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Lingonberry, also known as Mountain cranberry, cowberry and foxberry is a northern relative of cranberries and blueberries. Lingonberry grows in the coldest of regions and the plant itself is a semi evergreen. It retains its green foliage throughout the winter.
In warmer climates, such as USDA Zones 9 and 10, lingonberry does not survive the summer and does not grow or produce well at all. It is a cold weather berry that can be grown as far North as the Arctic Circle.
The North American wild lingonberry blooms in the spring. The Eurasian variety also blooms in the spring and then again in mid summer, sometimes producing two harvests of berries annually. The first potential harvest from the first bloom is frequently lost to a late frost. The second produces the most abundant and reliable harvest.
Lingonberry plants need at least two but up to three years to begin producing. The berries look and taste alot like cranberries but are a tad smaller.
The blooms are attractive bell-shaped pinkish white little flowers about 1/3 of an inch long. The berries are red and range form slightly less than 1/4 inch across to just shy of 1/2 inch across.
Requirements, Care and Cultivation of Lingonberry Bushes
Lingonberry plants thrive in acidic soils. Optimal Soil pH is 4.5 to 5.5. A pH above 5.8 is potentially deadly to the lingonberry.
They produce best in a light partial shade, but will work well in full sun also.
Minimal fertilizer is needed, a light application of an acidic fertilizer once annually in the spring is all you should need.Excessive nitrogen produces excessive fall growth and early winter die back. The end result being a reduced crop in the following season.
Lingonberry Plants require magnesium, not tremendously high levels but simply some magnesium. In soils with a low Ph, magnesium solubility decreases and it becomes unavailable to the plant.
They should be spaced a foot to a foot and a half apart, if growing in rows, they should be 4 to 5 feet apart.
They can also be grown quite effectively as a ground cover or as borders around compatible acid loving plants such as blueberries, ornamental s such as rhododendrons and herbs such as parsley.
Lingonberry plants are self fertilizing, however two different varieties is best, they have proven to be much more productive when cross-pollinated.
Varieties of Lingonberry
Balsgard, Large berries. Higher yielding. Late Season harvest.
Ida, high-yielding Unusually large berries. Sometimes produces two harvests annually.
Koralle, moderate yield. Medium to large Berries. Tangy flavor.
Red Pearl, another good pollinizer. Can become invasive after a few years.Small berries.
Regal, low-yielding plant more suitable as an ornamental
Sussi, good pollinizer, moderate yield, small to medium berries.