Celastrus

Common name: Climbing Bittersweet or Oriental Bittersweet

Celastrus orbiculatus is a hardy deciduous climbing plant reaching heights of 10metres (30ft) or more, and is native to Japan and China.

They are suited to growing up walls and fences, but can be rather invasive, so be careful where you locate them or the may take over an area dedicated to other plants you are growing.

Panicles of flowers appear in June/July, these later turn into pea sized scarlet berries which can last well into the winter months.

To get the berries you will be required to grow both male and female plants.

If you find you have a predominance of male plants to female take cuttings from female plants to replace the male population.

A ratio of five females to one male is deemed to be a good mix.

Cultivation:

Week 10: Thin out thin or unwanted growths, and cut main shoots back by half.

Fetch stratified seed into the warmth of a greenhouse to germinate.

Prick out the seedlings when large enough to handle into 70mm (3") pots of potting compost and grow on in the cold frame until planting out time the following year.

Week 18: Plant out one year old seedlings if conditions allow.

They are tolerant of most soil types providing it is not too shallow and remains moist at all times.

Similarly it will grow in either full shade or full sun.

However it produces more flowers in a sunny situation.

Week 26: Take semi-hardwood cuttings now or wait till October and take hardwood cuttings.

Week 30: Layer suitable shoots of current years growth.

Week 40: Take hardwood cuttings, alternatively layer suitable low branches.

Week 42: Gather seeds and sow them in trays of seed compost and stratify in a cold frame.

Remove the flesh off the fruit prior to sowing otherwise it will inhibit germination, or cause the seed to rot.

This cold stratification period leads to a higher germination rate.

25 mm long root cuttings can be planted horizontally in trays of seed compost and placed in a cold frame to root.





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