Celastrus scandens
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Celastrus scandens Bittersweet



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Our dormant vine is UNSEXED.  We grow this vine from seed or cuttings.  'Unsexed' means the plant is not old enough to show male/female characteristics.  The female produces the ornamental berries, but a male is needed for pollination; both male and female should be grown semi-close to eachother to get the ornamental fruit that many desire.  We recommend buying a few roots to increase your odds of getting both sexes.  Started from seed, it can take many years to get flowers/berries.

Bittersweet is a woody perennial vine of hardwood forests found native west to the Dakotas, east to New England, and spanning south to Oklahoma, (Zones 3-8) in medium to dry soils, full to partial sun.  This vine can reach up to 50 feet if it has tree trunks to twine on.  If not, it will make more of a shrub-like shape and will eventually spread out over surrounding vegetation.  Some may not like this aggressive behavior of the American Bittersweet, but this is nothing compared to the aggressiveness of the similar-looking Oriental Bittersweet (Celastrus orbiculatus), also called Asian Bittersweet.  To distinguish American Bittersweet from Oriental Bittersweet, notice the placement of the flowers/berries; on the American they hang in terminal panicles of 5-60 berries whereas on the Oriental there are small clusters of 2-4 berries all along the stem.  The leaves are usually rounder on the Oriental Bittersweet.  Both Bittersweets have a bright red fruit that is surrounded by a yellow/orange 'jacket' when ripe.  There is evidence that the two vines may be hybridizing

Dormant bare root plants ship each year during optimal transplanting season: fall (October) or spring (April/May). This bare root tree is 3 years old and we trim to a height of approximately 12-18".
Celastrus scandens - Bittersweet

Map Key

This map shows the native and introduced (adventive) range of this species. Given appropriate habitat and climate, native plants can be grown outside their range.

2 Questions asked on Celastrus scandens






Q Mary • 12/09/2018 Will this vine climb on flat walls (like ivy)? Or must it have something to twine around like stems and branches?
A Prairie Moon • 12/10/2018 This Vine is the type that needs to twine around. It requires fairly sturdy support and does not have any means to climb a flat wall.
Q Joy • 05/08/2019 Would this vine be good for an overhead pergola? Above the patio for example?
A Prairie Moon • 05/09/2019 Thanks for writing, Joy. The aggressive growth and climbing habit of Bittersweet could make it perfect for training to cover an overhead pergola. The quickest route to establishment would be transplanting several plants, but we are sold out of our dormant bare roots for this spring. Seeds are best planted in late fall because they need months of immersion in cold, moist conditions before they will sprout.
SEED:

Growing your own plants from seed is the most economical way to add natives to your home. Before you get started, one of the most important things to know about the seeds of wild plants is that many have built-in dormancy mechanisms that prevent the seed from germinating. In nature, this prevents a population of plants from germinating all at once, before killing frosts, or in times of drought. To propagate native plants, a gardener must break this dormancy before seed will grow.

Each species is different, so be sure to check the GERMINATION CODE listed on the website, in the catalog, or on your seed packet. Then, follow the GERMINATION INSTRUCTIONS prior to planting. Some species don't need any pre-treatment to germinate, but some species have dormancy mechanisms that must be broken before the seed will germinate. Some dormancy can be broken in a few minutes, but some species take months or even years.

Seed dormancy can be broken artificially by prolonged refrigeration of damp seed in the process of cold/moist STRATIFICATION. A less complicated approach is to let nature handle the stratifying through a dormant seeding, sowing seeds on the surface of a weed-free site in late fall or winter. Tucked safely beneath the snow, seeds will be conditioned by weathering to make germination possible in subsequent growing seasons.

To learn more, download: Seed Starting Basics.

BARE ROOTS:

We dig bare-root plants from our outdoor beds and ship them April-May and October. We are among the few still employing this production method, which is labor intensive but plant-friendly. They arrive to you dormant, with little to no top-growth (bare-root), packed in peat moss. They should be planted as soon as possible. Unlike greenhouse-grown plants, bare-root plants can be planted during cold weather or anytime the soil is not frozen. A root photo is included with each species to illustrate the optimal depth and orientation. Planting instructions/care are also included with each order.

Download: Installing Your Bare-Root Plants

POTTED PLANTS:

Trays of 38 plants and 3-packs leave our Midwest greenhouse based on species readiness (well-rooted for transit) and based on order date; shipping begins early-May and goes into June. Plant cells are approximately 2” wide x 5” deep in the trays, and 2.5" wide x 3.5" deep in the 3-packs; ideal for deep-rooted natives. Full-color tags and planting instructions/care are included with each order.

Download: Planting and Care of Potted Plants

*PLEASE NOTE: we are a mail order nursery and have no retail facilities, but you may pick up your order if prior arrangements are made. Pick up orders are subject to **MN Sales Tax.

Shipping & Handling Charges:
SEED $100.00 and under: $5.00
over $100.00: 5% of the total seed cost
(for orders over $1,000 a package signature will be required)

BARE ROOT and POTTED PLANTS $50.00 and under: $7.50
over $50.00: 15% of the total plant cost
(for orders over $1,000 a package signature will be required)

TOOLS and BOOKS have the shipping fee included in the cost of the product (within the contiguous US).

**We are required to collect state sales tax in certain states. Your state's eligibility and % will be calculated at checkout. MN State Sales Tax of 7.375% is applied for orders picked up at our MN location. Shipping & handling charges are also subject to the sales tax.

Shipping Season:

SEED, TOOLS and BOOKS are sent year-round. Most orders ship within a day or two upon receipt.

BARE ROOT PLANTS are shipped during optimal transplanting time: Spring (April-May) and Fall (Oct). Some ephemeral species are also available for summer shipping. Since our plants are field-grown, Nature sets the schedule each year as to when our season will begin and end. We fill all orders, on a first-come, first-serve basis, to the best of our ability depending on weather conditions beyond our control.

POTTED PLANTS (Trays of 38 and 3-packs) typically begin shipping early May and go into June; shipping time is heavily dependent on all the species in your order being well-rooted. If winter-spring greenhouse growing conditions are favorable and all species are well-rooted at once, then we ship by order date (first come, first serve).  We are a Midwest greenhouse, and due to the challenges of getting all the species in the Mix & Match and Pre-Designed Garden Kits transit-ready at the same time, we typically can't ship before early May.  Earlier shipment requests will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

*We are unable to ship PLANTS (bare root or potted) outside the contiguous US or to CALIFORNIA due to regulations.

Delivery:

We ship using USPS, UPS and Spee Dee. UPS and Spee Dee are often used for expediting plant orders; they will not deliver to Post Office Box numbers, so please also include your street address if ordering plants. We send tracking numbers to your email address so please include it when you order.

FOR MORE DETAILED SHIPPING INFORMATION, INCLUDING CANADA SHIPPING RATES (SEED ONLY), PLEASE SEE 'SHIPPING' AT THE FOOTER OF THIS WEBSITE.

iDetails

Seeds/Packet
30
Seeds/Ounce
1,800
Germination Code
C(120)     L
Sun Exposure
Full, Partial
Soil Moisture
Medium, Medium-Dry, Dry
Height
up to 25 feet
Bloom Time
May, June
Bloom Color
White
Advantages
USDA Zones
3-8
Plant Spacing
2-4'
Catalog Number
CEL02T