Messages posted to thread:

From:Date:Zone:
Ann13-Feb-03 07:28 PM EST 4b   
Susan14-Feb-03 07:16 AM EST 6a   
Ann15-Feb-03 02:13 PM EST   
Susan15-Feb-03 03:47 PM EST 6a   
Ed28-Mar-03 09:09 PM EST 5a   
Ann07-Apr-03 01:38 PM EST 4b   


Subject: Bittersweet
From: Ann
Zone: 4b
Date: 13-Feb-03 07:28 PM EST

Has anyone had any success propogating bittersweet vine? The wild ones in my area are still loaded with berries and I wondered if I could get them to grow? Or should I take cuttings. Also, most catalogues say you need two for cross-pollination, the wild ones don't seem to.


Subject: RE: Bittersweet
From: Susan
Zone: 6a
Date: 14-Feb-03 07:16 AM EST

According to the New England Wildflower Society's book on native trees, shrubs and vines, bittersweet is 'moderately easy' from either seeds or cuttings. They are indeed dioecious - needing both a male and female to produce viable seed. Your wild ones are probably a mix of both sexes. But think long and hard about whether you really want this vine in your garden! Here's what the NEWS books says about it:

'I've always liked the name bittersweet, because I think it perfectly captures the essence of ths deciduous vine. Bitter because it will strangle and scramble over everything in sight, sweet because the red-orange and yellow berries that develop on the female plants in the fall look very sweet in a seasonally appropraite sort of way. Its inherent agressiveness pales by comparison to the introduced Celastrus orbiculatus (Asian Bittersweet), which is choking many areas of the Northeast - a pest that makes C. scandens look positively polite. Asian bittersweet is a very close relative, so close, in fact, there is some evidence that the two are hybridizing, raising the possibility that the true native vine may disappear like a spoon sinking into a vigorous hybrid soup.'

A neighbour of mine has been trying to get rid of a bittersweet (not sure which type...) for years with no success. So, make sure you really want this vine before introducing it into your garden. Maybe you should just enjoy it in the wild. It does make wonderful fall flower arrangements - I get it from the neighbour's annual attempts to cut it back/dig it out, and it looks lovely for a long period of time in the house in a vase, but there's no way I'd ever plant it in the garden!


Subject: RE: Bittersweet
From: Ann
Zone:
Date: 15-Feb-03 02:13 PM EST

I have had the vine before, it doesn't seem to get away on me, perhaps because of our sub-zero winter temps. Also, have lots of space for it. I have put some seeds on top of soil - trying to simulate it's natural habit but not sure if the seeds needs scarifying first. Will try two ways and see.


Subject: RE: Bittersweet
From: Susan
Zone: 6a
Date: 15-Feb-03 03:47 PM EST

If you really want to try growing it from seeds, the NEWS book suggests soaking the seeds for 24 hours to remove the dried fleshy coat and then giving them a cold treatment. They suggest planting outdoors in the fall but also note that there are usually lots of seedlings under mature plants - so maybe you should just transplant however many seedlings you need from the wild ones in your area. If you've just collected the seeds now, they've probably already had their natural cold treatment so should germinate fairly easily I'd expect...


Subject: RE: Bittersweet
From: Ed
Zone: 5a
Date: 28-Mar-03 09:09 PM EST

I have now, as I have had for many years, nursey- grown bittersweet,C. scandens, supposedly mixed sex ( how does one tell ? ), but have long given up expecting berries and have yet to see others in a landscaped environment. Seems Nature knows best ! Rather vigourous growing habit, but by no means " taking over ".


Subject: RE: Bittersweet
From: Ann
Zone: 4b
Date: 07-Apr-03 01:38 PM EST

I have grown Bittersweet for several years now. A female plant grows on a very sturdy trellis on my deck hiding the shed behind. The Robins and Cardinals feed on the berrries all spring. The berrries look great all winter with the addition if clear mini Christmas lights. It has not gotten out of hand, although it does need a good pruning in late June to keep it tidy. A male and a female plant exist at the other end of the garden and I guess the birds and bees make sure the flowers of both female plants are pollinated. These plants are in more shade and drier conditions and do not get out of hand either although they do require some late June pruning to keep within the trellis provided over the gateway.They have less berrries in denser shade. Do provide lots of growing room - it definetly shows off the vines better. I bought mine from a reputable nursery.


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