The Q&A Archives: High Bush Cranberry

Question: I just purchased a High bush Cranberry and would like to know the best care for the most yeild. I've only read about these plants and have only seen native wild plants. Do they like the same kind of soil? How much sun do they require, and should I prune? Unfotunately I recieved no instructions with my plant. I live in the middle of cranberry bogs in my area, so I thought these plants would be happy here. Thank you for your time.

Answer: There are two plants that might be called a Highbush Cranberry, but they are both actually Viburnums.

According to Michael Dirr's "Manual of Woody Landscape Plants", V. trilobum (American Cranberrybush Viburnum) is native to the northern states and New Brunswick and British Columbia. It needs an evenly moist yet well drained soil(meaning not boggy) and a pH near 6.0 or 6.5 to do well; it is not well adapted to hot summers so zone 7 is about its southern limit. The fruits are edible and certain varieties have been selected for better fruit selection. Other varieties have been selected for more attractive flowering. This plant needs little pruning and will grow in full sun or partial shade. It should not be allowed to dry out in the summer time.

Viburnum opulus (European Cranberrybush Viburnum) is another possibility. It is grown primarily as an ornamental and also grows into a large shrub. It is more adaptable than the one above, and in the wild does grow in boggy situations. It will fruit more in full sun but withstands partial shade. Pruning would generally be limited to a thinning occasionally as for an ornamental shrub.

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