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Edible Landscapes: Lingonberries

by Patti on 11/02/2010
Koralle Lingonberry

Have you ever heard of lingonberries?

People in Minnesota have known about them forever, you betcha! City girl that I am, I’ve known about them for quite some time thanks to the Swedish company IKEA.

There, you can buy the berry in every form imaginable as lingonberry concentrate, soda, jelly, jam and more… so I don’t have to tell you they are delicious!

Anyone in zone 7 or cooler can grow lingonberries right in their backyard, thanks to Stark Bro’s.

What are Lingonberries?

The lingonberry is a hardy perennial evergreen shrub or ground-cover, similar to cranberries, that grows about 1-1.5 feet tall (~12-18 inches). It is widely found in the forests of northern Europe, northern America, and Canada.

The low-growing plant blooms twice in the growing season: once in the spring and again later in the summer. The fruit is a berry about the size of a wild blueberry and starts out green before gradually turning red when ripe. Since it blooms twice during the growing season, the lingonberry plant has an extended crop that ripens in mid-August and again in mid-October in zone 5.

How to grow Lingonberries

Lingonberry plants like to be grown in acidic soil. The plants can tolerate some shade and are also cold-hardy — to zone 2! It will take about 1-2 years before your lingonberry plants begin producing fruit, but it’s worth the wait: you will get 2 crops, one in mid-summer (around July or August) and the second in late fall (starting in October through November)! Their compact size makes lingonberry plants, like the Koralle Lingonberry variety, perfect for containers and window boxes. Plant them as a border plant 18 inches apart in lieu of boxwoods, hollies, or dwarf conifers. Lingonberry plants can also be used in place of of ground covers like vincas or varieties of sedum.

Uses for Lingonberries

LingonberriesSubstitute lingonberries in any recipe that calls for blueberries or cranberries. They work well with all meats, too. Strain through a puréer and make juice, or turn them into jelly or jam to enjoy on toast! It is also possible to make wine and liqueurs with lingons. The high levels of benzoic acid give lingonberries a long shelf life when refrigerated. Lingonberries also have a variety of nutritional properties. They are high in Vitamins A, B & C and produce natural phyto-chemicals like antioxidants that help prevent heart disease and cancer.

For me and my family, the joy of gardening is found in the healthy varieties of fruits and vegetables we are able to grow in our edible landscape.

Enjoying the fruits of my labor,

Patti Moreno, the Garden Girl

Topics → Planting & Growing

5 comments on “Edible Landscapes: Lingonberries

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention Edible Landscapes: Lingonberries | Growing with Stark Bro's -- Topsy.com

  2. Barbara Hartings on said:

    Maybe my lingonberries would have made it had they been half as big, full, and robust as those that Patti M. had in her video. After a couple years of growing, even my blueberries from Stark are not that big. Maybe I just got the dregs when I ordered a couple years ago.

    • Meg on said:

      Thanks for stopping by, Barbara! I’m sorry to hear your lingonberries didn’t make it… when did you receive them? How was the quality when they arrived?

  3. WendP on said:

    I’ve had my lingonberry plants for a few years. Every year, some of the branches turn brown and the leaves close up towards the stem, and the whole branch eventually dies. I can’t tell if it’s bugs or disease. But this has happened to up to half of each plant, each year for four years. What’s going on?

    • Sarah on said:

      It could be many things going on, so I’ll give you the most-likely causes:

      If your lingonberry plants are growing in a consistently wet area, especially if you’ve had a fairly cool spring there, it may be a fungus that is causing the vegetative growth to brown. Lingonberry plants are more tolerant of water than your average fruit tree or berry plant, but that doesn’t stop fungal diseases from taking advantage of the moist conditions. If you are not spraying a fungicide, doing so would be worth considering.

      If you are using chemical fertilizers on your lingonberry plants, you should refrain in the future. Lingonberries can be sensitive to chloride salts that are present in many fertilizers. Urea (more “lime”) or ammonium sulfate (more “acid”) are better chemical fertilizers for lingonberry plants but using compost and mulch — clean, not growing mold or clippings that may have been infected with fungal disease — might be the best way to go here.

      You should also contact your local county Extension office (find your office’s contact information here: http://www.csrees.usda.gov/Extension/) and chat with them about your situation. They are your local experts and they will be able to advise you further, especially if anyone else is experiencing the same things you are.

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