American Bittersweet

Product Code: bamer

Bittersweet,American(Celastrus scandens)
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Details

The American Bittersweet vine is a vigorous, hardy vine that produces small inconspicuous flowers which precede clusters of red-orange berries. This vine is commonly used for winter decoration. Make sure you plant at least three plants to ensure fruit set. These vines are commonly planted in woodland gardens and naturalized areas. They provide quick cover for fences, arbors, trellises, posts, walls or other structures in the landscape. Also may be grown along the ground to camouflage rock piles or old tree stumps. They are twiner climbers meaning they twine their shoots entirely around a support. They will either twine clockwise or counterclockwise according to species.

Planting & Care for American Bittersweet Vines

Preparation

  • Easily grown in most soils. Best in lean to average soils with regular moisture in full sun. Lean soils help restrain growth.
  • Will grow in part shade, but needs full sun for best flowering and subsequent fruit display. 
  • Vines may be grown on structures or allowed to ramble along the ground. It is generally best to avoid growing vines up small trees or through shrubs because vines grow rapidly and can girdle trunks and branches causing damage and sometimes death.
  • Plant is woodland gardens, naturalized areas. Provides quick cover for fences, arbors, trellises, posts, walls or other structures in the landscape. Also may be grown along the ground to camouflage rock piles or old tree stumps.

Opening Plant Material

  • Bare Root - Cut open the bundle (top and roots are tied) and separate all the plants. Soak roots in buckets of water until planted. Each plant type will be labeled separately for identification. Do not expose the roots to sun. They should never dry out. Keep roots covered. All bare-root plants must be trimmed when planted. 

Planting Bare Root

  • Plant Bare root in fall. A good indicator if you can still plant is if the ground is still workable you’re good to go. If a hard frost is expected be sure to hold off on planting.
  • Dig a hole at least 6" wider and the same depth as the root mass. The crown or graft of the plant should be slightly higher than ground level where it was grown at the nursery.
  • Trim off the broken roots and branches.
  • Place fertilizer packets in hole (if purchased). Do not place other fertilizers in the planting hole. *Use Our Recommended Fertilizer.
  • Spread the roots and fill halfway with soil, then water until soil settles completely saturating the soil and planting pit.
  • Re-adjust plant and fill the hole with the rest of the soil.
  • Back fill the balance of the soil and water well. 
  • See our link below “Handling & Planting Guidelines” for illustrations on planting.   

Pruning - After Planting

  • Bare Root - Prune ALL bare root plants to reduce transplant shock and ensure success. Pruning should occur either before or as soon after planting as possible. All pruning should be done with a sharp pruning shears.

Pruning - Through-out the Season

  • Prune in late winter to early spring. Mature vines require little pruning other than removal of dead or excess growth.

Watering - After Planting

  • Plants typically take approximately 6 weeks to establish new roots in your soil. During this period, water plants as often as every 2-4 days at the start and at least a minimum of once per week.
  • Beyond the 6 week establishment period, water once per week, unless rains occur.
  • Stick your finger into the soil around 3” to check soil moisture.

Watering - Through-out the Season

  • After the first season, plants should only be watered during extended periods without rain.
  • How do you know if your plants need water? The easiest way to tell is to touch the soil around the roots. If it is moist, there is no need to water. If it is dry, give it a good soaking with the hose end (no nozzle) watering the soil only, not the leaves.
  • Stick your finger into the soil around 3” to check soil moisture.

 

Go to our "Plant Features & Video Tab" for more information & tips on caring and maintaining this plant.

Handling & Planting Guidelines

Special Features & Videos for American Bittersweet Vines

Special Plant Features & Tips

  • Easily grown in most soils. Best in lean to average soils with regular moisture in full sun. Lean soils help restrain growth.
  • Will grow in part shade, but needs full sun for best flowering and subsequent fruit display. 
  • Vines may be grown on structures or allowed to ramble along the ground. It is generally best to avoid growing vines up small trees or through shrubs because vines grow rapidly and can girdle trunks and branches causing damage and sometimes death.
  • Prune in late winter to early spring. Mature vines require little pruning other than removal of dead or excess growth.
  • Plant is woodland gardens, naturalized areas. Provides quick cover for fences, arbors, trellises, posts, walls or other structures in the landscape. Also may be grown along the ground to camouflage rock piles or old tree stumps.

What is a bare root plant and how do I plant it?

