I wanted to write about the Grey Honey Myrtle tree, because it is one of my stellar nursery choices, of the last two years. You know the ones. They catch your eye in their generic container. You have an inkling they could look nice in your garden or yard. You take them home, plant them, and you all settle in. Presto, you wonder how you ever lived without them. They do something incredible and unknown to you, such as a totally unanticipated explosion of color. Yes, it is a big deal, because there are many more lackluster nursery choices that seem to fizzle, and all with good intentions. Has this happened to you?
One of my favorite trees, and stellar nursery choice, is the petite but ever so charming, Grey Honey Mrytle tree, Melaleuca incana. This little darling can actually be grown as a shrub up to 9' tall and wide, or shaped into a small graceful tree. It has a very appealing weeping and lacy branch structure with blue-slate needlelike foliage. In early spring, it blooms profusely in a plethora of tiny "cream puff" flowers that beckon birds and bees.
The Grey Honey Myrtle Tree is a native of Australia, and part of the mammoth melaleucas family which has over 140 species. Optimum climate zones vary by species. It is safe to say that this melaleuca does well in zones 8,9, and 12-24. It will thrive in full sun to partial shade, and is drought tolerant when established. It is an easy tree to care for, and can endure poor soil, wind, heat, and low moisture conditions. In my opinion, the Grey Honey Myrtle tree is a moderate to slow grower, although melaleucas are generally thought of as fast growers. Lace pruning is a good idea to enhance its weeping style, and keep it off of the ground.
My Grey Honey Myrtle tree was planted as a screen, close to my fawn-colored brown stucco fence. Its contrasting grey foliage against this backdrop, and backlit with southern sunlight is stunning. This is a beautiful, very striking ornamental tree for your yard or garden. It too, could be a stellar nursery choice for you.
If you live in a Mediterranean climate, these trees (shrubs) should be available at your local nurseries. In the San Diego area, I have seen them for sale at a few places, but most recently at Buena Creek Gardens. They are also available online through various websites.