Arbutus unedo (common name strawberry tree) is a large, bushy, evergreen shrub growing to a maximum height of 8m, with rough bark and dark green leathery leaves. Its bell-shaped autumn flowers resemble those of lily of the valley and have a strong honey fragrance, while its fruits resemble strawberries or lychees. Sadly, while edible, the fruit of arbutus tree isn't as tasty as real strawberries and is best left for the birds. Both the flowers and fruit are found on the tree at the same time, making it a particularly lovely specimen, especially in small gardens.
Arbutus unedo tree is relatively fast-growing, reaching its maximum height within around 15 years. It's also long-lived, there are reports of some Arbutus trees living for 400 years. For best results, grow in a sheltered spot in moist but well-drained soil in sun or partial shade. It's tolerant of chalk soils and thrives in coastal areas, but it can also be grown inland.
Advice on buying Arbutus unedo
- Choose a reputable nursery or supplier with a good track record
- Check for plant health by looking for green, lush foliage and no visible signs of pests or diseases
- Avoid purchasing plants that appear weak, pot bound or stressed, as they may struggle to establish and thrive in your garden
Where to buy Arbutus unedo online