 

Popular Sizes
ItemApprox. Weight (lbs.)Approx. Base DiameterApprox. HeightShipping Method
#1 Container  10 8" 10" FedEx
#3 Container/Grow Bag 25 10" 15" FedEx
2' - 5' Bare Root 5 - 35 5 - 15" 2 - 5' FedEx
Containers/Grow Bags
ItemApprox. Weight (lbs.)Approx. Base DiameterApprox. HeightShipping Method
#1 Container  10 8" 10" FedEx
#2 Container 15 12" 12" FedEx
#3 Container/Grow Bag 25 10" 15" FedEx
#5 Container/Grow Bag 40 14" 10" McKay Delivery*
#7 Container/Grow Bag 35 - 50 14 - 16" 1 - 2' McKay Delivery*
#10 Container/Grow Bag 55 - 70 18" 1 - 3' McKay Delivery*
#15 Container/Grow Bag 65 - 80 22" 2 - 3' McKay Delivery*
#20 Container/Grow Bag 100 - 160 24" 7 McKay Delivery*
#25 Container/Grow Bag 130 - 200 24 - 30" 8' McKay Delivery*
Bare Root
ItemApprox. Weight (lbs.)Approx. Base DiameterApprox. HeightShipping Method
#1 Bare Root 5 5 - 8" (no soil on roots) 5 - 10" FedEx
12" Bare Root 5 - 10 5" (no soil on roots) 10 - 12" FedEx
15" Bare Root 8 - 10 10 - 12" (no soil on roots) 12 - 15" FedEx
18" Bare Root 10 - 15 10 - 15" (no soil on roots) 15 - 18" FedEx
2' Bare Root 15 12" (no soil on roots) 2' FedEx
3' Bare Root 20 15" (no soil on roots) 3' FedEx
4' Bare Root 25 18" (no soil on roots) 4' FedEx
5' Bare Root 30 20" (no soil on roots) 5' FedEx
6' Bare Root 35 22" (no soil on roots) 6' McKay Delivery*
8' Bare Root 40 22 - 24" (no soil on roots) 8' McKay Delivery*
9' Bare Root 45 24 - 30" (no soil on roots) 9' McKay Delivery*
1 3/4" caliper Bare Root 50 30" (no soil on roots) 5 - 6' McKay Delivery*
1 1/4" caliper Bare Root 55 32" (no soil on roots) 8 - 11' McKay Delivery*
1 1/2" caliper Bare Root 60 32" (no soil on roots) 10 - 12' McKay Delivery*
2 1/2" caliper Bare Root 65 32 - 35" (no soil on roots) 10 - 16' McKay Delivery*
Balled & Burlap (B&B)
ItemApprox. Weight (lbs.)Approx. Base DiameterApprox. HeightShipping Method
2' tall B&B 50 12 - 16" 2'  McKay Delivery*
3' tall B&B 60 - 250 22 - 24" 4' McKay Delivery*
4' tall B&B 250 22 - 24"  5' McKay Delivery*
5' tall B&B 325 16 - 24" 5' McKay Delivery*
6' tall B&B 150 - 325 24 - 30"  6' McKay Delivery*
7' tall B&B 500 - 700 30"  7' McKay Delivery*
8' tall B&B 600 - 700 30 - 32" 8' McKay Delivery*
9' tall B&B 700 30 - 35" 9' McKay Delivery*
1 1/4" caliper B&B 250 - 700 22" - 28" 8 - 11' McKay Delivery*
1 1/2" caliper B&B 350 - 600 24" - 30"  10 - 12' McKay Delivery*
2" caliper B&B 600 - 700 28" - 32"  10 - 14' McKay Delivery*
2 1/2" caliper B&B 700 - 1,000 30" - 36" 10 - 16' McKay Delivery*
3" caliper B&B 850 - 1,200 34" - 38" 12 - 18' McKay Delivery*
3 1/2" caliper B&B 1,000 - 1,200 36"  3' McKay Delivery*

*McKay Delivery - This shipping method can only be used when your delivery address is within 60 miles of Waterloo, Wisconsin. McKay will hand delivery your nursery stock. We can delivey any size, but typically this shipping method is used for oversize items that FedEx cannot ship.

Growing Zones: 2-8

Bloom Time: May - June
Color: Green, Orange, White
Plant Size: Climbing vine (around 15 to 20 feet)
Flower Color: Green-white to yellow
Fruit: Orange
Sunlight: Full Sun
Soil Conditions: Normal, Sandy, Clay, Acidic, Dry
Low Maintenance: Yes
Deer Resistant: Yes
Attracts Butterflies: Yes
Attracts Bees: Yes
Attracts Birds: Yes
Edible: No
Native: Yes

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