- Evergreen. Suitable for rough hedging.
- Decorative, sort-of edible fruit (best used in jam).
- Lovely bark on older trees.
- Any acidic soil with decent drainage.
- Can grow near the sea.
- Year round delivery.
The Strawberry Tree, Arbutus unedo, is a small tree or large shrub that is typically grown as a specimen tree for its bark and unusual Autumn display of new flowers alongside the ripe fruit that began to develop the previous year.
It can be used as an informal hedging plant - more of a screening shrub, really.
As a tree it can reach up to about 6-8 metres.
Strawberry Tree hedge plants are only delivered pot-grown, year round.
All our hedge plants are measured by their height in centimetres above the ground (the roots aren't measured).
These attractive evergreen bushes or small trees are usually grown as an ornamental specimen, but they make a decent rough hedge, with only light pruning required. They will grow quite quickly to about 3 metres and then become much less vigorous. If they aren't pruned, old strawberry trees tend to become beautifully slender, with a narrow spread of upright stems topped by pom-pom shaped heads of leaves. Old trees have handsome, rich brown gnarled bark that slowly flakes away. The flowers are white and bell-shaped (like Lily-of the valley), opening in autumn. Because the fruit take a whole year to ripen on the tree, you get a display of delicate flowers and strawberry red fruit at the same time. It has leaves that are sometimes tinged with red, with a serrated edge.
Did You Know?
Also known as cane apples or the Dalmatian strawberry.
The name un-edo is Latin for "I eat one"; although the fruit are perfectly edible, they aren't very nice and leave you with a woolly feeling, mildly astringent aftertaste.
In our opinion, it's best to leave them for the birds and squirrels, but you can experiment with using them in jam, or try your hand at a tarte aux arbouses. They are easy to brew with, and there is a traditional Portuguese drink distilled from them, aguardente de medronhos.
They are native to Southern Ireland, where they are known as the Killarney Strawberry, which is a town in county Kerry.
Growing Strawberry Tree plants:
Strawberry Tree will grow well in any neutral or acidic soil - they don't tolerate chalk or limestone. They need full sun and will grow near to the coast. They prefer a moist but well drained soil: most damp sites are fine, but constant winter waterlogging may be too much for them. They don't like dry soil.
Although these are pretty hardy plants, they don't cope well with cold winds and we don't recommend them for exposed locations in the North & Scotland. A sheltered, sunny, south facing spot is ideal.
Prepare your site before planting:
Native hedge plants like Strawberry Tree are very tough. The only essential preparation is to kill the weeds in a strip a metre wide along the planting site: improving the soil should not be necessary. If your soil is exceptionally poor and dry, then digging in some well rotted manure and/or compost is worthwhile.
Watch our video on how to plant a garden hedge for full details.
Remember to water establishing plants during dry weather for at least a year after planting.
Hedge Planting Accessories:
Prepare your site for planting by killing the weeds and grass with Neudorff WeedFree Plus.
You can buy a hedge planting pack with sheets of mulch fabric and pegs to hold it down.
If your soil quality is poor, we recommend using mycorrhizal "friendly fungi" on the roots of new trees and shrubs.
You can also improve your soil with bonemeal organic fertiliser and Growmore.