Myrica cerifera, commonly known as southern wax myrtle or southern bayberry, has spicy, aromatic leaves and fruits. The waxy blue fruits are used to make aromatic bayberry candles, soaps and sealing wax. Southern bayberry is a large, irregularly-shaped, dense-branching, nitrogen-fixing, suckering, fast-growing, evergreen shrub (semi-evergreen in colder northern parts of the growing area) that typically grows to 10-15’ tall and 8-10’ wide, but occasionally reaches a tree-like height of 20’ tall or more. It is native to the southeastern U.S. from New Jersey to Florida through the Gulf States to Oklahoma and Texas and further south into Mexico and Central America. It is typically found in a variety of habitats including wetlands, river margins, sand dunes, pine barrens, hillsides, and upland forests. This plant is highly salt tolerant. The fruits of this species have been used for many years to make bayberry candles, soaps and sealing wax.
Remove all of the wax from the seeds by washing them in warm detergent water three times. Cold stratify the seeds at about 40 degrees F for 90 days. Then sow the seeds 1/4" deep and tamp the soil. The seeds should germinate in about three weeks. M. cerifera grows in a variety of soils but it prefers well-drained, acidic soils.