Excellent ornamental shrubs with clusters of small, bell-shaped spring flowers and colorful, edible fruit that attracts birds. Species described here are shrubs ranging from ground covers to the height of a small treethat are grown for decorative, landscaping use; see Blueberry for relatives grown primarily for their edible fruit. All require rich, organic, acid soil. Good for woodland gardens.
V. arboreum. SPARKLEBERRY, FARKLEBERRY. Evergreen or deciduous, depending on winter cold. Zones MS, LS, CS; USDA 7-9. Native to the South and to southeastern and eastern Texas. Spreading plant to 1025 ft. tall and about as wide, with shiny, dark green leaves to 2 in. long; leaves turn rich red and crimson in fall and persist through most of the winter. Fragrant white flowers; unpalatable, 14-in. black berries. Older shrubs have beautiful, exfoliating cinnamon-brown to gray-orange bark. Full sun or partial shade. Needs only moderate water.
V. ashei. See Blueberry
V. corymbosum. See Blueberry
V. crassifolium. CREEPING BLUEBERRY. Evergreen. Zones MS, LS; USDA 7-8. Native from southeast Virginia to South Carolina. Sprawling ground cover to 6 in. tall and 6 ft. across, with leathery, dark green leaves just 12 in. long. Rosy red flowers in late spring; sweet, black berries to 12 in. across. 'Bloodstone' has reddish new and mature leaves, red stems in winter. 'Wells Delight' is particularly broad spreading and disease tolerant. Full sun or partial shade; regular water.
V. darrowii. DARROW'S BLUEBERRY. Evergreen. Zones LS, CS; USDA 8-9. Native to Florida, Georgia, Alabama. Grows to 2 ft. tall in the wild, but can reach 5 ft. tall and 3 ft. wide in garden conditions. Very small blue-green leaves; pinkish new growth. White flowers are followed by small, sweet, black berries with a bluish bloom. Two named selections are 'John Blue' and 'Sebring'. Full sun; little to regular water.
V. elliottii. ELLIOTT'S BLUEBERRY. Deciduous. Zones US, MS, LS, CS; USDA 6-9. Native from Florida to Virginia, west to Arkansas and Louisiana. Clump-forming, straggly shrub of variable size; grows from 6 to 13 ft. tall and about 6 ft. wide. Shiny, thin-textured green leaves to 112 in. long. Pink to white flowers often appear before leaf-out; dark purple-blue or black berries are less than 12 in. wide. Full sun or partial shade; moderate to regular water.
V. macrocarpon. CRANBERRY. Evergreen. Zones US, MS; USDA 6-7. Native from Newfoundland to Minnesota, south to North Carolina. Creeping plant 26 in. high, spreading indefinitely by rooting stems. Narrow, 34-in.-long leaves are dark green in summer, turning coppery or purplish red in winter. Tiny pinkish flowers are followed by tart red fruit to 34 in. across in autumn. Commercial producers grow cranberries in bogsbeds that can be flooded to control weeds and pests, provide winter protection, and make harvesting easier. Gardeners can use cranberry as an attractive small-scale ground cover in full sun, with regular to ample water.
V. myrsinites. GROUND BLUEBERRY. Evergreen. Zones MS, LS, CS, TS; USDA 7-11. Native from Virginia to Florida and Louisiana. To 2 ft. tall, more sprawling than erect. White to pink flowers; tiny blue-black or black berries. Full sun; moderate to ample water.
V. stamineum. DEERBERRY. Deciduous. Zones US, MS, LS, CS; USDA 6-9. Native to eastern North America. Open, airy growth to a possible 1015 ft. high and wide, although many mature specimens are half that size or even smaller. Twisted trunks and branches; peeling, reddish brown bark. Oval leaves to 3 in. long are green above, whitish underneath; they turn red and orange in autumn. Clustered white flowers have prominent yellow stamens and flaring petals. Purplish berries less than 12 in. across are edible but not always sweet. Full sun or partial shade; moderate to regular water.