Care of Bittersweet Plants


American bittersweet (Celastrus scandens) is a climbing vine that grows to 20 feet in length. It is easily trained to climb on fences and trellises, adding a colorful cottage accent to the garden. The fruit, produced in late summer to early fall, hang in clusters in shades of red. Bittersweet is frost-hardy and will grow in a variety of soils. A very easy plant to care for, with no pest problems or disease tendencies, bittersweet is hardy to USDA zones 3 to 8.

Step 1

Grow the bittersweet in full sun. If large trees are shading the plant, consider pruning them to provide more sun for the bittersweet.

Step 2

Water the bittersweet sparingly. Allow the soil to dry to 4 inches before watering, then water until it puddles at the base of the vine.

Step 3

Prune the bittersweet in late winter or early spring to keep it to the desired size.

Things You'll Need

  • Pruning shears


  • University of Arkansas Extension: Bittersweet
  • "American Horticultural Society: A-Z Plant Encyclopedia of Garden Plants"; Christopher Brickell and H. Marc Cathey, Editors-in-Chief; 2008
Keywords: bittersweet plant care, care of bittersweet, grow bittersweet plant

About this Author

Victoria Hunter, a former broadcaster and real estate agent, has provided audio and written services to both small businesses and large corporations, worldwide. Hunter is a freelance writer specializing in the real estate industry. She devotes her spare time to her other passions: gardening and cooking. Hunter holds a Bachelor of Arts in English/creative writing.