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Vaccinium crassifolium

Phonetic Spelling
vak-SIN-ee-um krass-ih-FOH-lee-um
Description

Creeping Blueberry is an evergreen shrub in the Ericaceae family native to only 4 states in the southeastern US. It can form a dense mat for an effective groundcover with 4 season interest. It prefers acidic well-drained sandy to loam soils. It cannot tolerate soils where lime is present.  It grows naturally in the savannas, pine flat woods, and sandy areas. Clusters of pinkish, bell-shaped flowers appear along the stems in April.

Giving it a showy appearance, new growth emerges bronze and turns to a dark green in summer.  The leaves are thick and have a leathery feel.  They are closely packed along the horizontal stems.

Fruit in the form of berries form in the summer and are edible both raw and cooked.  It will grow in both sunny or lightly shaded locations, however, will fruit best when full sun is provided.

This plant does not like its roots disturbed, so growing as a container plant is an option prior to placing in its permanent location.  The two cultivars listed, 'Well's Delight' and 'Bloodstone' can grow to form an almost solid evergreen carpet and is the often recommended as a good choice for a ground cover.  Its fruit of 'Well's Delight' has a slight aromatic flavor.  

In Zones 1 through 7, Creeping Blueberry is heat tolerant.  

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems:  None noted.

 

VIDEO Created by Elisabeth Meyer for "Edibles, Bulbs, and Houseplants" a plant identification course offered in partnership with Longwood Gardens.   

More information on Vaccinium.

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See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Bloodstone'
    very low growing, to 5-8 inches high, indefinitely spreading, dark green, somewhat glossy, reddish in winter.
  • 'Well's Delight'
    Trailing or low arching branches.
'Bloodstone', 'Well's Delight'
Tags:
#bees#evergreen#showy flowers#showy berries#heat tolerant#drought tolerant#wildlife plant#nectar plant#native bees#broadleaf evergreen#fall interest#showy fruits#specialized bees#NC native#groundcover#edible fruits#rock gardens#native groundcover#pollinator plant#evergreen shrub#food source herbage#food source nectar#food source pollen#coastal FAC#Piedmont Mountains FAC#bird friendly#mammals#food source soft mast fruit#butterfly friendly#birds#audubon#broadleaf
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Bloodstone'
    very low growing, to 5-8 inches high, indefinitely spreading, dark green, somewhat glossy, reddish in winter.
  • 'Well's Delight'
    Trailing or low arching branches.
'Bloodstone', 'Well's Delight'
Tags:
#bees#evergreen#showy flowers#showy berries#heat tolerant#drought tolerant#wildlife plant#nectar plant#native bees#broadleaf evergreen#fall interest#showy fruits#specialized bees#NC native#groundcover#edible fruits#rock gardens#native groundcover#pollinator plant#evergreen shrub#food source herbage#food source nectar#food source pollen#coastal FAC#Piedmont Mountains FAC#bird friendly#mammals#food source soft mast fruit#butterfly friendly#birds#audubon#broadleaf
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Vaccinium
    Species:
    crassifolium
    Family:
    Ericaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Woody
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Division
    Layering
    Seed
    Stem Cutting
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Southeastern U.S.A., North Carolina and Georgia
    Distribution:
    VA, NC, SC, GA
    Wildlife Value:
    Members of the genus Vaccinium support the following specialized bees: Andrena (Conandrena) bradleyi, Andrena (Andrena) carolina, Panurginus atramontensis, Habropoda laboriosa, Colletes productus, Colletes validus, and Osmia (Melanosmia) virga. Birds and mammals are attracted to the berries.
    Play Value:
    Attractive Flowers
    Attracts Pollinators
    Edible fruit
    Wildlife Food Source
    Edibility:
    Blueberries are edible.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 0 ft. 10 in. - 1 ft. 8 in.
    Width: 2 ft. 0 in. - 3 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Edible
    Ground Cover
    Native Plant
    Shrub
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Habit/Form:
    Clumping
    Creeping
    Horizontal
    Growth Rate:
    Medium
    Maintenance:
    Low
    Texture:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    High Organic Matter
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Occasionally Dry
    Available Space To Plant:
    12 inches-3 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    6b, 6a, 7a, 7b, 8b, 8a, 9b, 9a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Black
    Purple/Lavender
    Fruit Value To Gardener:
    Edible
    Showy
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Summer
    Fruit Type:
    Berry
    Fruit Length:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Width:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    Small purple-black round fruits that appear from June to July.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Pink
    Red/Burgundy
    White
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Fragrant
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Flower Shape:
    Bell
    Urn
    Flower Petals:
    fused petals
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    Small pendulous clusters of rosy red and white bell-shaped flowers in spring (April-May).
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Leaf Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Glossy
    Leathery
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Elliptical
    Obovate
    Ovate
    Leaf Margin:
    Entire
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    < 1 inch
    Leaf Width:
    < 1 inch
    Leaf Description:
    1/2 inch finely serrate, glossy dark green to bronze leaves.
  • Bark:
    Bark Color:
    Dark Brown
    Light Brown
    Surface/Attachment:
    Exfoliating
    Bark Description:
    Brown and exfoliating.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Red/Burgundy
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Description:
    Reddish-brown stems
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Coastal
    Container
    Meadow
    Naturalized Area
    Patio
    Slope/Bank
    Walkways
    Landscape Theme:
    Drought Tolerant Garden
    Edible Garden
    Native Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Rock Garden
    Winter Garden
    Design Feature:
    Accent
    Border
    Mass Planting
    Specimen
    Attracts:
    Butterflies
    Pollinators
    Small Mammals
    Songbirds
    Specialized Bees
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Drought