I would love to grow bittersweet, but have no knowledge in it. I have dried seeds and know to plant them on a fence row, but what time of year should I plant and should it be in full sun, shade, etc.? Thanks for yous help.
Hardiness Zone: 5a
By Cindy from Peru, IN
- Select an area for planting. Bittersweet can tolerate both sun and shade. However, to encourage fruit to grow, some sun is needed. Bittersweet can also tolerate poor soil conditions, but by adding 2 inches of compost or peat moss to poor soil, it may thrive even more.
- Dig a hole that is just as deep, but two times as wide as the container your bittersweet came in. Take the bittersweet out of the container and place it in the hole, then backfill the soil. Water and pat down the soil well to avoid air pockets.
- Plant several plants if you want your female bittersweets to bear fruit. You need to have both male and female for the females to bear fruit, but unfortunately, sometimes the sexes are not labeled. By purchasing and planting three to five plants, you are most likely going to get a mix. Plant multiple bittersweets about 5 feet apart.
- Place 2 inches of mulch around the base of the plant, and keep it watered for the first several weeks. Established bittersweets do not need supplemental watering, except during drought conditions.
- Fertilize bittersweet with an all-purpose fertilizer once a year in the spring, if desired. You don't have to do this, but it will encourage bittersweet to grow fuller with more fruits and blooms.
- Prune in late winter to early spring. Cut back the vine as much as you want to control growth. Cut back damaged and dead branches anytime.
I accidentally "planted" bittersweet when I had some bittersweet on a wreath on my door. Think twice about this plant because it is very invasive. It climbed all over the other plants and was very very difficult to get rid of once I realized what a problem I had on my hands. (06/08/2010)
Yes, Merlene is right. It is very invasive. But if you have a place to plant it where it can grow wild with no interference then I say go for it. I have seen it sell very high at craft fairs. For me, it is a nice memory because my mother use to gather it every fall for a thrifty arrangement. (06/08/2010)