i assume you mean Vaccinium myrtillus? with Bilberries. And Vaccinium corymbosum with blueberry.
Here we call them bosbes (forrest berry) they grown “wild” here on acidic soil. Anyone that claims alkaline soil is full of it or un-knowledgable. They grow mostly in semi shade here. Although if also seen them in almost full shade under broad leaved tree’s. and some times between higher heath growth.
-Vaccinium myrtillus grows lower compared to Vaccinium corymbosum (~50cm max height (20") vs 150cm (60")
-both like acidic soil. Vaccinium myrtillus grows on poor soil. So don’t over fertilise Vaccinium myrtillus mostly grows from new shoots/roots (vegatative propegation) i don’t know how long it takes from seeds but i would expect 2+ years. Vaccinium myrtillus likes semi-full shade here. where Vaccinium corymbosum seems to do great in full sun. Vaccinium myrtillus grows in bogs here. But also on sandy nutrient poor soils. On the dryer sandy soils i see them in more shady spots. So maybe they can tolerate more sun when watered more often. But i would not worry about giving them the sunniest spot in the garden. Just give them a nutrient poor acidic soil spot, preferably half shade.
gives an excelent discription of this wild plant. Google translate works fine. Except from the soil/enviroment graph.
voedselrijkdom. Is how nutrient rich the soil is. (1=poor, 9=nutrient rich)
zuurgraad. is how acidic the soil is)
vocht. how much moisture there is.
You can see they prefer nutrient poor acidic soil.
There have been attempts over the years to adapt the whole huckleberry spectrum of species to average lowland urban gardening methods; there is still not a variety commonly available at nurseries here that is straightforward to grow.
I have lots of derrberry here… perhaps a southern cousin ? Vaccinium stamineum.
They grow all along the edges of my fields.
Very pretty blossoms… berries ripen mid July into August…but they are quite bland. Birds and chipmonks love them… and i have to bag them if I get any… but chipmonks will chew thru bags to get them.
Here they are simply known as “blåbær” or blueberries … When americans and other talk about blueberries, they are mostly talking about those large, bland tasting plants with translucent/white flesh. I never eat those, a waste of time …
The “real” blueberries though, what you refer to as Bilberries, an absolute delicacy! … Here they grow all over the place - could probably pick a couple of kilos (4 pounds) in an hour in august, around my house. …
But, if you are looking for the absolute top of them all - the un-challenged master, it is the cloudberries. Holey moley, what a taste experience!!! … (rubus chamaemorus)… I believe those are even more difficult to grow than the bilberries though …
Maine is known for its wild blueberries. hands down better tasting than the bigger commercial varieties, but they are small and tedious to pick a large amount… as a child the family used to spend the morning picking them beside the bears in august. i have a cultivar of lowbush blueberry called Brunswick that i grow under my highbush blues. like the wild ones they spread by rhizomes over time. berries are about the size of a pea. i mix them with my highbush ones when i pick them. very tasty. the few bilberries ive had taste very similar but are nearly black all the way through and the shape is different from blueberries. they dont grow as thick as a blueberry does.
They are very hard to grow. You have to recreate a bog I believe - I’ve never tried. … they fruit first time after 4-5 years … so, you have to have dedication! The seeds you got may have been bad. I’ve bought so many seeds online and had so much trouble germinating. Then, getting from different source, and getting like 99% germination rate
Its hard for me to imagine a Rubus lf any kind being hard to grow. Sounds like this one is pretty fickle. Google seems to indicate that they tend to grow on moorlands. Im imagining conditions not much different that cranberry and perhaps lingonberry being conducive. Perhaps part of the challenge is in growing them at scale.
Here, we have a fair bit of swamp dewberry, Rubus hispidus, that might be sort of an ecological analog. It grows in both wet and dry places actually, which is a not uncommon thing among wetland plants, Ive noticed. It makes sense of you think of their niche in terms of stress tolerance rather than preference. Id think there were a term or shorthand for this principle, though I not been able to locate it if so.
In any case, Id love to try some cloudberries sometime. I generally like to at least try almost any fruit, but The way you describe them adds significant intrigue.
Im recalling that the orange Rubus I was thinking of in Alaska and the PNW is salmonberry- Rubus spectabilis
i grew thimbleberry and salmon berry i bought from rolling rivers nursery. i didnt care for them and they weren’t very productive anyway. im not a fussy person either. maybe they need to be grown in their native soils to taste their best.