Vaccinium Red Pearl: Making it Easy to Fruit Garden

vaccinium red pearl lignonberryVirtues: Red Pearl lingonberry is a close relative of blueberry bushes (all are in the genus Vaccinium). It works well as a groundcover and produces edible red berries. Even without a distinct fruit or vegetable garden, you can grow fruit by incorporating this pretty groundcover in your ornamental garden beds.

Common name: ‘Red Pearl’ lingonberry, mountain cranberry

Botanical name: Vaccinium vitis-idaea ‘Red Pearl’

Flowers/Fruit: White to pink drooping bell-shaped flowers appear at the ends of stems in late spring to early summer. Red berries ripen in late summer, with a second, usually larger, crop occurring in autumn/fall. Lingonberries are edible; they have an sweet-acidic flavor.

Foliage: Dark green deciduous leaves.

Habit: ‘Red Pearl’ vaccinium is a spreading deciduous groundcover, growing 12 to 18 inches tall and three feet wide. Lingonberries spread by underground runners.

Season: Spring through fall as a leafy groundcover. Late summer and autumn for edible fruit.

Origin: Cultivar of Vaccinium vitis-idaea, which is native to the Northeast region of the United States, Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota, plus Alaska and throughout Canada.

Cultivation: Grow in full to part sun. Like all vacciniums, lingonberry wants an acidic soil. There is no need for fertilizer, especially if the soil is rich in organic matter. Prefers regular watering, generally an inch a week. Full sun and good watering will result in maximum berry production. ‘Red Pearl’ will also produce more fruit if it is planted near other lingonberry cultivars, such as Vaccinium vitis-idaea ‘Koralle’ or ‘Balsgard’. Apply mulch to conserve soil moisture and keep down weeds; avoid cultivating near the plant because, like other Vaccinium species, it has shallow roots. USDA Zones 3–9.

Image courtesy of Monrovia
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