Highbush cranberry pollination

I’m in New Mexico and have tried for a number of years to get high bush cranberry to set fruit with no success.

I’ve planted several plants together in case they need a second plant to pollinate. They have flowered well and way after the possibility of frost but fail to set any fruit at all.

The plants I have now are at least 3-4 years old. Not sure if they need to be older.

I’m wondering if there is something about this climate in New Mexico that is preventing pollination, though I can’t imagine what. It can’t be a matter of frost damage to the flower buds because they are flowering perfectly well. These plants grow like weeds back east and fruit prolifically. Is there a very specific pollinating agent that is missing here? Is the heat or low humidity somehow preventing pollination?

Does anyone on this list live in the west and have high bush cranberries that have set fruit? Could be V, trilobum or V. opulus.

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Viburnums often fruit with age. 5 years is a minimum, I guess. Your plants are still too young.

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i agree. take 5-6 years for them to fruit here. im not a fan of them. id grow currants or gooseberry before highbush cranberry. they are in every ditch and back road where ever its wet. i leave them to the birds in winter. moose and deer will eat them over winter as well.

I appreciate your information. I’ll give them a few more years. I did have one that was older than that but never set fruit. However, it was the only plant of its kind in the area. Don’t know if they need a second one to pollinate but I’ve heard that V. prunifolium does, so maybe. Back east, of course, they are everywhere.

The taste is an acquired one and maybe then only in desperation. I like them because they are the only fruit available on plants mid winter, since the birds don’t like them. Yes, they taste funky (old gym socks, according to one person) but I do like the fresh juicy taste.


I am at a loss here. My highbush cranberry is about 10 years old. I purchased it from a well known nursery and was told it did not need a companion plant. It seems to like where it is and is growing well. It gets some underground moisture and never gets overly dry. After the snow melts it sometimes tells me if it needs extra water. It has a nice shape and even growth despite the occasional winter deer nibble. It makes lots of flowers. = no indication of ill health whatsoever. The deer thing is relatively new 3-5 years as they have been driven from their natural home by big housing developments. Due to them having nibbles on various plants during winter I was suspecting they were eating the berries but not. All berry stems remain intact, just no berries. Deer would not be so delicately picky! There would be other bite marks like my was beautiful Mock Orange. Last year I concluded the problem must be lack of pollination despite the fact there are several hummingbird families nesting nearby and the swallowtail butterflies have been all over the lilacs that are just finishing. The flowers are starting to bloom out.

I’m not sure what is missing. I’ve been seeking info as to if and how I could assist. So far, I can’t find anything but was led here and thought it might spark some ideas or more info.


Where are you located?

I finally discovered the reason why mine aren’t setting fruit. I bought them at a nursery as V. opulus but it turns out that they are the ornamental variety with large but sterile flowers. The regular species has a flat flower head with flowers on the outer perimeter. If your plant has a big round ball of flower, it’s a sterile variety.

Nevertheless, I have had trouble in the past with species plants just not setting fruit here in New Mexico. That was at 7000 ft elevation. Now I’m at 4600 and my species plants are still too young.

If you’re in the mountain west, I’d be interested to find out more about your plant and situation.

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