I search high and low for bittersweet each year at this time. After some research~ I found out that bittersweet was once planted by highways and railways to prevent erosion. They soon discovered that it grew out of control and reseeded itself everywhere so they stopped planting it~ bummer! I love bittersweet.
A couple of years ago I went to my local nursery and bought myself a plant. Bittersweet needs both a female and male plant to produce berries. It only takes one male plant for six to eight female plants. However ~they now have a plant that is both~which I bought. I was not so convinced but it did work. Bittersweet must be planted by fences or trellises because they climb.
Fall is a great time to plant bittersweet. If mulched and protected over the winter it will thrive and remain maintenance free for most of its long life.
Bittersweet is ready to be harvested when you see the orange capsules of the fruit split open to reveal fruit inside. Cut the stems the length desired and twine them up and hang them upside down in a warm~ dark place. As the berries dry they will split and crack open. Once dried they will make a nice display that will last for many years.