Planting/Growing Bog Myrtle Discussion:
Bog Myrtle, Myrica gale, is also known as “Sweet Gale” and “Common Candleberry”. It is a flowering shrub that is native in the bogs of Europe, Japan, and in parts of North America. While it is very important to many species of insects, it is used medicinally to repel many types. As a matter of fact, there is a moth species named after it called the “Sweet Gale”. This is mainly due to its dense and fragrant aromatic compounds that are omitted when a leaf is crushed.
Bog Myrtle prefers full sun to partial shade and moist soil, like that of the edge of a pond. It prefers “sour” or acidic soil. This means it likes very poor drainage. It tolerates water-logging. Seeds get scattered and lightly pressed into the soil. t grows best in zone 2.
Its roots spread by nitrogen-fixating, suckering rhizomes. They may do well with feeding them nitrogen each year. It is suggested to plant them in pots or with a boarder to stop them. They constantly produce new shoots that can be trimmed off with a chunk of the root. This helps to conserve energy for the main stalks. They may grow up to 4 or 5 feet tall and wide and should be planted 3 ft. apart. It may take up to 20 years to reach their maximum height.
Its leaves begin to appear in May and are pale green, having wide tips and narrowing at the base. The leaves turn yellow and drop in October. Bog Myrtle produces small, yellowish-brown berries. On the second year, before the leaves grow back, the first flowers form.
There is a waxy surface over its seed. We are told to wash this wax off with detergent, followed by rinse with clean water. It is a seed to plant in the fall. Otherwise it requires three months of stratification.
Bog Myrtle only has flowers of one sex. Occasionally plants may change sex from season to season. Therefore, for pollination to take place, two plants, of opposite sex need to be present. Therefore, purchasing seeds and planting multiple plants, to obtain both sexes needs to take place or the suckering branches may be used to grow multiple plants.
We use Bog Myrtle in our Bug Bite herbal blend, which comes in the form of tinctures, colloidal tinctures, glycerites, herbal tea, loose powder, and capsules, elsewhere on this site. To purchase one, or to read about the possible benefits of Myrica gale, Click Here. We also have a hydrosol, made from steam distilled Bog Myrtle, which you can find by Clicking Here.