Plant of the week – Arbutus unedo is also known as strawberry tree. It’s easy to understand why, the fruit is highly reminiscent of (wild) strawberry. In my mind their texture also has similarities with lychees (litchi). Their red and yellow colour is cheerful with an exotic air about them. When I photographed them the tree was also in bloom, which to me is a bit different. Most trees bloom in spring, with fruit following in autumn. The fruit is edible and can be eaten on its own or made into, for example, jam. The fruit is sweet when reddish..
All that action makes this plant highly attractive. But if that’s not enough, it also flaunts dark, glossy, evergreen leaves. Sadly, it’s not particularly hardy – it’s natural plant range is from Ireland, western Europe to the Mediterranean. In climate zones outside of these areas, it needs to be brought inside, perhaps to a conservatory or the like, during winter. When planted outside it prefers a location with humus-rich, well-drained soil in full sun and sheltered from cold winds. The ultimate height of the strawberry tree is around 4-7m.
Blooms of Plant of the week – Arbutus unedo
In terms of garden design, it looks great in a contemporary style planter, perhaps with other plants, as seen here. It also works in informal and cottage gardens. Being evergreen it’s great for adding privacy. It’s regarded as low maintenance and requires minimal pruning.
Strawberry tree in large planter with ivy and spindle shrubs in an urban setting.