How To Grow Huckleberries For Your Backyard
Huckleberries are perennial bushes that grow 2 to 3 feet (61 to 91.5 cm) tall in full sun but can grow up to 10 feet (3 meters) tall in shade. The majority of huckleberries are deciduous, although some are evergreen. The new leaves are bronze to red in color, and they grow into a gʟᴏssy green throughout the summer. Huckleberry plants produce black-purple berries as a result of tiny, pale pink urn-shaped blooms that bloom in the spring. This delectable fruit is then consumed fresh or preserved in jams and other preserves. The berries are also difficult to resist for birds.
Now that we know what huckleberries are, we should find out where they grow. The genus Gaylussacia contains four species of huckleberry that are native to the eastern and southeastern United States, but these are not the berries we’re talking about. Western huckleberries are members of the Vaccinium genus and can be found in the coniferous woods of the United States’ West Coast.
Western huckleberries have blooms and fruit that like those of high bush and low bush blueberries, and they are Vaccinium species as well, but they are classified in a separate taxonomic part (myrtillus) than other blueberries since they grow solitary berries on fresh stalks. On year-old wood, both high and low bush blueberries grow berries with a substantially higher output. Vaccinium deliciosum, sometimes known as cascade bilberry, is the most frequent of these.
When planting your huckleberries, keep in mind that the species prefers moist, acidic soil with a pH of 4.3 to 5.2. Huckleberries can also be planted in either the sun or the shade, though shady locations will produce a higher yield and larger, more lush plants. The western huckleberry will flower in April and May if you live in USDA zones 7-9, where the species is advised for planting
It grows well in mid-alpine environments and will thrive in yours as well. Transplanting, rhizome cuttings, or seeds are all options for propagation. Due to their lack of centralized root systems, transplanting wild bushes is challenging, but it can be done in late fall or early winter. Before transplanting the huckleberries to the garden, grow them in a pot for one to two years in peat moss-based soil.
You can also start growing huckleberries by cutting the rhizome rather than the stem. Cut the rhizome cuttings in 4-inch (10-cm) long portions and bury them in sand-filled nursery flats in late winter or early spring. Don’t use rooting compound on your fingers. To keep flats moist, spray them or cover them with clear film. Transplant the cuttings into 1-gallon (4 L.) pots with peat moss-based soil once they develop 1- to 2-inch (2.5 to 5 cm) long roots and shoots.
Feeding using a 10-10-10 fertilizer, manure, slow-release, or granular fertilizer is recommended by Huckleberry plant care. Weed and feed fertilizer should not be used. Granular fertilizer can be applied in the months of May, June, and July, whereas manure can be administered at any time. For alternative fertilizers, follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Herbicides should not be used on western huckleberries. Weeds can be controlled by mulches and hand weeding. Huckleberries do not require pruning while they are young since they develop slowly; prune just to eliminate ᴅᴇᴀᴅ or ᴅᴀᴍᴀɢᴇd limbs.