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Zones 2-7, 14-17, 32-41
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Partial, Shade
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Ample, Moderate

Vaccinium vitis-idaea

Cowberry, Foxberry
Evergreen, Edible fruit, Ground covers, Shrubs


Excellent ornamental shrubs that include native and non-native cranberries, huckleberries, lingonberries, and blueberries. Each produces clusters of tiny, bell-shaped flowers in spring, plus colorful, edible berries that attract birds and hikers.

Most require organically enriched, acid soil, and thrive in woodland gardens. For specific info about edible Blueberries see that entry.

Vaccinium vitis-idaea

Native to Europe. Slow growth to 1 ft. high; spreads widely by rhizomes if grown in highly organic or thickly mulched soil. Glossy, dark, evergreen leaves to 1 in. long; new growth often tinged bright red or orange. White or pinkish flowers are followed by sour red berries something like tiny cranberries; these are valued for preserves, syrups.

This is a handsome little plant for informal edging around larger plantings; good small-scale ground cover (space plants 2–3 ft. apart).

Best without potassium fertilizer. Prefers partial or full shade, but if given ample water will take full sun in cool-summer climates.

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