The Q&A Archives: Huckleberries

Question: Don't let my current address fool you. My husband is a Marine, & will retire (to Indiana) soon. We were on a day ride (horse back) in Idaho & tasted some wild huckleberries. Is there any domestic breeds? Does anyone supply plants or seeds? If so, can you give me names, addresses, web sites, etc... for as many as you know? I don't intend to buy until we retire back to Indiana. Also I know nothing about bush cherries (sweet/sour, self-fertile or not, how long before they first fruit, height etc... don't forget verieties & where to get them). Can you help me? (We will retire in April of 2000)

Answer: Huckleberries are known botanically as Gaylussacia dumosa. They require an acidic (pH 4.5), peaty soil that drains well, but will hold adequate moisture to sustain the shallow-rooted plants. Partial shade is their favored garden light. If your soil is very alkaline, then you may need to alter pH with soil amendments, and then mix peat moss with the soil prior to planting. To be sure, have a soil test done by your agricultural extension service when you reach your final destination. You can order plants from Louisiana Nursery, 5853 Highway 182, Opelousas, LA 70570, ph# 318/948-3696.

Bush cherries generally grow to a height of anywhere from 4 to 8 feet, depending on variety. The varieties I researched are all sour types, and different varieties vary in their pollination requirements. Here are two nurseries to contact: Edible Landscaping, ph# 800-524-4156, web site: and St. Lawrence Nurseries, 325 State Hwy 345, Potsdam, NY 13676, ph# 315-265-6739, web site:


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