Wintergreen (Gaultheria procumbens)

Common names:
Give a thumbs up Wintergreen
Give a thumbs up Checkerberry
Give a thumbs up Teaberry
Give a thumbs up Eastern Teaberry

General Plant Information (Edit)
Plant Habit: Shrub
Life cycle: Perennial
Sun Requirements: Full Sun to Partial Shade
Partial or Dappled Shade
Partial Shade to Full Shade
Water Preferences: Mesic
Dry Mesic
Dry
Soil pH Preferences: Very strongly acid (4.5 – 5.0)
Strongly acid (5.1 – 5.5)
Moderately acid (5.6 – 6.0)
Slightly acid (6.1 – 6.5)
Minimum cold hardiness: Zone 3 -40 °C (-40 °F) to -37.2 °C (-35)
Maximum recommended zone: Zone 8a
Plant Height: 4 to 6 inches
Plant Spread: 6 to 12 inches
Leaves: Evergreen
Fragrant
Broadleaf
Fruit: Showy
Edible to birds
Fruiting Time: Late winter or early spring
Late summer or early fall
Fall
Late fall or early winter
Winter
Flowers: Showy
Fragrant
Blooms on new wood
Flower Color: White
Bloom Size: Under 1"
Flower Time: Late spring or early summer
Summer
Underground structures: Rhizome
Uses: Provides winter interest
Groundcover
Will Naturalize
Edible Parts: Leaves
Fruit
Eating Methods: Tea
Culinary Herb/Spice
Raw
Resistances: Drought tolerant
Propagation: Seeds: Self fertile
Stratify seeds: 1 to 2 months cold moist treatment
Propagation: Other methods: Cuttings: Stem
Layering
Other: Stem runners usually rooted at intervals
Pollinators: Bumblebees
Miscellaneous: Tolerates poor soil
Monoecious

close-up of flowers of plant in big pot

Celebrating Winter Interest!Celebrating Winter Interest!
February 14, 2015

Pine cones, seed heads, winter bloomers, colorful red berries, and much more! Let's kick off Winter Interest Week with a look at the most popular plants in our database that give some kind of interest to our gardens in the winter. We also introduce a new gallery option in our database for winter interest, with bonus acorns this week!

(Full article9 comments)
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Photo gallery:
Location: Downingtown, PennsylvaniaDate: 2012-06-28close-up of flowers of plant in big pot
By ILPARW
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Location: Bear Creek, PennsylvaniaDate: 2016-09-14wild plant in northern PA
By ILPARW
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Location: my garden, Gent, BelgiumDate: 2009-03-03
By bonitin
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Location: my garden, Gent, BelgiumDate: 2009-07-04
By bonitin
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Location: Tennessee
By SongofJoy
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Location: Downingtown, PennsylvaniaDate: 2013-10-24year old specimen, after nursery bought, planted in big pot
By ILPARW
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Location: Smith College Botanical GardenDate: 2012-01-02
By eclayne
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Photo Courtesy of Lazy S'S Farm Nursery.
By Joy
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Photo Courtesy of Lazy S'S Farm Nursery.
By Joy
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Location: Downingtown, PennsylvaniaDate: 2012-06-28specimen in big pot
By ILPARW
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Courtesy Gardens in the Wood of Grassy Creek
By vic
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 Courtesy Outsidepride
By vic
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Photo Courtesy of Lazy S'S Farm Nursery.
By Joy
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Comments:
Posted by SongofJoy (Clarksville, TN - Zone 6b) on Mar 14, 2012 1:32 PM

Found in dry or moist acidic woods of eastern North America and south to cooler elevations in Tennessee, Alabama, and Georgia, Wintergreen is a common evergreen ground-cover well-known for its fresh wintergreen smell when the leaves are crushed.

Growing only 6 inches tall, this creeper has dark, broadly-oval 1 inch leathery leaves that turn reddish in cold weather. It has solitary, nodding, white urn-shaped summer flowers that are followed by bright red 1/2 inch berries that may remain on the plant from late summer through the following spring.

Give Wintergreen good, organic, well-drained, acidic soil and shade. The better the soil, the more quickly it will spread. (Sunlight Gardens)

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Posted by Marilyn (Northern KY - Zone 6a) on Aug 27, 2013 3:33 AM

This is the state herb of Maine.

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Posted by ILPARW (southeast Pennsylvania - Zone 6b) on Dec 24, 2018 4:55 PM

The generic name of Gaultheria was named after a Canadian botanist and physician of Dr. Gauthier of the 18th century. This Checkerberry Wintergreen or Teaberry is native to southeast Canada, New England down to coastal North Carolina to eastern Tennessee back up the Appalachians, and around the Great Lakes growing in acid soils of bogs, swamps, dunes, barrens, rocky slopes, and upland woods. Some are sold at many conventional nurseries in the eastern and midwestern USA in pots, grown over in the gentle climate of the Pacific Northwest at nurseries there, and some are also sold at native plant nurseries. It is one of those fussy plants that only grow well with a porous acid soil and a sheltered, shady location. I planted one in a tube with two dwarf Blueberry shrubs where I amended the potting soil with an acidifier mix from a commercial bag of sulfur & iron sulfate and had the pH about 5 to 6. My wintergreen died on me one severe winter when I should have covered it with burlap to shade it and some mulch to protect it better. I had it about 5 years. Beautiful, lovely broadleaf evergreen plant! Its waxy, white flowers are borne about mid-May to mid-August. It holds its red fruit that are really berry-like capsules from July to the next April. This species was the original source of oil of wintergreen used in liniments, and crushed leaves give off the fragrance. (There are about 170 species of Gaultheria in moist temperate regions and some mountain areas of the tropics all over the world, being evergreen shrubs.)

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Plant Events from our members
Weedwhacker On February 5, 2015 Seeds sown
WS
lovesblooms On February 24, 2018 Seeds sown
winter sown
lovesblooms On April 24, 2015 Obtained plant
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Discussion Threads about this plant
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Banner for March 28, 2018 by mcash70 by mcash70 Mar 28, 2018 9:15 AM 8
What is the name of this plant and is it poisonous? by CorinaHernndez Mar 3, 2017 2:29 PM 6
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