Evergreen Huckleberry (Vaccinium ovatum)

Here’s the Evergreen Huckleberry (Vaccinium ovatum) I obtained from One Green World a few years ago and planted out June 2015.

It is exhibiting vertical growth in this location so I’m going to cut it back to about a third, thin it out a bit, and start encouraging side branching.

As stated in another thread, V. ovatum does just fine with pH 5.8 to 6.2. I fertigate them with acidifying formulas designed for roses, azaleas, etc. The berries are very small until the plant reaches mature size. They are not as sweet as blueberries but have much greater anthocyanin content. Being a California native they are also a favorite of local birds.


That’s growing fairly well,in what appears full Sun.Brady

They are good in pancakes, don’t make soggy purple blobs like blueberries.

1 Like

It is sheltered, receiving direct sun from midday through sunset :slightly_smiling:

eHucks have a random growth pattern and do not need to be tended exactly like blueberries for good production. They do not like to be moved, so stick with your location. I would let this plant grow another year or two before any major pruning.

At maturity and if many basal suckers are allowed to grow, this shrub can actually be sheared to shape, of course fruit production will be low then.

It’s still very vertical and about 4’ tall now. I think I’ll prune it to 16" soon.

Keep in mind that there will be eventual branching and extra density above the pruning point.

1 Like

Thanks Larry :slightly_smiling:. I was thinking along those lines. So far my experience here has been little branching far below the pruning point, excellent branching at the node below the pruning point, plus an increase in basal suckers. My hope is to get something going that is “bushy” above 16".

There are two old specimens in my neighborhood pruned to barrel shape, quite dense. In years that no one prunes, there are some berries.

I had a few huckleberries when I was in Portland earlier this year and was so impressed with the flavor that I purchased a few of them to grow back home (Kentucky). I am curious about their cold hardiness…anyone have any experience with this outside of the PNW?

1 Like

Were the berries you had in Portland specifically from an evergreen huckleberry plant?

Your zone 6A/6B could be marginal for this plant. Do nurseries in your area carry it?

1 Like

The berries were identified as huckleberries, so my assumption was that it was an evergreen huckleberry variety since they were sourced locally. I purchased my plants mail order from a nursery in Oregon, so I’m pretty sure that is what I have in hand.

I think I read that the usda hardiness zone was a minimum of 7. With that said, I have four rabbiteye blueberry bushes that have the same zone minimum and they fruit well every year despite winter temperatures that fall to -5F or lower. I guess there is I only one way to find out for sure.


I tried them in a cold zone 6 in Mass and they died on me two years in a row. Not sure if it was just the cold that did it though – we’ve had some strange temperature swings the past few winters.

1 Like

The wild evergreen huckleberry fruits from the northern CA thru B.C. coastal ranges are the size of small blueberries and not as sweet as cultivated blueberries. They are also a staple in the diet of local black bears.

Probably “One Green World”? They have the real deal.

I purchased the huckleberry bushes from another nursery but I did stop at OGW and purchased a Nightfall Blackberry plant, which I carried on my flight back to Cincinnati. It was a pain but it wasn’t the first time…haha.

1 Like

“Huckleberries” passed out in Portland Oregon are more likely to be from the nearby mountains: thinleaf huckleberry, etc. Local evergreen hucks are very dark (blackish), very small, and have a relatively thick skin. Individually they are not as tasty as mountain varieties, but in a mass and baked, they can be very good.


How is your huckleberry doing this year? I’m thinking of putting them in this year. Curious how big yours got and what general shape it assumed.

Here’s views of the west and east sides of the plant. The height is about 2 feet except for one shoot sticking up 40".


Occasional pinching can control shape if more symmetry is wanted.


Thank you! Your spot looks like a full sun area. Do you prune annually or more often? Any idea how big it would get if you did not?