Italian Buckthorn, how to care for Rhamnus alaternus

Red berries dot this rhamnus alaternus or mediterranean buckthorn

Italian buckthorn is a shrubby tree that has interesting variegation on some varieties.

Italian Buckthorn facts

Name – Rhamnus alaternus
Family – Rhamnaceae
Type – shrub

 – 10 to 16 feet (3 to 5 meters)
Exposure – full sun, part sun
Soil – ordinary

evergreen  –   Flowering: March to May

Planting Italian Buckthorn

Plant in spring preferably.

If you plant in fall, the cold might block proper development and regrowth, especially if winter is harsh in your area.

Pruning Italian Buckthorn

Pruning italian buckthornIf your Italian buckthorn becomes invasive, feel free to cut it back: it won’t suffer from it.

→ Follow our advice on pruning shrubs

You can prune this shrub into a mixed hedge, or train it up a lattice or arbor.

Learn more about Italian Buckthorn

Italian buckthorn makes for easy growing and doesn’t require any particular attention.

Varieties of italian buckthornIts blooming clearly isn’t spectacular, but it has the advantage of producing cute little red then black drupes at the end of summer.

Make a note that these cute drupes which can look like fruits to children are actually poisonous.

An interesting variety is the ‘Argentovariegata’, which has an ivory-colored rim along the edges of leaves.

Smart tip about Italian buckthorn

When purchasing it, check or ask about the variety: some of them are deciduous and will lose their leaves.

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Images: CC BY 2.0: S. Rae, CC BY-SA 2.0: Wendy Cutler