How do you grow Cranberry bushes from seed?

heavenlyfarm(zone 6b)December 26, 2008

I was thinking of either buying cranberry bushes or buying cranberry seeds and growing them from seed. Could anyone provide information on how to grow them from seed? Also how easy is it? Anyone success or personal experience would be appreciated. I rather grow from seed just for a cheaper and nice experience if it is easy. The fact though that it might be a few years before they produce doesn't really bother me.(how long is it by the way?)



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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

Are you asking about cranberries as with turkey and stuffing or cranberry viburnum? The Thanksgiving cranberry is a low creeping evergreen shrub grown commercially in bogs. Probably not really what most would think to refer to as a "bush" - whereas the viburnum does produce quite a large erect shrub.

    Bookmark   December 26, 2008 at 10:16PM
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heavenlyfarm(zone 6b)

Cranberries as with turkey and stuffing and it is called a bush in some of the catalogs....and by the way shrub and bush are the same thing. shrub means bush and bush means shrub. i looked it up to be sure :)

    Bookmark   December 27, 2008 at 8:01AM
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newbirdman(7 b NJ)

Mike , these grow wild where I live in NJ and unless you have a pond or bog , you cant grow them. They like wet roots . They must be easy to grow since they are all over the place. Also I wouldnt call them a bush or shrub , since they are bascially about a foot tall and grow with runners in all directions. Rick

    Bookmark   December 28, 2008 at 6:45AM
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Just look up how to start and grow northern (that is regular) blueberries and do it the same way. Slight modification is probably fine. The seeds are a bit bigger and so might be able to be covered slightly more to start, the soil probably should be a bit more peaty than the minimum needed for blueberries, and the plants may need to be watered more. As with lingonberries, it has been found that you can grow cranberries in a regular yard with some care. Field culture may be harder. Outside of marshes, with their protective water and ice in winter, these may need some heavy mulching for cold protection.

    Bookmark   December 28, 2008 at 8:23AM
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I don't think cranberries will need any cold protection. They grow wild even in zone 3, where any marsh will be a rock solid piece of ice in winter.

    Bookmark   December 28, 2008 at 8:57AM
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heavenlyfarm(zone 6b)

I think I remember seeing an american cranberry or some kind of cranberry that doesn't need the swampy or bog area...I have an area where it is sort of swampy. It always wet but it would only get partial sun. Would that be ok?

    Bookmark   December 30, 2008 at 9:00AM
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glenn_russell(6b RI)

unless you have a pond or bog , you cant grow them. They like wet roots

I think that is conventional wisdom, but I'm not sure it's necessarily true. I have two "Pilgrim" varieties which are doing just fine on top of 6 feet of gravel fill (not wet at all) on a very steep east facing slope. There's a bit of loam, compost and mulch on top of all that fill. One has grown to about 3 feet in diameter, and the other is about 2 feet in diameter in the last 3 seasons. As I understand it, you don't need a bog to grow cranberries, but for commercial harvest, a bog is the most efficient way. But, I'm not an expert here, just telling you what works for me.

Due to my steep east facing slope (about as steep as you can go without it falling down), I'd say my plant gets only a bit more than partial sun. I'd give it a try.

My 4 year old is used to eating the quite-astringent cranberries fresh off the plant. As a result, the Christmas-eve party we went to, she had everyone cracking up because she was eating all of their garnish. By the end of the night, we're estimating she had 60-75 fresh cranberries. I couldn't be prouder! :-)

    Bookmark   December 30, 2008 at 2:53PM
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The overlying ice is the protection, it is thought anyway.

    Bookmark   December 30, 2008 at 4:45PM
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They may not need any protection at all even on nonflooded soil.

    Bookmark   December 30, 2008 at 4:48PM
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heavenlyfarm(zone 6b)

gonebananas, that is the one I was looking at in my Stark Bro's catalog. I think I might give it a try.

    Bookmark   December 30, 2008 at 7:07PM
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Opposed to common belief, cranberries do not need bogs at all, but, as previously stated, they are easier to harvest in bogs. In fact, professional growing in the Pacific NW grow them dry and flood them only for harvest.

Dry harvested cranberries also last longer in storage.

Also, the American Highbush Cranberry is technically not a member of the vaccinium family, but rather caprifoliaceae. They have a SIMILAR flavor, but do not have the same health benefits, textures, or cooking properties.

They need a slightly acid soil, much like blueberries, and need a lot of iron, again, just like blueberries. Growing organic is best, simply because they transfer chemical flavors very easily. Cranberries need a lot thick, loamy, possibly clay soil, whatever gives is a good hold without being totally clay. They DO need air in the soil, so if your soil is too clay, add some sand. Also, they're good with just a little more than 1/2 day sun.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2011 at 1:19PM
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The cranberry bush that I would like to start is called highbush cranberry. The berry is about the size of a pea and they grow much like the berry on a mountain ash, in a cluster. When boiled to make jelly, the house smells like
dirty,stinking feet. The bush grows about 6 to 8 feet tall.
I'm going to try it from seed ...will keep you posted.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2011 at 3:12PM
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I am going to attempt to grow lingonberries from seed. They are related to cranberries and blueberries, so some things about their culture are similar. As has been stated, cranberries grow just fine without being in a bog. Being flooded aids commercial harvest, but that's the only reason they would ever need standing water. Like other members of the family, they like somewhat acid soil. They also benefit from lots of organic material in the soil.

Lingonberries have similar health benefits. I know they do best in nutrient poor soil, though like others in the family, they like acid soil and organic matter. Peat moss, and lots of it, mixed in to the top few inches of the soil does the trick very nicely for both requirements. I think lingonberries are probably the better choice for me because while they are similar in taste, lingonberries have a higher sugar content when fully ripe. Some people even like them raw on their morning cereal. I can't imagine doing that with cranberries. That makes them that much more versatile in my book.

I'm growing them from seed because they will be dual purpose, landscaping as well as for harvest. I will need at least 20-25 plants. Buying that many plants will set me back over $ 200, versus $4 for a pack of seeds, a little bit of shipping and some seed starting supplies.

The seed starting instructions I've seen for lingonberry are probably the same for cranberry. Seeds should be stratified for at least 30 days. Plant very shallow in a well draining medium with lots of organic material and keep slightly damp.

As always, when growing from seed, there is some variability in the resulting plants and fruit, as opposed to complete predictability with cuttings, rhizomes and other vegetative propagation.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2012 at 9:24AM
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I have one cranberry plant in a container (large deep tray sunk in the garden between apple trees - needed to keep the soil pH correct). It is the 'Pilgrim' variety. I bought it in March as a one gallon plant and it has tripled in size over the summer. It only made a dozen or so berries and they were small this year. I hope it performs better in the future. They are easy to propagate as they run along the ground they root in every foot or so. An easy plant to grow and a very pretty ground cover for edible landscaping beds but I wouldn't expect a huge amount of fruit from them.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2012 at 10:56AM
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