VACCINIUM

FAMILY: Ericaceae

TYPE
  • Evergreen
  • Shrubs
  • Deciduous
SUN EXPOSURE
  • Varies by Species
WATER
  • Varies by Species

Plant Details

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.

sparkleberry, farkleberry

vaccinium arboreum

  • 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 feet tall and about as wide, with shiny, dark green leaves to 2 inches long; leaves turn rich red and crimson in fall and persist through most of the winter.
  • Fragrant white flowers; unpalatable, 14 inches black berries.
  • Older shrubs have beautiful, exfoliating cinnamon-brown to gray-orange bark.
  • Full sun or partial shade.
  • Needs only moderate water.

creeping blueberry

vaccinium ashei

  • See Blueberry

vaccinium corymbosum

  • See Blueberry

vaccinium crassifolium

  • Evergreen.
  • Zones MS, LS; USDA 7-8.
  • Native from southeast Virginia to South Carolina.
  • Sprawling ground cover to 6 inches tall and 6 feet across, with leathery, dark green leaves just 12 inches long.
  • Rosy red flowers in late spring; sweet, black berries to 12 inches 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.

darrow's blueberry

vaccinium darrowii

  • Evergreen.
  • Zones LS, CS; USDA 8-9.
  • Native to Florida, Georgia, Alabama.
  • Grows to 2 feet tall in the wild, but can reach 5 feet tall and 3 feet 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.

elliott's blueberry

vaccinium elliottii

  • 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 feet tall and about 6 feet wide.
  • Shiny, thin-textured green leaves to 112 inches long.
  • Pink to white flowers often appear before leaf-out; dark purple-blue or black berries are less than 12 inches wide.
  • Full sun or partial shade; moderate to regular water.

cranberry

vaccinium macrocarpon

  • Evergreen.
  • Zones US, MS; USDA 6-7.
  • Native from Newfoundland to Minnesota, south to North Carolina.
  • Creeping plant 26 inches high, spreading indefinitely by rooting stems.
  • Narrow, 34 inches-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 inches 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.

ground blueberry

vaccinium myrsinites

  • Evergreen.
  • Zones MS, LS, CS, TS; USDA 7-11.
  • Native from Virginia to Florida and Louisiana.
  • To 2 feet tall, more sprawling than erect.
  • White to pink flowers; tiny blue-black or black berries.
  • Full sun; moderate to ample water.

deerberry

vaccinium stamineum

  • Deciduous.
  • Zones US, MS, LS, CS; USDA 6-9.
  • Native to eastern North America.
  • Open, airy growth to a possible 1015 feet 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 inches 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 inches across are edible but not always sweet.
  • Full sun or partial shade; moderate to regular water.

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