ARBUTUS

FAMILY: Ericaceae

TYPE
  • Evergreen
  • Shrubs
  • Trees
SUN EXPOSURE
  • Varies by Species
WATER
  • Regular Water
  • Moderate Water
  • Drought Tolerant
PLANTING ZONES
  • MS (Middle South) / Zone 7
  • LS (Lower South) / Zone 8
  • CS (Coastal South) / Zone 9
  • TS (Tropical South) / Zone 10
  • TS (Tropical South) / Zone 11

Plant Details

All types have ornamental bark, clusters of little urn-shaped flowers, decorative (and edible) fruit, and handsome foliage. Provide good drainage, especially if plant receives regular water. Best in low-humidity, low-rainfall areas such as West Texas.

A. unedo. STRAWBERRY TREE. Native to southern Europe, Ireland. Slow to moderate growth to 835 ft. tall and wide; tends to be a small shrub in Southeast. Trunk and branches have red-brown, shredding bark, become twisted and gnarled in age. Dark green, red-stemmed leaves 23 in. long. Small, white or greenish white flowers; red-and-yellow, 34-in. fruit resembles strawberries but is mealy and bland tasting. Clusters of flowers and fruit often appear simultaneously in fall and winter. Selections include 'Elfin King', a dwarf form (not over 5 ft. tall at 10 years old) that flowers and fruits nearly continuously; 'Compacta', seldom exceeding 10 ft.; and 'Oktoberfest', a 6- to 8-ft. form with deep pink flowers. Give species and selections sun or part shade.

A. xalapensis (A. texana). TEXAS MADRONE. Native to Texas, New Mexico, Mexico to Guatemala. Striking multitrunked, small tree to 2030 ft. tall and wide, with handsome, deep green leaves, clusters of small white or pale pink flowers in spring, raspberrylike fruit in fall. Extremely showy bark changes in color through the year, from cream (when young) to pink and then to brown before it peels, revealing new bark beneath. Requires careful attention to get established. Provide light shade; water consistently for several years but never allow soil to become waterlogged. Grows well in chalky soil.

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