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.

strawberry tree

TEXAS MADRONE

arbutus unedo

  • Native to southern Europe, Ireland.
  • Slow to moderate growth to 835 feet 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 inches long.
  • Small, white or greenish white flowers; red-and-yellow, 34 inches 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 feet tall at 10 years old) that flowers and fruits nearly continuously; 'Compacta', seldom exceeding 10 feet.; and 'Oktoberfest', a 6- to 8 feet form with deep pink flowers.
  • Give species and selections sun or part shade.

arbutus xalapensis(Arbutus texana)

  • Native to Texas, New Mexico, Mexico to Guatemala.
  • Striking multitrunked, small tree to 2030 feet 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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