Cranberries are a group of evergreen dwarf shrubs or trailing vines in the genus Vaccinium subgenus Oxycoccus. They are found in acidic bogs throughout the cooler parts of the Northern Hemisphere. An attractive groundcover plant with its strong purple autumn tonings. The name cranberry probably derives from their being a favourite food of cranes, though some sources claim the name comes from 'crane berry' because before the flower expands, its stem, calyx, and petals resembled the neck, head, and bill of a crane. Another name, used in north-eastern Canada, is moss berry. Very important economically this Vaccinium species is to the world.
Fine trailing ground-cover can be used around ponds, spilling over banks or hanging baskets. Excellent in acidic wet soils.
It is high in anti-oxidants and other natural compounds with a good source of Vitamin A and C. Recent scientific research shows that cranberries have significant amounts of antioxidants and other phytonutrients that may help protect against heart disease, cancer and other diseases.
How to Eat
With the traditional Turkey and cranberry sauce, Jellies and of course the refreshing Cranberry juice. Early colonists stored them in barrels of fresh icy water therefore frozen dry will keep for a year.
One 1m X 1m bed may yield up to 1kg of fruit in the third and forth year of production.
Generic Fruiting Time
Prefers full sun but will grow in light shade.
Very cold hardy but can also tolerate fairly hot summer temperatures.
They prefer acidic soil. Mulch heavily with bark or sawdust to reduce weeds and keep the soils acidic. Tolerate wet or flooded soils but good drainage is required during the active growing season for proper root growth and function. Keep weed free. They do not tolerate dry soils, and need careful watering in the heat.
Space plants 0.5m apart. Plant into acidic soil or work in peat into the soil. Keep young plants moist until established.
Cranberries grow better in nutrient-poor soils.
Fruit is borne on previous year's growth. Little care is required apart from reducing tangled growth and to encourage strong dense growth.
Cranberries have very few problems.