Lingonberry growers - how are they doing?

A bunch of us got some lingonberries through the Hartmann buys the last few years and I think many of those getting them were in areas outside the preferred cooler zones they supposedly need. I’m curious how other people’s plants have done. Some of mine have failed (I’m looking at you Red Sunset), but others are doing surprisingly well. I had 2 of 4 survive from the first planting in 2022, added another 12 this year, and now have a total of 8 still surviving with a few seeming to do pretty well. I’ve definitely learned to make sure to keep them well-watered since they are pretty shallow rooted and of course they need acidic soil, but otherwise some seemed to die quickly while others are growing and even spreading.

So below is what mine look like. How are other people’s plants doing? What have you learned? Any reports from old hands? Or anything from @figjamjar, @lordkiwi, @disc4tw and any others who got them from Hartmanns this year.

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I bought a single Lingonberry plant quite a few years ago, and it has grown like a weed ever since in this cool Pacific Northwest climate. I don’t find the fruit to be very good; so, I’ve used the plant as an evergreen ground cover among some Azalea and Hardy Fuchsia flowers.

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In the winter of 2020, in Zone 8A North Georgia, I planted a couple dozen plants total of Balsgard, Erntesegen, Red Pearl, Red Sunset, and Red Candy in a dappled-sun area in acidic soil (where blueberries grow like weeds) dressed with peat moss. It was about as perfect of a location as I felt I could make for them.

They put on new growth and several of them even flowered.

Once the summer heat came along, they started declining, and by the end of the first season, they were all dead. I gave up on lingonberries after that.

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i got 3 different varieties from Hartmann’s 6 years ago. like my arctic raspberries, grew and spread well but barely any fruit. they are growing around my mid and highbush blueberries that pump out huge amounts of fruit. don’t get it. they have spread to cover most of a 4’ x 8’ bed of peat and compost. probably got a small handful of fruit from them in 6 years. not many flowers but the ones that showed up developed fruit. not a fan of the taste but maybe better as a jam. if i could get enough, id try that.

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Ive had one for years planted in my blueberry bed, it flowers and looks healthy but doesn’t spread well. My berry beds are terraced into a hillside so could probably use more water. My dreams of a bountiful harvest of lingonberries need to be rethought. I might have try growing cranberries instead-though $15 buys a lot of local grown cranberries, and probably would buy only one bush.

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I think I purchased a total of ~19 lingonberries and I counted 7 that I think are alive. None have really taken off, about half were planted 2 years ago and half were planted this summer with the Hartmann order. All planted in my blueberry bed – I have soaker hoses for irrigation but I suspect the pH could be more fine-tuned (and I think on some of the hotter days this past summer I could have been better about the irrigation).

edit: Seeing Ziggy made me feel better about my lingonberry success rate.

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Mine that have been in ground are doing pretty well. I threw down a few inches of pine mulch last year and a layer of sphagnum moss (removed from treatment wetlands at work) and they seem to be doing decently in that setup.

Yesterday I planted a bunch more along the outside of a privacy fence on the west side, at the top of a retaining wall I built. I plan to irrigate that area with rain barrels. Red Sunset definitely had some casualties for me @zendog. I’m guessing lack of care/watering was a primary factor. They seem to really like moist conditions.

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I have a potted lingonberry plant that I got at a nursery in Mt. Shasta, CA. I haven’t had a whole year yet but it did flower several times, no fruit. I only have one plant. The tag said ‘Red Lingonberry”.

Make lingonberry butter for Swedish pancakes, yum. I believe it’s just a mix of lingonberry jam, butter and sugar.

if i ever get enough, i will try that.

I believe you need two varieties to make fruit. Maybe some are self fertile? I can’t remember right now. My daughter ate all the fruit we had on one little bush before any of it was ripe, so it has to be ok right?

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I saw this online:
“Lingonberries are self pollinating but you will get larger fruit, and it will ripen earlier, if more than one variety is selected. Plant in the spring as soon as the soil has dried out enough to be worked without compacting the soil. Plants should be spaced about 12 inches apart in rows spaced 3 to 4 feet apart.”

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I’m not even sure what kind I have because it just said red lingonberry on the tag.

@DragonflyLane That is an interesting blurb, but I have definitely seen conflicting reports of that as well. I think blurbs like this basically get rewritten and used on many sites and become commonly accepted even if not accurate, which is unfortunate.

It seems a lot more complicated than that blurb suggests. If you want to take a deep dive, you can read some of the research such as this article:
https://scholarworks.alaska.edu/handle/11122/6798

I remember looking through it before and just looked at it again and it seems like self-pollination is unlikely. There are various issues related to the structure of the flowers, but it also seems that it is a timing issue. “In V. vitis- idaea, the flower morphology is more conducive to cross-pollination because the anther-stigma timing prevents selfing (Jacquemart 1997).” They also tested vibrating the flowers to have them release pollen and didn’t find it led to pollination.

Now I don’t know if there are some cultivars that will self-pollinate, but it does seem like having multiple varieties is a good idea or you risk getting no fruit.