Learn About Lingonberries

How to Sow

Lingonberry: Potted Fruit Plant

How to Plant

Planting Potted Plants:

  • Choose a location in full sun with well-drained, very acidic soil with a pH of 4.2-5.2. If your pH is higher, add garden sulfur according to package directions starting in the fall. Do not change the pH of your soil more than ½ of a point each year. Lingonberries may also be grown in a raised bed to improve drainage.
  • Space plants 12-18 inches between plants and 4-5 feet between rows. Plants will fill in like strawberries.
  • Prepare the bed by turning the soil under to a depth of 6-12 inches removing any debris, and lightly raking as level as possible.
  • The addition of organic matter (leaf mold, compost, well-rotted manure) benefits all gardens and is essential in recently constructed neighborhoods.
  • Dig a hole at least 2 times the size of the root ball.
  • Set the plant in the hole so that the root ball is level with the surrounding soil, backfill and press the soil firmly into the hole cavity.
  • Water deeply. The water will seal off any air pockets around the root ball.
  • Use a stick or marker to indicate where the plant is planted.
  • Mulch with 4-6 inches of mulch to retain moisture and keep down the weeds.

How to Grow

  • Keep weeds under control during the growing season. Weeds compete with plants for water, space and nutrients. Control them by either cultivating often or use a mulch to prevent their seeds from germinating.
  • Keep plants well-watered during the growing season, especially during dry spells. Plants need about 1-2 inches of rain per week during the growing season. It's best to water with a drip or trickle system that delivers water at low pressure at the soil level. If you water with overhead sprinklers, water early in the day so the foliage has time to dry off before evening, to minimize disease problems. Keep the soil moist but not saturated.
  • Do not fertilize newly planted bushes. An acid organic fertilizer may worked into the soil in early spring.
  • Remove flowers the first year to strengthen plants.
  • Do not prune the first five years except to remove dead branches
  • Lingonberries generally do not have to be pruned, but after year 6 cut back all but 6-8 of the most vigorous canes in early spring to keep the plant vigorous.
  • Do not water as frequently after early September unless the soil is very dry.
  • Mulch after the ground freezes in fall to prevent root damage from alternating freezing and thawing.
  • Lingonberrries produce flowers in the spring with a second flowering in the summer.

Growing tips

Harvest and Preserving Tips

  • Two harvests are possible for lingonberries: one late summer and again in early fall.
  • Cover bushes with bird netting as fruit ripens. Netting should not touch the berries.
  • Hand-pick berries that are firm and fully red. Berries tend to ripen over several weeks
  • Cool fruit promptly after harvesting and store between 32 - 40 degrees F.
  • Lingonberries freeze well for later use. Freeze them in a single layer on a cookie sheet, and when they are frozen store them frozen in zip lock bags.
  • Fruit may remain on the vines for several weeks without deteriorating.
  • For the best taste harvest after first frost.

Common Pests and Problems

Bacterial Leaf Spot: First signs are small translucent spots with a broad yellowish edge that slowly enlarge and become angular or irregularly circular with a reddish center. It thrives in cooler temperatures. The disease may also affect and disfigure flower heads. Burpee Recommends: Remove infected plants. Avoid overhead watering. Do not work around plants when they are wet.

Botrytis: This fungus causes a grey mold on flowers, leaves, stems and buds. It thrives in cool wet weather conditions. Burpee Recommends: Remove affected plant parts, avoid watering at night and getting water on the plant when watering. Make sure plants have good air circulation. Contact your Cooperative Extension Service for fungicide recommendations.

Common Pest and Cultural Problems

Aphids: Greenish, red, black or peach colored sucking insects that can spread disease as they feed on the undersides of leaves. They leave a sticky residue on foliage that attracts ants. Burpee Recommends: Introduce or attract natural predators into your garden such as lady beetles and wasps who feed on aphids. You can also wash them off with a strong spray, or use an insecticidal soap.

Armyworm: Holes in leaves can be singular or clumped together. Leaves can become skeletonized. Egg clusters may be evident on foliage with a cottony or fuzzy appearance. Young larvae are pale green and adults are darker with a light line along the side and pink underside. Burpee Recommends: Introduce natural enemies to the area.

Mealybugs: Mealybugs are 1/8 to ¼ inch long flat wingless insects that secrete a white powder that forms a waxy shell that protects them. They form cottony looking masses on stems, branches and leaves. They suck the juices from leaves and stems and cause weak growth. They also attract ants with the honeydew they excrete, and the honeydew can grow a black sooty mold on it as well. Burpee Recommends: Wash affected plant parts and try to rub the bugs off. They may also be controlled by predator insects such as lacewings, ladybugs and parasitic wasps. Check with your Cooperative Extension Service for pesticide recommendations.

Whitefly: These are small white flying insects that often rise up in a cloud when plants are disturbed or brushed against. Burpee Recommends: They are difficult to control without chemicals. Try hot pepper wax or insecticidal soap. Check with your Cooperative Extension Service for pesticide recommendations.

FAQ

How long with the fruit last in the refrigerator? Lingonberries can last 8 to 12 weeks in the refrigerator, and several years in the freezer.

Do I need two varieties to get fruit? No, they are self-pollinating so you only need one plant to get fruit.

The new growth is covered with fine hairs do I need to worry about this?  No, it is normal for the new growth to be covered with fine hairs.

What does a Lingonberry taste like?  Lingonberries have a tart taste similar to cranberries but are sweeter. They may be used like cranberries.

Can I plant lingonberry plants in the same bed as my blueberries? Yes, they both need the same conditions and lingonberries make a wonderful groundcover.

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