Arbutus unedo

strawberry tree

  • © Richie Steffen / Great Plant Picks

  • © Richie Steffen / Great Plant Picks

Outstanding Qualities

Arbutus unedo is a four-season evergreen shrub with outstanding flowers, fruit, leaves, and bark. The small, urn-shaped, whitish-pink flowers are produced from October to December. Round, ¾-inch, knobby fruits gradually ripen to orange-red and are often in color when the shrub is in full flower. Choose a protected site to ensure fruit every year. The dark green glossy foliage is beautiful, as is the attractive, cinnamon-colored bark. Prune shrubs to accentuate the sculptural qualities of the branching and bark.

Quick Facts

Plant Type: upright shrub

Foliage Type: evergreen

Plant Height: 8 ft. 0 in. (2.44 meters)

Plant Width/Spread: 7 ft. 0 in. (2.13 meters)

Plant Height-Mature: 20 ft. 0 in. (6.10 meters)

Plant Width-Mature: 20 ft. 0 in. (6.10 meters)

Hardiness: USDA Zones 7 to 9

Flower Color: white

Sun/Light Exposure: full sun or light to open shade

Water Requirements: drought tolerant when established

Seasonal Interest: autumn flowers & fruit; year-round attractive foliage & bark

Wildlife Associations: bees, birds, hummingbirds

Colors & Combos

Great Plant Combinations: Cistus x hybridus, Osmanthus heterophyllus ‘Variegatus’, Viburnum x bodnantense ‘Dawn’, Pieris ‘Brouwer’s Beauty’, Physocarpus opulifolius ‘Diabolo’

Great Color Contrasts: White, red, burgundy

Great Color Partners: Green, Bronze

Culture Notes
This versatile shrub tolerates a wide variety of soil conditions including sand and clay, but it must have a well-drained location. The growth is best in full sun to open shade and is drought tolerant once established. Foliage and flowers may be damaged in unusually cold winters, but it will recover in the spring. Plants in protected locations are more reliable fruit producers.
Geek Notes
Native to western Europe and the Mediterranean region.