2015

 
 

Here is another tree that seems to have it all. It is evergreen, of a size  easily accommodated, with lovely flowers, striking fruit, handsome leaves, and brilliantly colored bark, all on a very easy to grow plant. This four-season, feature packed tree is the Strawberry tree, or Arbutus unedo, a member of the heather family, Ericaceae, and native to Europe and the Mediterranean. Rather uniquely, it produces blush-pink flowers from October to December, followed by 1 inch fruit, colored bright red or yellow, that gradually ripen throughout the year and are very showy. Additionally the fruit attracts birds and is even safe for human consumption. Strawberry tree also has amazing bark, burnt orange in color and quite eye catching. And the bark is a perfect contrast for the glossy, dark-green leaves with their red stems.
Strawberry tree is capable of reaching 20 to 25 feet in height, though 15 feet with a similar spread is more common. When shaped to a short, single trunk it makes a handsome specimen tree. And with time it takes on a picturesque, venerable look.
The only drawback is that Strawberry tree is not particularly winter-hardy. Prolonged temperatures in the teens could prove fatal. On the other hand, it is slow growing and would take many years to reach 20 feet in height, making it quite suitable for the conservatory or pot culture. It has no disease or insect problems and can tolerate all soil types provided that they are well-drained.
It does quite well through the UK and across the southern half of the US. It is well suited to Australia and much of New Zealand.

As usual, this special tree will not be found in the popular landscape nurseries but more likely in a specialty, mail-order, plant nursery.

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Strawberry tree

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