Bittersweet

Also known as Bittersweets: False Bittersweet (CELASTRUS orbiculatus) and American Bittersweet (CELASTRUS scandens), these climbers are a favourite for their vigorous growth habit, their yellow autumn colouring and decorative berries in winter.

Bittersweet "Celastrus orbiculatus"

Requirements

Sunny (full sun) to semi-shaded position, may be grown in the shade, but will produce less flowers and fruit. Best in nutrient rich soil.

Characteristics and Pruning

Vigorous twiners with sturdy stem formation. Celastrus orbiculatus, from China with strong growth, broad oval, dentate or serrate and clearly acuminate leaves. Celastrus scandens from North America has oval, acuminate leaves with undulating margins. Foliage from May to October, yellow autumn colouring.

 

Flower and Fruit

Inconspicuous, pale-green flowers, mostly dioecious (male and female on separate plants). In order to get the decorative berries it is best to plant several specimens together. Bird food, decorative in vases.

 

Pruning

Yearly winter prune to contain the vigorous growth.

Climbing Plant Support System

Sturdy, best rod-like growth supports, big old trees are suitable. Lightning conductors, downpipes and roof gutters etc are not to be reached, any growth supports are to have a distance of at least 1.5m from all such structures and to the roof gutters, to the side as well as to the top. Wire rope systems (see below) are suitable if the ropes are arranged parallel to each other as for the Wisteria. Heavy duty Growth Support Systems.