If you are looking for brilliant colored berries and delicate flowers Gaultheria could be a plant worth considering.
Gaultheria procumbens or ‘Eastern Teaberry’ is the most widely grown, however other varieties are also available.
Related to the ‘Heathers’, Gaultheria varieties are a large group of small shrubs, some very useful in the garden. We love the brilliant berries during winter when they add extra co lour when badly needed.
Many are very low growing and make useful ground cover plants.
One of the important aspect to consider is planting the right variety. Gaultheria mucronata are mainly self fertile, so you will need only one plant to get the berries.
However, other species are not and you may need a male and a female plant. With those cultivars offered in nurseries, simply check the label and see if the plant is self fertile.
Most species will spread slowly by suckering, and over time they make a great ground cover plant. Smaller growing varieties also make good container plants, these are a versatile lot.
Gaultheria require an acidic soil, so check the soil ph. Although if you can grow Camellias, you can grow Gaultheria.
- Gaultheria procumbens or ‘eastern teaberry’
Lots of decorative bright red berries in winter, low growing.
- Gaultheria hispidula ‘creeping snowberry ‘
Very low growing to around 1ft tall, deep green foliage and bright red berries.
- Gaultheria fragmantissima.
- Wonderful fragrance, however not as tolerant of cold conditions as others.
- Gaultheria mucronata
Masses of berries, sort of porcelain pink, very attractive. However with a few dozen cultivars some produce red berries.
- Gaultheria hispida
This one is from Australia, will reach around 1ft – 2 ft white berries with pink tips.
- Gaultheria depressa
This is the ‘Mountain Snow Berry’, very low growing with white berries.
- Gaultheria shallon
This is a larger growing shrub, attractive red stems, pale pink flowers and deep crimson red berries.
Easy by semi ripe cuttings taken in summer, or from suckering root cuttings or division in spring to summer.
Gaultheria Plants are available for sale from the following nurseries
SEQUIM RARE PLANTS
500 N. Sequim Ave. Sequim, WA 98382
Small mail order nursery with a very interesting range of perennials and other plants. Includes: Gazania.