areas, particularly if soil drainage is less than perfect. It prefers moist, well drained soils in a sunny or lightly shaded position and is tolerant of at least moderate frosts.
Propagation can be carried out from seed and no pretreatment is required. Cuttings of hardened, current season’s growth usually strike reliably.
Micromyrtus ciliata: White flowers
Photo: Jeff Howes
Micromyrtus ciliata: flowers aging to pink
Photos: Brian Walters