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VACCINIUM macrocarpon

Image of Vaccinium macrocarpon

Jesse Saylor

Family

Ericaceae

Botanical Name

VACCINIUM macrocarpon

Plant Common Name

American Cranberry

General Description

Grown commercially for its tart red berries, this creeping broadleaf evergreen shrub from eastern North America also makes an excellent plant for the culinary or ornamental garden. The prostrate stems root at the nodes to eventually form large mats of narrow dark-green leaves which turn bronze or red in winter. Clusters of pinkish urn-shaped flowers appear in summer, followed by proportionately large red-skinned fruits with firm pinkish flesh. The fruits are used in relishes, baked goods, and preserves.

Cranberries grow best in cool, moist, humus-rich soil in full sun, faring poorly in hot dry sites. Although commercial growers flood their fields to facilitate harvesting, cranberries do not require flooding. They work well in the culinary garden, or as an informal groundcover. Although many commercial varieties of cranberry are available, few have been selected for ornamental use. Among the latter is 'Hamilton', a sparsely fruiting dwarf cultivar whose congested tussocks of tiny leaves turn bright red in fall. Use 'Hamilton' in a rock garden, trough, or patio or path edge.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    7 - 1

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    3 - 7

  • Sunset Zone

    1a, 1b, 2a, 2b, 3a, 3b, 4, 5, 6, 17

  • Plant Type

    Broadleaf Evergreen

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun

  • Height

    2"-8" / 5.1cm - 20.3cm

  • Width

    12"-36" / 30.5cm - 91.4cm

  • Bloom Time

    Summer

  • Native To

    Northeastern United States, Mid-Atlantic United States, North-Central United States, Canada

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Loam, Sand

  • Tolerances

    Wet Site

  • Growth Rate

    Medium

  • Water Requirements

    Average Water

  • Habit

    Prostrate/Trailing

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Insignificant

  • Flower Color

    White, Pink

  • Fruit Color

    Red

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Winter)

    Red, Bronze

  • Bark Color

    Brown

  • Fragrant Flowers

    No

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single

  • Repeat Bloomer

    No

  • Showy Fruit

    Yes

  • Edible Fruit

    Yes

  • Showy Foliage

    No

  • Foliage Texture

    Fine

  • Foliage Sheen

    Glossy

  • Evergreen

    Yes

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Bark Texture

    Smooth

  • Usage

    Container, Edging, Edible, Fruit / Fruit Tree, Groundcover, Rock Garden / Wall, Wildflower

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Attracts

    Birds

  • Self-Sowing

    No