Vaccinium vitis-idaea


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Key information

Plant type

Evergreen shrub

Flower colour



Flowers, Fruit



Skill level


Vaccinium vitis-idaea

Plant details

Cowberry, Vaccinium vitis-idaea, is an acid-loving European shrub native to moors and woodlands. It has a dwarf, creeping habit with handsome glossy, evergreen foliage similar to that of hedging box. It's a perfect choice for edging shady borders or for underplanting large shrubs and trees in acid soils, where it flowers and fruits freely in varying degrees of shade. The brilliant rich red spherical berries start to colour as the last bell-shaped flowers open in late summer. These can be eaten straight from the plant but they're extremely tart – mash them up with sugar if you have a sweeter tooth.

Grow Vaccinium vitis-idaea in fertile, moist but well-drained, acidic soil in full sun to partial shade. Tidy up plants in winter if necessary.

Family: Ericaceae

Genus: Vaccinium

Species: vitis-idaea

Plant type: Evergreen shrub

Flower colour: White

Foliage colour: Mid-green

Feature: Flowers, Fruit

Sun exposure: Full sun, Partial shade, Shade

Soil: Well-drained/light, Acidic, Moist, Sandy

Hardiness: Hardy

Skill level: Experienced

Height: 25cm

Spread: 150cm

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