A low-growing, wide-spreading groundcover plant, myoporum parvifolium is a sun-loving evergreen that grows well anywhere hot. The plant grows especially well in the toasty regions of Arizona, Southern California, Florida and Hawaii. Hardy in winter temperatures as low as 23 degrees Fahrenheit, myoporum parvifolium grows successfully in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 9 through 11. Called "Creeping Boobialla" in its native Australia, the plant's common name in the U.S. is simply "myoporum."
With a height of 12 inches and a spread of up to 9 feet, proper spacing at planting time is crucial. Plant myoporum parvifolium 6 to 8 feet apart in well-drained clay, loamy or sandy soil. Myoporum tolerates acidic, neutral or alkaline soils. Choose a spot that gets full sun, which means the plant spends at least half the day bathed in direct sunlight. Myoporum plants quickly fill in the gaps between one another to form a broad, dense mat of light green leaves topped in spring and summer by tiny, star-shaped white flowers. Plant myoporum on slopes or in areas that have eroded, but keep the plants away from sidewalks and other areas where people might step on them since the stems are brittle.
Water and Fertilizer
Myoporum thrives in hot, dry climates where water is often scarce due to drought. Though it will tolerate long, dry spells, myoporum appreciates extra watering when the soil is particularly dry. If you plant it on a hillside or other sloped area, use a soaker hose or drip irrigation system to provide enough water for the roots to absorb before the water drains away. Water the roots rather than the foliage for best results. Give the plant a thorough watering every week or two -- more often if the myoporum seems too parched. After planting, mulch the myoporum parvifolium with a 2-inch-thick layer of an organic product such as wood chips. Wait until the myoporum is established in the garden, then apply a nitrogen-rich granular fertilizer and water it in thoroughly.
Bermuda grass can be a problem around myoporum parvifolium, creeping into the soil around the plant and stealing water and nutrients. Keep the mulch at least 2 inches deep around the plant to discourage grass and weeds. Fertilize the plant annually, in late fall or early spring, or both if it seems to need the extra nutrition. If the plant's growth seems too abundant, prune myoporum parvifolium in late winter or early spring to reduce its spread, then fertilize afterward to help it recover. Remove spent flowers to encourage the plant to produce more blooms.
As is often the case with cultivars, myoporum parvifolium varieties are different from the parent plant in growth habit, leaf color and size, yet have the same cultivation and care requirements. Myoporum parvifolium Davis was developed by the University of California at Davis in 1989. It has fingernail-sized, medium green leaves. Unlike its parent plant, Davis produces fragrant flowers. The plant can spread up to 15 feet and is lower-growing than its parent. Putah Creek features larger leaves than its parent and fragrant, white flowers that appear in clusters in early spring. Putah Creek is the tallest myoporum and more lush than its relatives, forming a dense mat of dark green, lance-shaped foliage up to 15 feet across. Putah Creek grows faster than other myoporum.