Strawberry Tree Arbutus unedo 'Atlantic'

☠ Toxic to humans
🐾 Toxic to pets
🌸 Blooming
🍪 Edible
‍🌱 Easy-care
strawberry tree 'Atlantic'


The plant known as 'Atlantic' is a variety of the Strawberry Tree, an evergreen species notable for its dense, bushy nature and lush green foliage. Its leaves are dark green with a glossy, leathery texture, and they have serrated edges, giving them a slightly spiky appearance. Throughout the year, the Strawberry Tree remains vibrant with these ever-present leaves, creating a thick, green backdrop for its other attractive features. One of the most distinctive attributes of this variety is its flowers and fruit which often appear simultaneously, a unique phenomenon in the plant world. The small bell-shaped flowers emerge in clusters. They display a delicate pinkish-white hue, exuding a subtle yet enchanting fragrance that attracts a variety of pollinators such as bees. Following the flowering phase, the Strawberry Tree produces its namesake fruit – berries that initially show a yellowish-green color, maturing into a rich red. These round fruits resemble strawberries in appearance; however, they are not related to the common strawberry. The berries offer a visual contrast to the green leaves and can give the plant an ornamental appeal, though the fruit is also edible, albeit somewhat bland in flavor. Overall, the 'Atlantic' cultivar of the Strawberry Tree boasts a charming palette of green foliage, white-pink flowers, and red fruit, providing multi-seasonal interest in landscaping schemes where the focus is on visual appeal rather than on explicit dimensions or measurements of the plant itself.

Plant Info
Common Problems

About this plant

  • memoNames

    • Family


    • Synonyms

      Strawberry Tree, Irish Strawberry Tree, Killarney Strawberry Tree, Cane Apple

    • Common names

      Arbutus unedo 'Atlantic'.

  • skullToxicity

    • To humans

      The Strawberry Tree's fruit is edible and not toxic to humans. However, consuming large quantities may cause some gastrointestinal discomfort due to its high astringency and alcohol content as the fruits ferment quickly after ripening. There are no serious toxic effects associated with this plant.

    • To pets

      Strawberry Tree is not known to be toxic to pets either. Similar to humans, the consumption of large amounts of the fruit may cause mild gastrointestinal upset in some animals due to fermenting fruits, but it is not considered harmful or poisonous to pets like cats and dogs.

  • infoCharacteristics

    • Life cycle


    • Foliage type


    • Color of leaves

      Dark green

    • Flower color


    • Height

      8-10 feet (2.4-3 meters)

    • Spread

      8-10 feet (2.4-3 meters)

    • Plant type


    • Hardiness zones


    • Native area



  • money-bagGeneral Benefits

    • Ornamental Value: Arbutus unedo 'Atlantic', commonly known as Strawberry Tree, has attractive evergreen foliage, white flowers, and red strawberry-like fruits, making it a visually appealing addition to gardens and landscapes.
    • Wildlife Attraction: The flowers provide nectar for bees and other pollinators, while the fruits attract birds and other wildlife, supporting biodiversity.
    • Drought Tolerance: Once established, the Strawberry Tree is drought-resistant, making it suitable for Mediterranean climates and water-wise gardens.
    • Low Maintenance: It requires minimal care once established, needing only occasional pruning and watering during prolonged dry periods.
    • Edible Fruit: The fruits are edible, with a sweet taste when fully ripe, and can be used in making jams, jellies, and alcoholic beverages.
    • Year-Round Interest: With its evergreen leaves, seasonal blooms, and fruit that can ripen in different seasons, the Strawberry Tree offers visual interest throughout the year.
    • Erosion Control: Its root system helps to stabilize slopes and prevent soil erosion, making it useful for landscape restoration projects.
    • Adaptability: Arbutus unedo 'Atlantic' adapts well to a range of soil types, including poor and rocky soils, as long as they are well-draining.
    • Urban Tolerant: The Strawberry Tree can tolerate urban conditions such as air pollution and limited soil space, making it suitable for city landscapes.

  • medicalMedical Properties

    • Antioxidant: Arbutus unedo fruit and leaves have been reported to contain compounds with antioxidant properties.
    • Antimicrobial: Extracts from the plant have shown antimicrobial activity against a range of microorganisms.
    • Anti-inflammatory: Some studies suggest that Arbutus unedo may possess anti-inflammatory effects which could potentially be beneficial in treating inflammatory conditions.
    • Diuretic: Traditional use of the plant includes its role as a diuretic, assisting in the removal of excess water from the body.
    • Astringent: The plant has been used for its astringent properties, which can help in tightening tissues and reducing secretions.

  • windAir-purifying Qualities

    This plant is not specifically known for air purifying qualities.

  • leavesOther Uses

    • Woodworking: The wood of the Strawberry Tree is hard and dense, making it suitable for fine woodworking, such as inlays and small turned items like bowls or pens.
    • Landscape Design: Strawberry Tree can be used as a specimen plant or focal point in landscape design due to its attractive bark, flowers, and fruits.
    • Erosion Control: This plant's extensive root system can help stabilize soil and prevent erosion on slopes or in areas prone to land degradation.
    • Hedging: With careful pruning, the Strawberry Tree can be maintained as a dense hedge, providing privacy and shelter from the wind.
    • Wildlife Garden: By planting Strawberry Trees, gardeners can create habitats to attract and support birds, bees, and butterflies that feed on the nectar and fruits.
    • Topiary: The plant can be trained into various shapes and forms, making it a good candidate for topiary gardens.
    • Bonsai: With its small leaves and interesting bark texture, the Strawberry Tree is suitable for bonsai cultivation.
    • Cultural Significance: In some cultures, the Strawberry Tree is planted for symbolic reasons or as part of traditional ceremonies.
    • Dye Production: The tannins and pigments in the bark and leaves of the Strawberry Tree can be used for natural dyeing of fabrics and materials.
    • Food Production: Although not uncommon, the fruits can be used to make jams, jellies, or fermented to produce a fruity spirit or wine in some regions.

