American Cranberry (Viburnum trilobum ‘Wentworth’)
American Cranberrybush (Viburnum trilobum) is a deciduous shrub that (although not related to the true cranberry commercially grown for food), provides both ornamental interest and an edible harvest. Choose one as a specimen plant or use several as they’re also effective in small masses and borders.
American Cranberrybush has a spreading nature with dense foliage and a rounded habit. Your American Cranberrybush (also known as Highbush Cranberry), has a lot to offer. Round, flat flowerheads (consisting of tiny, white florets), and many pollinators, will adorn your Cranberrybush in spring. What a delightful herald to the upcoming summer season!
The flowers later give way to clusters of red berries that decoratively dangle from the bush in autumn. The lobed, dark green leaves are reminiscent of maple leaves and contribute to the American Cranberrybush’s full, vibrant appearance. A purplish-red fall color completes this remarkable shrub’s list of sterling attributes.
The red berries are edible directly from the bush (but very tart and acidic) and are often used in jams and jellies. They are also a particular draw for your yard’s birds, as the berries tend to cling to the bush through the winter months. With optimal conditions, it can live up to 40 years! Even though birds and other wildlife will enjoy the dense foliage and fruit of your American Cranberry, more destructive wildlife, such as deer, tend to leave it alone.
Amazing flowers for pollinators, edible fruit for you and birds, and 3-season foliage color make the American Cranberrybush a truly remarkable shrub for the home landscape! Easy to care for, it has a multi-stemmed, upright spreading habit, and fills out right to the ground, so you won’t need to couple it with facer plants.
Add as a specimen to light up your home, or soften a corner planting and enliven your home’s foundation. Create a row of privacy between your front yard and the street, or as a screening division along your side and backyard to create garden rooms and seclusion. Create hedgerows and shelterbelts with these larger shrubs while slowing wind and drifting snow!
American Cranberrybush Viburnum prefers well-drained soils with more moisture than average but is a relatively hardy shrub overall. It will do well in both full sun or part shade, or even full shade (but you’ll have fewer flowers and fruit in full shade). Water regularly to establish, but after these are resilient fruiting shrubs that can be drought tolerant, you’ll have stronger growth and more fruiting when watering during summer and drought. Mulch the root system well with 3-4 inches of arborist bark chips, but be mindful not to allow them to pile up against the trunk.
Wait to prune until after those amazing flowers are finished in spring. It’s rare to need to tip prune, but you can shorten up the ends of branches right after flowering if you’d like. You can also skip tip pruning and renewal prune only if you wish to have fruit for birds. Renewal prune removes the largest, thickest stems from the ground every few years. This will rejuvenate your shrub. Leave the young stems in place, which will flower nicely for you next spring.
Overall, the American Cranberrybush is an exceptional choice for a hardy shrub that presents ornamental interest, as well as provides a tasty fall treat for both yourself and your feathered friends.
|Common name||American Cranberry|
|Botanical name||Viburnum trilobum 'Wentworth'|
|Plant type||Fruit Trees, Bushes|
|Hardiness zone||2-7 outdoors|