Vines and Other Climbing Plants

Celastrus - Bittersweet

The Celastrus family of climbing plants come from just about all over the world and are related to the popular Euonymous garden shrubs. Most are deciduous and are happy in full sun, or semi shade and not fussy about soil types as long as the ground doesn’t get too wet in the Autumn and over Winter.

Celastrus are vigorous, twining climbers that may grow upwards to 30 feet and as such are ideal to grow through “ordinary,” dull, trees to add a splash of colour, both with their leaves and flowers/berries. 

Many garden plants have their male and female flowers on separate plants and the Bittersweet family belong to this type. The flowers of the Bittersweet are not very impressive and barely noticeable being small and greenish, but are followed by colourful fruit. Celastrus Orbiculatus, that comes from North America and is commonly called the “Staff Vine,” is frequently seen on sale in Great Britain and has bunches of small, bright, pea sized, yellow fruit in the Autumn. When ripe, the berries open up to spill out bright red seeds surrounded by orange/pink flesh and they can stay on the plants well into the winter, even after the leaves have fallen. Colour not only comes from the berries, but also the 4 inch long leaves that turn bright yellow in Autumn. 

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