How Does One Grow a Strawberry Tree?

Sometimes strawberries grow on trees, although they’re not the familiar fruit of shortcake fame. Strawberry tree (Arbutus unedo) is an evergreen tree that bears little, red fruits resembling strawberries. You may develop rosemary tree from U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 8 through 11 with best results if you live in a Mediterranean climate with low humidity.

Attributes and Uses

Strawberry tree is a little, slow-growing tree that seldom exceeds 20 feet tall. It has multiple stems that become gnarled with age and striking reddish-brown, shaggy bark. Its current-season flowers bloom in autumn and winter at the exact same time since the previous-season’s vegetables adult. Fruits linger around the trees through winter, where they are a food source for birds. Even though the fruits are edible, they’re not as palatable to people since they are to wildlife. For example an evergreen plant that grows wider with age, strawberry tree functions well when grown as a privacy hedge.


One of strawberry tree’s oyster cultivars is “Compacta,” which seldom exceeds 10 feet tall and broad. It has denser branching and a slower growth rate than the standard form. A more compact cultivar is “Elfin King,” which seldom grows taller than 6 feet. It is particularly suited to growing in patio containers or as specimen plants because of its contorted form. “Rubra” has deep pink flowers instead of the white to faint pink blooms on other varieties.

Site Selection and Planting

All varieties of strawberry tree grow best in acidic soil with good drainage. They tolerate a variety of soil types, including clay, sand and loam. Full sun or partial shade is best, however they don’t succeed in cold climates. Strawberry tree is salt-tolerant, which makes it suitable for coastal areas. Because of its controlled growth, the California Invasive Plant Council advocates you plant strawberry tree for a substitute for invasive species, like Brazilian pepper (Schinus terebinthifolius).


Strawberry tree is almost unbothered by insect pests and diseases. It is also drought-tolerant once it is established. Because of its strong tap root, Oregon State University notes that you shouldn’t need to water established trees during summer. To open a plant up so its architectural shape and exfoliating bark are highlighted, you can thin its branches. If you sow the seeds you collect from strawberry tree, then they will germinate easily and you can grow crops.

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