Image for American Bittersweet

American Bittersweet

Scientific name

Celastrus scandens


American Bittersweet is a woody vine species that can grow about 3 m in height if supported. The leaves are alternately arranged, yellowish green colored, ovate shaped, and have finely serrated margins. The flowers are small, greenish white to yellow colored, and bloom between May and June. The flowers produce bright, yellowish orange colored fruit which is beneficial to birds but toxic to humans. If not supported, this vine will grow low along the ground. These vines can quickly grow and strangle nearby trees and shrubs so plant away from other tall plants.

Planting conditions

American Bittersweet grows best in normal to moist conditions with full sun exposure. It prefers well-drained, organically rich, constantly moist loam, sand, or rock soil types. It is tolerant of some shade but will produce more flowers and fruit with increased sun exposure. It is intolerant of drought or dry soil. This vine can be naturally found in rocky forests, moist thickets, and along shoreline slopes.


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