Wintergreen, too good to be true?

blue_spruce(6 MO)April 7, 2004

Can anyone give me any info as to the drawbacks of planting wintergreen as a groundcover. I would like to plant it under a WNW faceing high deck area. It sounds like it would be perfect, with a number of uses and good smell. However I am wondering if it might be stickery or be very invasive. I do hope not because I think it maybe just what I am looking for.

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There are several plants with that common name. Is this one that you are referring to?

Here is a link that might be useful: Gaultheria procumbens

    Bookmark   April 7, 2004 at 9:10PM
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True wintergreen (the plant they get the flavoring from) is Gaultheria procumbens. It is an excellent groundcover for a woodland or shaded area. It does not produce stickers or thorns and grows slowly to form colonies. I would certainly not classify it as invasive. In my climate, it is fully evergreen and gets great winter color of bronzy-reddish foliage. Needs acidic, evenly moist soil.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2004 at 9:21PM
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diggerdee zone 6 CT

I tried this a few times but I had trouble getting it established. I gave up because the only place I could find it was rather expensive. I wonder if now that I've found the GW forums and discovered many great nurseries, if I can find it at a more reasonable price. It really is a lovely little plant, and gardengal's right - the winter foliage is beautiful!


    Bookmark   April 7, 2004 at 9:28PM
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blue_spruce(6 MO)

Yes,the Gaultherua probcumbens is the variety I am interested in. My soil is rather acid here and I am anxious to give is a try. I have found several places to order plants. Thanks for your responces.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2004 at 8:13AM
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vtskiers(z6a CentralCT)

Dee, I planted some last year and was also unable to find it priced reasonably. The nurseries must look at more as a shrub than a perennial. Depending on how well it does, I plan to add more-evergreen, fall color and berries in the shade-it seems almost too good to be true :).


    Bookmark   April 9, 2004 at 11:48AM
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Hi, everyone, if some of you are still interested in to get Wintergreen, I will be happy to trading with you. Now little too late for transplanting them though. Send me e-mail and have a nice holiday!

    Bookmark   November 18, 2004 at 11:45AM
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Hi, after I posted a message I found out that mine is actually Partridge berry( Mitchella repens) and not true Winter green. But they look very similar and I believe Partridge berry is also good ground cover for the shade too.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2004 at 2:12PM
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Gnomlet(z6 CT)

I have also found wintergreen (Gaultheria procumbens) difficult to establish. It has not died but does not spread nor look happy. An evergreen ground cover for shade that does really well for me is barren strawberry (Waldsteinia fragarioides). It has shiny green leaves all year, pretty yellow flowers in spring, spreads nicely and is easy to transplant. Gnomlet

    Bookmark   November 26, 2004 at 3:20PM
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I have Gaultheria but I don't find that it colonizes. The plants remain small even though they seem happy. I think Gardengal's PNW environment might be better with their more consistent moisture. Here in the Midwest we have periods of dry weather that probably hold it back from spreading.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2004 at 11:02AM
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lukifell(zone5 NH)

I have a Wintergreen patch near my lawn. For some strange reason it produced a bumper crop of berries, which are still attached. They are tasty but not nutritious.

Seems to like to grow next to boulders.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2005 at 2:18PM
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kkbix(z5 Indy)

Do birds like to eat the berries?

    Bookmark   June 18, 2005 at 10:02PM
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This is a lovely little "ground cover". The truth is that even where it thrives, one would be hard pressed to call it a "ground cover". When is it happy, it forms nice lose colonies that can span a room sized area or more, but not continously. I've seen incredible mixed colonies of it with Cornus canadensis
and other ericaceous shrubs in the mountains of Maine and New Hampshire. Here it can form impressive colonies.

The other beauty part of this plant is its ability to withstand hot temperatures. I live in a climate that approximates Atlanta, GA temperatures, that is bloody hot in summer. Yet my little patch grows nicely and expands a bit each year. Still, if I wanted to see it cover the ground one day, I may have to look up since I'll probably be six feet under!

Still worth growing, and animals should like the fruits, though mealy in texture, they have the classic wintergreen taste. PF

    Bookmark   June 20, 2005 at 3:46AM
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Just to show you IÂm not kidding, I actually grow this species here in hot, humid Kyushu.

Too bad it didnÂt flower much this year! PF

    Bookmark   June 21, 2005 at 5:42AM
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Gosh, I wish I could find a spot in my yard where this would grow. It's supposed to be a native, but I've tried it three times in different locations and the last plant languished and now only has one little stalk. Same with partridge berry. I'm in Pgh., so have woodlands, acid soil, have lots of other natives that do well.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2005 at 4:06PM
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jimcnj(z6 NJ)

The densest carpets of wintergreen I've ever seen are in the New Jersey Pine Barrens. Acres and acres of huckleberry, blueberry, trailing arbutus and wintergreen.
they tend to be thickest between young pines in thin fast draining soil.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2005 at 7:24PM
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