Alphabetical Plant Listing

Celastrus scandens (American Bittersweet)

American Bittersweet, Bittersweet, Climbing Bittersweet, False Bittersweet, Shrubby Bittersweet, Waxwork


Prized for its showy bicolored fruits, Celastrus scandens (American Bittersweet) is a fast growing, deciduous, twining, woody vine with ovate, finely serrated, dark green leaves, 4 in. long (10 cm). The foliage turns an outstanding pale yellow in the fall. In late spring to early summer, small greenish-yellow flowers appear in clusters on separate male and female plants. Fertilized female flowers give way to round orange-yellow fruits which split open in fall to expose the scarlet seeds. The berries are quite decorative and attractive, brightening up the fall and winter landscape. Birds feast on them and the fruit is also used for dried arrangements. Native to eastern North America, American Bittersweet spreads both by seeds and root suckers to form large colonies in the wild. It adapts to a wide range of conditions, including full sun to light shade and moist to dry soil. Female plants need a male pollinator to produce the attractive fruit - usually one male plant is needed for 6-9 female plants.

  • Grows up to 15-20 ft. long (450-600 cm) and 3-6 ft. wide (90-180 cm).
  • Thrives in medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun. Drought tolerant once established.
  • No serious insect or disease problems. Deer resistant.
  • Great for trellises, walls, fences, arbors and other structures. Can be used as  a groundcover.
  • No regular pruning needed. If trimming is necessary, prune this vine in late winter or early spring. This vine blooms on new growth.
  • Berries are poisonous. Low toxicity if eaten.
  • Sow seeds in fall or stratify and sow in spring. Bittersweet can also be propagated by root cuttings, layers, suckers, hardwood and softwood cuttings.
  • Native to eastern North America.

Buy Celastrus scandens (American Bittersweet)

Requirements

Hardiness 3 – 8
Heat Zones 1 – 8
Climate Zones 2, 2A, 2B, 3, 3A, 3B, 4, 5, 6, 7, 10
Plant Type Climbers
Exposure Full Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Mid,Late)
Summer (Early,Mid,Late)
Fall
Winter
Height 15' – 20' (4.5m – 6m)
Spread 3' – 6' (90cm – 180cm)
Spacing 36" – 72" (90cm – 180cm)
Water Needs Average
Maintenance Low
Soil Type Chalk, Clay, Loam, Sand
Soil pH Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Well-Drained
Characteristics Dried Arrangements, Showy, Fruit & Berries
Native Plants United States, Midwest, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Northeast, Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Rocky Mountains, Montana, Wyoming, Southeast, Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, Southwest, Oklahoma, Texas
Tolerance Deer, Drought
Attracts Birds
Garden Uses Arbors, Pergolas, Trellises, Ground Covers, Wall-Side Borders, Walls and Fences

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By Hesti Lestari, Shutterstock

While every effort has been made to describe these plants accurately, please keep in mind that height, bloom time, and color may differ in various climates. The description of these plants has been written based on numerous outside resources.


Requirements

Hardiness 3 – 8
Heat Zones 1 – 8
Climate Zones 2, 2A, 2B, 3, 3A, 3B, 4, 5, 6, 7, 10
Plant Type Climbers
Exposure Full Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Mid,Late)
Summer (Early,Mid,Late)
Fall
Winter
Height 15' – 20' (4.5m – 6m)
Spread 3' – 6' (90cm – 180cm)
Spacing 36" – 72" (90cm – 180cm)
Water Needs Average
Maintenance Low
Soil Type Chalk, Clay, Loam, Sand
Soil pH Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Well-Drained
Characteristics Dried Arrangements, Showy, Fruit & Berries
Native Plants United States, Midwest, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Northeast, Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Rocky Mountains, Montana, Wyoming, Southeast, Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, Southwest, Oklahoma, Texas
Tolerance Deer, Drought
Attracts Birds
Garden Uses Arbors, Pergolas, Trellises, Ground Covers, Wall-Side Borders, Walls and Fences

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