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bittersweet seeds

Bittersweet seeds

Stratify the seeds at about 40 degrees Fahrenheit (4 C.) for three to five months. You can do this by placing them in a bag of moist soil in the refrigerator. Sow the seeds the following summer. They may require a full month to germinate.

If your chosen form of American bittersweet propagation is to sow the seeds of a bittersweet, the resulting plant will be a new individual. It could be male or it could be female. It could have traits possessed by neither of its parents.

American bittersweet (Celastrus scandens) is a flowering vine. It grows up to 25 feet (8 m.) in length and 8 feet (2.5 m.) wide. If one bittersweet vine isn’t enough for your garden, you can propagate it and grow more. You can either start growing bittersweet cuttings or plant bittersweet seeds. If you are interested in propagating American bittersweet vines, read on for tips.

How to Grow Bittersweet from Seed

You can increase the humidity for hardwood cuttings by placing a plastic bag over each pot. Place the pot on the north side of the house, then move into the sun and remove the bag when new shoots appear in spring.

If you want to start propagating American bittersweet vines using cuttings, you can take softwood cuttings in mid-summer or hardwood cuttings in winter. Both softwood and hardwood cuttings are taken from the vine tips. The former should be about 5 inches (12 cm.) long, while the latter type are twice that length.

Propagating American Bittersweet Vines

What is the best method of propagating American bittersweet vines, cuttings or seeds? If you take cuttings and begin rooting bittersweet vines, you will grow plants that are genetic echoes of the parent plants. That means that a cutting taken from a male bittersweet vine will produce a male bittersweet vine. If you are growing bittersweet cuttings from a female plant, the new plant will be female.

To start rooting bittersweet vines, dip the cut end of each cutting in rooting hormone. Plant each in a pot filled with two parts perlite and one part sphagnum moss. Keep the soil moist until roots and new shoots develop.

Bittersweet seeds

Water the bittersweet seeds, keeping them moist until they start to grow. After this point, these plants need little care other than pruning. Annual pruning will keep them from strangling other plants and growing out of bounds.

Bittersweet comes in two major varieties: American and Oriental. Oriental bittersweet is considered invasive in most states and will grow out of bounds. American bittersweet is vigorous, climbing everything in its path, but not invasive. Bittersweet is a dioecious vine, which means it needs both a male and a female plant to produce seed. Knowledge of how to harvest and care for this seed will help you grow a healthy bittersweet vine.

Lay the berries out at room temperature for two to three weeks to dry. When they seem shriveled and dried, remove the outer red berry covering and dry the seeds for another week.

Pluck the ripe red berries off the bittersweet vine when the yellow capsules surrounding them break open. The time for harvest will fall between mid-September and November.

Bittersweet Plant Growing

Place some peat or sand in a resealable plastic bag and moisten it slightly. Put the seeds in this moistened medium and place the bag in the refrigerator for three months with the temperature between 34 and 41 degrees F. This cold period will help the seeds germinate.

Plant the bittersweet seeds 1/4 to 1/2 inch deep in well-drained soil. Bittersweet will grow vigorously in almost any soil type. It will also grow in both full sun and full shade, but needs sun for fruit production. Space multiple plants 12 to 36 inches apart. Make sure they have some kind of support to climb.

Plant bittersweet vines in a location with full sun or partial shade and average garden soil. Amend poor soil by digging a 2-inch layer of compost into the soil before planting. Apply the water directly to the soil, keeping the foliage as dry as possible. Fertilize the vine annually in early spring with a generous shovelful of compost or slow-release organic fertilizer. Prune bittersweet annually in winter. Remove damaged and diseased branches as well as those that hold spent berries. Branches that have already produced berries will not produce again. The vine will regrow in spring. Spray infested vines with a mixture of 1 quart of insecticidal soap and 1 tablespoon of isopropyl alcohol.