Kilarney Strawberry Tree

Arbutus unedo

Strawberry Tree, Cane Apple, Dalmatian Strawberry, Irish Strawberry-Tree, Western Strawberry-Tree, Arbutus

profile iconArbutus unedo 20091012 1
by Luis Fernández García (CC BY-SA 3.0)
1 of 9
Arbutus unedo flowers
profile iconArbutus unedo 20091012 1
by Luis Fernández García (CC BY-SA 3.0)
1 of 9
The strawberry tree is a slow-growing, evergreen ornamental shrub or small tree species with a bushy growth habit, commonly grown in many parts of the world. With its dark green leaves, white bell-shaped flowers & small red fruit, this plant is a popular choice for garden planting. This hardy species can be grown into a rough but pretty hedge & looks great in a woodland garden setting. The fruit is edible when fully ripe but has a bland flavour so is not regularly eaten fresh. This fruit has a high sugar content so is more frequently processed in jams & jellies.
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Planning

Difficulty

Moderate

Flowering time

Spring

Fruiting time

Spring

Harvesting

Fruit falls from the tree when it is fully ripe. Make sure the fruit has a soft surface to fall on so that it is not damaged by the fall. Fruit can be picked when it is deep red in colour and very soft to the touch.

Propagation

Cuttings

Use mature wood about 15 - 20cm long of the current season's growth, preferably with a heel.

Layering

Layering of young wood - can take 2 years to make roots.

Seed

This is best sown on the surface of compost in a greenhouse as soon as it's ripe. If ripe seed are unobtainable, then soak store seed for 5 - 6 days in warm water before being sown in late winter.

Special features

Attracts birds

The fruits are food for birds.

Attracts useful insects

Serves as a food for bees in honey production.

Hedge plant

Used as a hedge shrub in gardens and public landscapes. Prune minimally & don't try to make a defined hedge from this shrub.

Drought resistant

Very drought tolerant, once established.

Attractive flowers

Attractive fruits

Special features

Origin

Indigenous to southern Europe, Ireland and Canary Islands.

Natural climate

Mediterranean

Environment

Light

Full Sun, Partial Shade, Partial Sun

Soil moisture

Dry

Soil type

Clay, Loam, Sand

Soil PH preference

Neutral, Acid

Frost hardiness

Hardy

Uses

Medicinal

In folk medicine, the plant has been used for antiseptic, astringent, intoxicant, rheumatism, and tonic purposes. The flowers are weakly diaphoretic.

Ornamental

Popular choice of shrub / tree to plant in your garden.

Personality

Family

Ericaceae

Flower colour

White

Scent

Mild

Problems

Pests include scales and thrips, and diseases include anthracnose, Phytophthora, root rot, and rust.

Related Problems

Companion plants

Olives. Under-plant with hellebores, wood anemones and spring bulbs
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Knowledge and advice

Search our ever-growing knowledge base to find plants and information. Find out about pests and diseases you should be keeping an eye out for. Watch How to videos or follow step by step guides for tasks in the garden. Free download for your phone or tablet.
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