Arbutus unedo (Strawberry tree) Multi-stem
Position: Best in full sun, will tolerate only a little shade. Good for coastal gardens.
Soil: Any moist but well drained soil, acid or alkaline
Rate of growth: Around 10- 20cm per year.
Height: Reaches around 8m tall without pruning, but can be kept smaller to suit.
Spread: Can spread to around 6-8m across, but can be kept smaller with pruning.
Flowers: Clusters of attractive white bell shaped flowers in autumn
Fruit: Rounded yellow then orange and finally red fruits ripen fully in autumn. Edible but not tasty
Grown as a multi-stemmed plant, Arbutus unedo makes a terrific choice, as this allows the plant to really show off one of its finest features – wonderful bark. As the tree matures, trunks of this evergreen slowly develop an impressively gnarled appearance, the bark initially rough and reddish-brown, but then peeling in long slender strips which shows off the coppery-orange hues below. It is nothing short of spectacular. Kept this way, Arbutus unedo has an architectural form too, with its low, dome-shaped canopy of dark glossy green leaves. And, of course, you will still benefit from the tree’s impressive white flowers in autumn which are often coupled with showy red or orange fruits which remain on the tree for a good year after developing.