Austromyrtus, the midgen berry, is perhaps the sweetest of the Australian bush fruits and is well worth growing for that reason alone. For the gardener it also has a host of desirable traits. Beautiful bronze new growth, a low growing and mounding habit, the ability to be pruned into whatever shape is desired, lovely sprays of starry white flowers followed by attractive fruit- a delightful addition to the garden!
The midgen berry comes from the north coast of NSW and south east Queensland, but adapts well to gardens in southern states of Australia provided it does not get severe frosts. Growing in a protected spot will minimise the risk of frost damage as will covering the plant during the first year of establishment in cooler climates.
The fruit is small, but there are lots of them. They can be picked and eaten straight from the plant and are very popular with children for this reason. The berries are produced from spring to autumn in waves, and keeping the plant from drying out will help to keep it fruiting. Give it a reasonably well drained position with sun for at least half the day for maximum cropping.
All the Austromyrtus varieties are great easy care garden plants, and also excellent container plants. The small size of the shrub means they can fit into limited spaces like courtyards and balconies as well as larger gardens.
Austromyrtus dulcis is not the only member of this genus with tasty fruits, as the species Austromyrtus tenuifolia is also worth growing for all the same reasons. It is more upright and grows sowewhat taller than its cousin. Austromyrtus ‘Copper Tops’ is reputedly a hybrid between the two species and has narrower foliage than Austromyrtus dulcis but the taller, more upright habit of Austromyrtus tenuifolia, and it also has bountiful crops of berries.