The Strawberry Bush, Euonymus americanus, also called American Strawberry Bush, is an attractive deciduous shrub that has pale green flowers and warty orange berries. Its leaves are dark green and oval-shaped, and the purple flower stamens look like five claws. Strawberry Bush grows to be 6-12 ft. Tall, with stiff twigs that turn purple in the sunlight. The first flowers begin blooming in May, with the seeds fruiting from September through October.
Belonging to the bittersweet family (family Celastraceae), American Strawberry Bush is classified as a perennial shrub. It grows in zones 6-9 in forested and swampy areas. This shrub thrives well under similar conditions of its natural habitat. It likes partial shade and moist, but sandy and well-draining soil that is more acidic. Strawberry Bush is a drought tolerant plant but typically does well with moderate watering. It grows at a slow to average pace and does well with frequent pruning during its growing season, once established.
Benefits and Uses of Strawberry Bush
Also known as the Burning Bush or Bursting Heart, the Strawberry Bush features an eye-catching display during its blooming season. In autumn, the large, reddish-orange berries and purple stamens look like hearts bursting from the bush. The vibrant colors give a fire-like appearance that resembles a burning bush.
Strawberry Bush is best planted along pathways and hedges where it's appreciated by visitors. It looks best in natural settings in the shade of other trees and shrubs. Though not for human consumption, whitetail deer love to snack on this fruiting shrub - a remarkable sight. It is not considered to be aggressive or invasive and is easily maintained.
Caring for Your Strawberry Bush
Because of its low maintenance, Strawberry Bush is an excellent shrub for beginners, or for lazy gardens. Once established, it requires little attention. Start young plants with a soil pH between 5.6 and 6.5. Water your plant moderately, using mulch to keep it moist during hot summer months. Make sure your shrub can drain efficiently to avoid root rot and overwatering. Strawberry Bush does not begin fruiting until it is 2-3 years old. After this time, it can withstand heavy pruning and shaping.