Interesting Facts

  • bedFeng Shui

    The Strawberry Tree is not used in Feng Shui practice.

  • aquariusZodiac Sign Compitability

    The Strawberry Tree is not used in astrology practice.

  • spiralPlant Symbolism

    • Endurance and Strength: The Arbutus unedo, commonly known as the Strawberry Tree, is an evergreen species, representing the idea of enduring life and consistent strength due to its year-round foliage.
    • Protection: With its thick, textured bark and leathery leaves, the Strawberry Tree is symbolic of protection, offering a natural shield against external forces.
    • Generosity: The simultaneous presence of flowers and maturing fruit on the tree symbolizes a generous spirit, as it gives multiple gifts at once.
    • Uniqueness and Exotic Beauty: Native to the Mediterranean region, the Strawberry Tree's unique appearance with its bright red fruits and white flowers represents exotic beauty and individuality.
    • Balance and Moderation: Ancient legends speak of the Strawberry Tree's fruits as being mildly toxic when consumed in large quantities, and thus it is a symbol of balance and moderation in life.
    • Harmony with Nature: As an important plant in its native ecosystem, the Strawberry Tree epitomizes living in harmony with nature and the cycles of life.

Every 1-2 weeks
2500 - 10000 Lux
Every 2-3 years
Late winter-early spring
As needed
  • water dropWater

    Strawberry trees (Arbutus unedo 'Atlantic') prefer moist, well-draining soil and should be watered deeply about once a week, with adaptations based on weather conditions. During the growing season, increase watering to twice a week if there is no significant rainfall. Each watering should ensure the soil becomes saturated to a depth of several inches. However, allow the soil to dry out slightly between waterings to prevent root rot. In terms of quantity, this typically equates to 1-2 gallons for smaller plants and up to 5 gallons for established trees each time you water.

  • sunLight

    Strawberry trees require full sun to partial shade for optimal growth; the best spot for them is a location where they receive at least six hours of direct sunlight daily. They can tolerate some shade, especially in hotter climates, but more light encourages better flowering and fruiting. Dappled shade in the afternoon can help protect the plant from intense heat without significantly impacting its sunlight needs.

  • thermometerTemperature

    Strawberry trees are hardy and can tolerate a range of temperatures; they thrive in conditions between 50°F and 80°F. They can survive brief spells as low as 10°F but should be protected from prolonged exposure to such cold. Ideal growing conditions are in areas where nighttime temperatures don't typically drop below 30°F and daytime temperatures remain under 85°F.

  • scissorsPruning

    Pruning Strawberry trees is beneficial to maintain their shape and remove any dead or diseased branches. Prune in late winter or early spring before new growth starts. Pruning is typically done once a year and involves cutting back overgrown branches and thinning out the canopy to allow light and air circulation which promotes healthy growth.

  • broomCleaning

    As needed

  • bambooSoil

    Strawberry Tree prefers well-draining soil, enriched with organic material, and a soil pH of 6.0 to 7.5. A mix of two parts loam, one part peat or sand, and one part compost or aged manure will create an ideal environment for healthy growth.

  • plantRepotting

    Strawberry Trees do not need frequent repotting and can be repotted every 2 to 3 years. Ensure to increase pot size gradually to accommodate the root system's growth.

  • water dropsHumidity & Misting

    Strawberry Tree thrives in moderate to high humidity levels but is quite adaptable and can tolerate lower humidity environments once acclimatized.

  • pinSuitable locations

    • Indoor

      Provide bright light, well-draining soil, and moderate watering.

    • Outdoor

      Full sun to partial shade, well-draining soil, and protect from strong winds.

    • Hardiness zone

      7-10 USDA

  • circleLife cycle

    The Strawberry Tree (Arbutus unedo 'Atlantic') begins its life cycle as a seed, often dispersed by wildlife that have eaten the fruit. Upon germination, which may occur variably depending on conditions, a seedling emerges and establishes itself, typically in well-drained soil. The plant then progresses into a vegetative state where it undergoes rapid growth, developing a distinctive red-brown bark, evergreen leaves, and a shrubby form. As it matures, usually after several years, the Strawberry Tree starts flowering, producing white to pinkish hermaphroditic flowers that are attractive to pollinators like bees. Following pollination, the flowers develop into the plant's namesake fruit: red to yellow berries resembling strawberries, which ripen over the autumn. The life cycle is completed when the mature fruits drop or are consumed, thereby dispersing the seeds and potentially giving rise to a new generation.

  • sproutPropogation

    • Propogation time

      Late winter-early spring

    • The Strawberry Tree, scientifically known as Arbutus unedo 'Atlantic', is most commonly propagated through seeds. The ideal time to start seed propagation is in the spring after the last frost. To ensure successful germination, seeds should be sown in a light seed-starting mix and kept moist. It's important to provide a consistent temperature, ideally around 70 degrees Fahrenheit (21 degrees Celsius), which can be maintained with the help of a heat mat. As the seeds are small, they should be surface sown and lightly pressed into the soil, with a thin covering of soil or vermiculite. The seed tray should be placed in a location with bright, indirect sunlight to foster growth once germination occurs, which may take several weeks to a few months. Regular monitoring and gentle watering will ensure the best start for these seedlings as they develop into young plants.