Cranberries for Backyard Growers
You may be surprised to learn that you don’t need a large-scale commercial farm or a bog to grow cranberries. But it is important to choose a high-performing cultivar, and that’s where Stevens Cranberry (Vaccinium macrocarpon ‘Stevens’) hits the top of the list. Bred specifically by the USDA for its prolific production of large cranberries plus disease resistance, Stevens Cranberry is a wonderful addition to any edible garden!
Bred Specifically for These Outstanding Features
1. Large berries. Some fruiting plants that are bred for large harvests actually sacrifice fruit size for quantity, but this isn’t the case with Stevens Cranberry. Plants are covered with large, flavorful berries.
2. Disease resistance. If you’re reluctant to spray pesticides on edible crops, you won’t have to do this with Stevens Cranberry because it’s resistant to disease.
3. Low chill requirement. Many fruit-bearing plants can only produce fruit after a certain number of “chill hours” -- cold temperatures that prompt the plants to begin flowering, which eventually produces the fruit. Stevens Cranberry is bred to require a low chill-hour requirement, so even gardeners in warmer climates can successfully grow cranberries.
Edible Meets Ornamental
Stevens Cranberry is a cultivar of our native cranberry plant that produces masses of healthy red berries packed with nutrients. But it’s also a beautifully ornamental plant because of its pinkish-white flowers and evergreen leaves. Incorporate Stevens Cranberry in your landscape design as a sprawling groundcover or border plant.
Some Cranberry Growing Tips
If you’ve never grown cranberries, follow these simple cultural guidelines:
• Sun. A site with full to partial sun is best.
• Soil. Although you don’t need a bog garden to grow Stevens Cranberry, plants prosper in acidic soils (pH 4.9-5.5) that are richly amended with organic matter, such as compost.
• Water. Keep the soil moist to enhance this plant’s performance.
• Fertilizer. Your local Cooperative Extension Office can analyze a soil sample and advise you on the best fertilizer to add to your garden soil. They can also let you know how to adjust your soil’s pH, if needed, to stay within the preferred acidic range for growing Stevens Cranberry.
Some fruit-bearing plants must have another plant nearby for good cross-pollination, but one Stevens Cranberry plant will produce berries on its own. If you plant more than one plant, however, plants will benefit from cross-pollination resulting in higher yields, which means more cranberries for snacking or making traditional cranberry sauce. Stevens Cranberry plants have larger fruits than other varieties -- you’ll enjoy 50-65 berries per cup!