Audubon® American Bittersweet
This plant is not available at this time through Bower & Branch. Bower & Branch provides this information for reference only. Please click here to be placed on a waiting list. See below for other selections.
Create summer shade under an arbor or cover up an ugly fence with this fast-growing native vine. American Bittersweet makes quick work of these jobs, while supplying some wonderful fringe benefits. In late spring, the green flowers feed many native bees, such as mason bees, miner bees, sweat bees, and plasterer bees. After their work is done, berries form on female plants. The fruits—scarlet-red spheres held in golden-orange husks—make festive additions to dried arrangements. Left on the vine, they serve as choice bird food for robins, bluebirds, and other songbirds.
May Benefit & Attract: Thrushes, waxwings, wood warblers, finches, mockingbirds & thrashers, chickadees & titmice, orioles, cardinals & grosbeaks, crows & jays, sparrows, nuthatches, vireos, hummingbirds, woodpeckers, and wrens.
Take Birds Under Your Wing
New! Introducing our bird-friendly collection of Audubon® Native Plants & Trees
- Better for Birds, 100% Neonic-Free
- Not Available in non-native regions, states or counties (see Native Regions map)
Bower & Branch is proud to grow Audubon® Native Plants for Birds in partnership with the National Audubon Society to help birds and other wildlife thrive.
- The National Audubon Society protects birds and the places they need, today and tomorrow
- This bird-friendly native plant provides food and shelter for local and migrating birds and other wildlife
- Your purchase and planting of this native flora directly supports Audubon’s conservation mission and impact
- Learn how you can help birds in your home and community through Audubon’s Plants for Birds program
- Audubon Native Plants & Trees are free of neonicotinoids and exclusively grown by Bower & Branch
Audubon® is a licensed and registered trademark of the National Audubon Society. All rights reserved.
- Hardiness Zone: 3-8
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Recommended by Our Growers
Under attack! American Bittersweet has fallen on hard times. This eye-catching native, found most abundantly in the midwestern and northeastern states, has been over-collected in the wild for its colorful fruits. To make matters worse, a more aggressive, foreign Bittersweet species has now invaded the Northeast and is displacing the native one. Oriental Bittersweet not only grows more vigorously than the American version, but also hybridizes with it. As a result, American Bittersweet as we know it could one day cease to exist! Plant our native vine instead, and help to keep this American original going strong.
How do you tell the difference between American and Oriental Bittersweet? The differences are subtle, but one characteristic is fairly easy to detect. American Bittersweet only displays its fruit at the end of its stems, whereas Oriental Bittersweet holds its fruits along the stems, in the leaf axils.
How to Grow
Most often found in part shade in the wild, it isn’t surprising that American Bittersweet does well in part shade in the home landscape, too. However, fruiting will be more abundant in full sun. Only female plants will fruit and then only if there is a male nearby to pollinate it (hopefully not an Oriental Bittersweet!). This plant is not fussy about soil and does not require a lot of supplemental water, once established. Given a support to grow on, American Bittersweet will twine, reaching a height of 20 feet. Don’t let it climb on small trees, or it may strangle them.
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