Image for American Bittersweet

American Bittersweet

Scientific name

Celastrus scandens


The American Bittersweet is a woody vine which grows well in a variety of conditions, preferring rich wooded areas with partial shade. Being a vine, its growth can be quite prolific; it can overtake or kill shrubs and smaller trees as it spreads and climbs. Often chosen as an ornamental plant for its bright orange berries and spiraling woody stems, American Bittersweet berries provide a food source for birds but are poisonous to humans.

Planting conditions

Wet and dry fertile soils, primarily sunny sites, light shade okay. Prefers well-drained loamy soils, okay in a variety of soils. Prefer slightly acidic soil, high in organic matter, stays moist. Drought intolerant. 2-3 m between plants.


  • Plant height:
    • Max 1.5m
    • Max 2m
    • Max 3m
    • Any
  • Moisture level:
    • Normal
    • Moist
  • Light conditions:
    • Full sun
    • Partial sun
    • Shade
  • Soil type:
    • Sandy
    • Clay
    • Rocky
  • pH:
    • Acidic
    • Normal
  • Depth:
    • Potted
    • Bareroot
  • Eco Zone:
    • 5a
    • 5b
    • 6a
    • 6b
    • 7a
    • 7b
  • Plant type:
    • Vine
  • Height:
    • low
  • Spread:
    • 4m