The Q&A Archives: Non-fruiting Wentworth Viburnum

Question: I purchased a Wentworth variety of Highbush Cranberry Viburnum from a local nursery last year. It did not produce any berries. This year the plant had plenty of flowers -- small spherical clusters of them -- but the flowers all resembled the sterile type. No berries developed this year either. The plant is about three feet tall and is still in its original pot (it must be pot-bound by now!). Is it possible that the plant is sterile and will never produce berries? Are the normal flowers of a Wentworth supposed to be like the ones I described?

Answer: On the contrary, 'Wentworth' was selected for the big, red berries it produces. The blooms of highbush cranberry are curious; the outer ring flowers on a cluster are sterile -- it's the center of the cluster that has the reproductive organs. If the blossoms aren't infested with thrips or aphids, then I'm not sure why they wouldn't fruit, aside from a lack of pollination. I recommend that you plant it in the ground or a larger pot as soon as you can. You can draw bees for pollination with Bee Scent, available at many garden centers, and from Gardens Alive (812/537-8650; Best of luck!

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