Waxwork, American Bittersweet, Staff Tree
|These vigorous, colorful vines clamber and twine over walls, fences, slopes and stumps. Cuttings of the rosy fruit capsules, bursting with glossy red-orange seeds, add brilliant color to autumn arrangements. Untouched by birds, fruits may last on the vine well into the winter. Without vigilant pruning, the stems can form a tangled mass, choking the life out of shrubs and trees. Celastrus scandens (American Bittersweet) grows 10 to 20 feet tall in nearly any setting except soggy ground. Fruits clustered at stem tips show off before the leaves fall. Though more vigorous, reaching 30 to 40 feet, Celastrus orbiculatus (Oriental Bittersweet) bears fruit along the stems, half-hidden while leaves remain. Celastrus rosthornianus (Chinese Bittersweet), also known as Celastrus loeseneri, bears lots of fruit but is less hardy. Except for a self-pollinating form of Celastrus orbiculatus, male and female flowers grow on separate plants. The aggressive male plants can even crowd out females, so plant no more than one male for every five females. Celastrus scandens Indian Brave pollinates Indian Maiden. Thrives in full sun or semi-shade. Locate carefully, with good access for pruning and away from vulnerable shrubs and trees. Hardy to 5º F. Control by removing fruiting branches in winter, pinching off branch tips throughout growing season. Spreading roots make transplanting difficult. Since the sex of seed-grown plants cannot be determined for some time, ensure females by rooting cuttings in late winter. Susceptible to euonymus scale.
It has a twining growth habit and tough, smooth twigs. 'Indian Brave' and 'Indian Maiden' are selected male and female forms, respectively.
Attributes - Celastrus scandens
Plant Type: Vine
Height: 15 ft. to 21 ft.
Width: 21 ft.
Sunlight: Full Sun, Partial Sun
Climate: Zones 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8
Notes: Thrives in Acid Soil. Low Maintenance. Susceptible to Aphids, Black Spot, Powdery Mildew, Scales.