Vaccinium: Blueberry, Cranberry, Lingonberry, & Whortleberry

Vaccinium is a large group of plants that includes blueberries and cranberries, Northwest native huckleberries and several more fruiting shrubs grown primarily for their ornamental qualities.

We discuss non-native Vacciniums here - to read more about native types follow this link.

Vaccinium augustifolium

Vaccinium angustifolium: Lowbush Blueberry

Native to northeast US, Lowbush Blueberries are the state fruit of Maine. They have small, sweet, tart berries in summer are good for baking. Leaves turn bright orange and red before they fall off in autumn revealing bright green and red winter stems. Small white or pink bell flowers in spring. Portland Nursery offers ‘Burgundy’ and ‘Brunswick’ varieties, which should be planted together for pollination.

Grows 6”-24” tall x 24” wide, Hardy Zone 3, -40f.

Vaccinium ashei 'Sunshine Blue'

Vaccinium ashei: Rabbiteye or Southern Highbush Blueberry

Rabbiteyes are similar to Northern Highbush Blueberries, but better suited to growing conditions in the southern United States. In addition to producing delicious fruit, they have ornamental qualities that make them great plants for the landscape. Pink bell flowers appear in April attracting bees, and blue-green leaves turn lavender during mild NW winters. Berries are delicious and have a different flavor than typical store-bought varieties - they ripen in July-August.

Best fruiting in full sun - part shade is fine for ornamental purposes - hardy zone 7, 0-10f.

‘Misty’ - Grows 6' x 6'

‘Sunshine Blue’ is self-fertile & grows to 3-4' x 3-4'

Vaccinium corymbosum

Vaccinium corymbosum: Northern Highbush Blueberry

This is our commercial blueberry. Numerous cultivars are available, offering variety in flavor and size of fruit. Blueberries are tall multi-stemmed shrubs with deciduous leaves that turn bright yellow, orange and red before falling in autumn.

Grows 4-8', full sun for best fruiting, regular water during summer, hardy Zone 3, -40f.

Learn more about Blueberries here*

Vaccinium glauco album

Vaccinium glauco album: Himalayan Huckleberry

Himalayan Huckleberry is a great little shrub. White bell flowers, evergreen leaves that are dark blue-green on top & pale chalky blue on the bottom & blue edible fruit. It grows slowly, so it's never going to overwhelm a space, and it can grow in full sun, but is not well suited to very hot dry spots.

Grows 18" X 24", sun-part shade, Z7

Vaccinium macrocarpum

Vaccinium macrocarpum: American Cranberry

This is the source for all things Cranberry, including juice and sauce. Small pinkish flowers in spring, narrow evergreen leaves turn purple in winter and round red berries ripen in early autumn. It grows slowly as a ground cover in sphagnum bogs in the wild, but can thrive in garden soil where there is added organic matter, so long as the roots stay cool and moist. Cranberries are nice additions to container plantings.

Grows 2-6” tall, spread is indefinite. Sun - part shade, Hardy Zone 2, -50f.

Vaccinium moupinense

Vaccinium moupinense: Himalayan Blueberry

Darling little evergreen shrub, grown for ornamental use, but with edible fruit. Small round glossy leaves have a red tinge during winter months. Small red flowers aren’t really noticeable and fruit is better suited for wildlife than human consumption. This is a nice plant for borders or container plantings.

Grows 1-3’ tall and wide. Sun-part shade and moist, not waterlogged soil. Hardy Zone 5, -20f.

Vaccinium nummularia

Vaccinium nummularia: Coin Whortleberry

This has become one of our favorite small shrubs for Northwest gardens, mainly because the foliage is so nice! Branches are tipped with copper new leaves that turn to dark glossy green during summer. Pink bell flowers in spring turn to black berries in fall.

Grows 8-12” tall x 12-36" wide. Part shade, Hardy Zone 7, 0-10f.

Vitis idaea

Vaccinium vitis-idea: Lingonberry

White bell flowers in spring, small bright red round berries in summer and glossy round evergreen leaves. ground cover habit, spreads slowly by underground runners. Thrives in sun/part shade and moist well-drained soil. Nice selection for an edible container plant.

Grows 6-12” tall, 3’ wide. Hardy Zone 5, -20f.

Vaccinium ovatum

Northwest Native Vaccinium

Vaccinium ovatum (Evergreen Huckleberry) and Vaccinium parviflorum (Red Huckleberry) are excellent Northwest natives for fruit and ornamental qualities. They are not, however, the huckleberry of Huckleberry Jam or Huckleberry Syrup. That is Vaccinium membranaceum. It is sadly difficult to grow in cultivation and at lower warmer elevations, so we don't often see it in the nursery.

Follow this link to read more on our Native plant picks page for Vaccinium