How to Grow Bayberry Bush - Plant Care & Tips

By NorwichGardener Team   /   2024

Bayberry bush is a plant that is native to North America. It is a shrub that can grow to be about six feet tall. The leaves of the bayberry bush are oval shaped and have a waxy texture. The flowers of the bayberry bush are small and white. The fruit of the bayberry bush is a small berry that is blue or black in color.

How to Grow Bayberry Bush - Plant Care & Tips

Alternative name

  • wax myrtle
  • southern wax myrtle
  • common wax myrtle
  • northern wax myrtle
  • American wax myrtle

Common Knowledge

  • Bayberry bushes are salt-tolerant, fast-growing shrubs that can reach up to 6 feet in height.
  • They are native to coastal regions of the eastern United States and Canada.
  • Bayberry bushes have glossy, dark green leaves and clusters of small white flowers that bloom in the spring.
  • The fruits of the bayberry bush are small, round, and dark blue in color. They are edible and have a tart, tangy flavor.
  • Bayberry bushes are often used as hedges or landscape plants due to their salt tolerance and fast growth rate.
  • Bayberry bushes are positive food sources for a variety of birds and small mammals.
  • The wax from bayberry fruits can be used to make candles and other household items.
  • Bayberry leaves can be used to make a tea that is said to have medicinal properties.
  • The essential oil of bayberry is used in a variety of cosmetics and household cleaners.
  • Bayberry bushes are relatively easy to grow and care for, making them a popular choice for home gardens.

Related plant:
Bayberry Shrub

Planting Process

  1. For bayberry bush, first step is to choose an area in full sun or part sun.
  2. Bayberry bush requires well-drained soil.
  3. Prepare the soil by loosening it with a shovel or garden fork.
  4. Bayberry bush can be planted in early spring or fall.
  5. Place the bayberry bush in the planting hole.
  6. Fill in around the bayberry bush with the loosened soil.
  7. Water the bayberry bush well.
  8. Apply a layer of mulch around the base of the bush.
  9. Bayberry bush will need to be pruned each year to promote new growth.
  10. Bayberry bush can be harvested for its berries in the fall.

Soil Requirement

About soil condition, a Bayberry bush prefers acidic soil but can also grow in slightly alkaline soil. The bush does best in well-drained, sandy loam soil that is high in organic matter. Bayberry bushes are also tolerant of salt, making them a good choice for planting near the ocean.

Light condition

Not too different with other plants, bayberry bushes need sunlight to grow. They need at least six hours of sunlight each day to produce healthy leaves and flowers. If you live in an area with lots of sun, you can plant your bush in full sun. If you live in an area with less sun, you can plant your bush in partial sun.

The Temperature

The temperature condition that is best for a bayberry bush is one that is cool but not cold. This bush thrives in areas that have a moderate amount of humidity and plenty of sunlight. Bayberry bushes are also known to be quite drought tolerant, so a hot, dry climate is also fine.

Ideal Humidity

Ideal humidity condition for this plant is 50% or less. Bayberry bush can tolerate a range of different soil types, as long as it is well-drained. Bayberry bush is salt-tolerant, so it can be grown near the ocean. It is an evergreen shrub that can grow to be 6-8 feet tall. Bayberry bush has small, fragrant, waxy leaves. The leaves are dark green in color and have a leathery texture. The flowers of the bayberry bush are small and white. The fruit of the bayberry bush is a small, blue-black berry.

Fertilizer Requirement

About fertilizer, this type of plant prefers a low-nitrogen fertilizer. If the nitrogen level is too high, it could result in too much foliage growth and not enough fruit production. It's best to use a fertilizer made specifically for fruit-bearing plants. As for the roots, they don't like to be disturbed, so it's best to plant your bayberry bush in an area where it can stay for many years.

About light

Pruning your bayberry bush is important in order to maintain its shape and encourage new growth. You should prune bayberry bushes in late winter or early spring, before new growth begins. To prune your bayberry bush, start by removing any dead or diseased wood. Then, cut back any overgrown or leggy branches. Finally, shape the bush by trimming back the side branches to create a uniform shape.

About Propagating

Propagation is generally done through cuttings taken from the tips of new growth in late spring or early summer. The cuttings should be 4-6 inches long and have at least two leaves. Remove the bottom leaves and stick the cutting into a propagation medium such as perlite, sand, or vermiculite. The cutting should be kept moist and in a brightly lit area but out of direct sunlight. Rooting will usually occur within 4-6 weeks.

Plant Growth

Usually, the plant growth rate is very slow. In fact, bayberry bushes are one of the slowest-growing shrubs. They may only grow about 1/2 inch per year. However, there are some varieties of bayberry bush that have a faster growth rate. These varieties can grow up to 2 inches per year.

The Problems

Common problems for this kind of plant are caterpillars, scale, mites, and aphids. The best way to prevent these problems is to keep the bush healthy and to monitor it regularly for pests. If you see any pests, you should remove them immediately and treat the bush with an appropriate pesticide.

List to Know

  • Do not forget to water your bayberry bush regularly. The plant needs a lot of water to stay healthy and produce fruit.
  • Fertilize your plant every few months to ensure that it gets the nutrients it needs to produce fruit.
  • Prune your bush regularly to keep it from getting too big and unruly.
  • Be patient! Bayberry bushes can take several years to reach full maturity and begin bearing fruit.
  • Keep an eye out for pests and diseases. These can be a problem for bayberry bushes, so be sure to treat them promptly if you notice any.
  • You may need to stake or support your bush if it gets too top-heavy with fruit.
  • Harvest your berries when they are ripe. Bayberries will not continue to ripen after they are picked, so be sure to wait until they are ready.
  • Eat your berries fresh, or use them in recipes. Bayberries


  • Bush honeysuckle
  • Wax myrtle bush
  • Evergreen bush
  • Bayberry plant
  • Butterfly bush
  • Spindle bush
  • Summer lilac bush
  • Burning bush
  • Wintergreen bush
  • Japanese holly bush

Bayberry Leaftier | NC State Extension Publications
Cooperative Extension Publications
Beautyberry, More Than a Pretty Bush

Richelle Author Photo
Reviewed & Published by Richelle
Submitted by our contributor
Shrubs Category