Vaccinium / Blueberry / Lingonberry / Cranberry / Huckleberry

Grow your own flavorful garden berries: blueberries, cranberries, lingonberries & more! Ideal for sunny gardens and patio containers. 

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Harvest a variety of delicious and nutritious berries right in your backyard with the versatile Vaccinium genus. This group of perennial shrubs includes not just the popular blueberry but also cranberries, lingonberries, and huckleberries, each offering unique flavors and health benefits. Known for their high antioxidant content and anti-inflammatory properties, these berries are superfoods that contribute significantly to a healthy diet.

Vaccinium is a genus of about 450 species with creeping or erect habits, ranging in size from 6 inches tall to 12 feet tall, with a similar width. The shrubs can be evergreen or deciduous, with most being highly productive. Some commonly cultivated species of blueberries include V. corymbosum (highbush blueberry); V. angustifolium (lowbush blueberry); and V. virgatum (rabbiteye blueberry; syn. V. ashei), along with many hybrids of highbush x lowbush (half-highs). Other important and/or up-and-coming Vaccinium species include V. macrocarpon (American cranberry, large cranberry); V. oxycoccos (small-fruited, or northern, cranberry); V. vitis-idaea  (lingonberry, cowberry, red whortleberry, mountain cranberry), thought to be a cranberry-blueberry intermediate; V. glauco album (Himalayan huckleberry); V. ovatum (California huckleberry, evergreen huckleberry); and V. myrtillus (dwarf bilberry, whortleberry). 

Blueberries are the star of the Vaccinium genus, prized for their sweet flavor and ease of growth. Varieties such as the highbush (Vaccinium corymbosum), lowbush (Vaccinium angustifolium), and rabbiteye (Vaccinium virgatum) are commonly cultivated, providing abundant crops of juicy berries. But don't overlook the potential of cranberries (Vaccinium macrocarpon and Vaccinium oxycoccos), lingonberries (Vaccinium vitis-idaea), and huckleberries (Vaccinium glaucoalbum and Vaccinium ovatum), which are gaining popularity for their unique tastes and uses in both culinary and ornamental gardening.

These berry bushes are not only prolific producers of fruit but also add significant ornamental value to any garden. Many varieties showcase stunning fall foliage and vibrant winter stems, making them attractive year-round. For instance, highbush blueberries often turn brilliant shades of red, orange, and yellow in autumn, while their stems can add a striking red color in the winter landscape.

Growing Vaccinium species is straightforward. They thrive in organically rich, well-drained, acidic soil and require at least six hours of full sun each day for optimal fruit production. To enjoy a prolonged harvest season, consider planting early, mid-season, and late-season varieties. This way, you can savor fresh berries throughout the summer months.

Whether you are growing them for their tasty fruits or their ornamental appeal, Vaccinium shrubs are a delightful and rewarding addition to any garden. Expand your berry horizons with these versatile plants and enjoy the sweet rewards of your gardening efforts.

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