Growing Cranberries at Home in Beds or Containers

Updated on February 3, 2013
Marye Audet profile image

Marye Audet-White is an internationally known food writer, food editor for Texas Living, cookbook author, and food blogger.

Growing cranberries in the home garden is fun, and pretty easy.
Growing cranberries in the home garden is fun, and pretty easy. | Source

Most home gardeners don't think about growing cranberries in their home gardens but it can be done. If you live in a region where they flourish, cranberries can be grown in beds or in containers without too much trouble.

The cranberry grows only on the continent of North America. It can be found from eastern Canada down to North Carolina and as far west as Minnesota. This evergreen plant is a great addition to your home garden.

In the wild cranberry plants grow in damp bogs and swampy areas. It is a self pollinating ground cover that grows two different ways. Runners can cause the plant to spread out as much as two feet per growing season. Upright canes grow up from the runners and produce the flowers and fruit.

Large, commercial fields of cranberries are harvested by flooding the field with water. The cranberries float on the surface and are scooped up for market. Once the cranberries are harvested the water is let out of the field.

Harvesting Cranberries

Growing Cranberries in the Home Garden

Cranberries like a moderate climate that is not too hot or cold. They do best in zones two through five but can be grown as container plants in other areas.

Start with an Acidic Soil

Growing cranberries works best in an acidic, very fertile soil because the shallow root system only grows in the top six inches or so. The soil pH should be between 4.5 and 5.0. You can get the soil tested at the local agricultural extension service or at a local nursery.

Be sure that the soil had good drainage. Soggy roots do not grow healthy plants.

Plant Cranberries in the Fall

Cranberry plants should be planted in the fall. They can be planted any time through the early part of November. In the spring try to get the cranberry plants in the ground between April 15th and May 31st.

Source

Bed Preparation and Planting

To prepare the bed fro growing cranberries you must dig a hole about eight inches deep. Line it with plastic that has holes poked into it to allow drainage. Add peat moss to fill the hole. Wet thoroughly. Continue adding peat moss and wetting it down until the hole is filled. If you have a clay soil you can leave off the plastic.

Now add the following mixture:

  • ½ part bone meal
  • 1 part rock phosphate
  • 1 part blood meal

Space year old plants one foot apart. Place the root ball so that it sits two inches below the surface of the ground level. Fill with the damp peat moss mixture. For best results keep the plants watered frequently. The soil should stay moist to the touch without being soaked. These year old plants should begin producing cranberries in about two to three years.

Growing Cranberries in Containers

You can also grow cranberries in containers but you will have to replace the plants every third year once they start producing fruit. Apply a fish emulsion at the rate of one-half gallon every month.

Tips for Homegrown Cranberries

  • Always prune the three year old uprights.
  • Add a layer of sand every two years or so.
  • Harvest before frost.
  • You can take softwood cuttings in the summer and root them for more plants.
  • For every square foot of cranberry bed you can expect to harvest about one pound of fruit.

Questions & Answers

    Comments

      0 of 8192 characters used
      Post Comment

      • profile image

        Visar Brestovci 

        11 months ago

        Ok . I have two questions. First one how to identify three year old uprights for pruning? The second is should these softwood cuttings for propagating be taken from the runners or from the uprights?

      • profile image

        Rebecca 

        6 years ago

        I'm really glad to find this, my cranberry patch here in Ketchikan, Alaska needs some rejuvenation and it's nice to see tried and true instructions :-).

      • profile image

        Cathy 

        6 years ago

        FYI - your University of Maine cranberry link is outdated.

      • profile image

        selkiebug 

        7 years ago

        Ummm... cranberries grow a LOT farther west than Minnesota! I'll be refurbishing the old bog in my back yard next year -- a few miles away from the WESTERN most point of the continental U.S. Cape Blanco, OREGON.

      • profile image

        cranguy 

        8 years ago

        I work at a cranberry marsh in warrens WI. And I would advise people to grow the berry in sand and not in soil. Also if there are cranberry grows near your area you can ask to by a few pounds of cut and bailed vines. If your planting lets say a 6 x 10 area they may just give you all the vines you need for free. All you have to do is spread them out where they are to be planted and use a strait hoe to push the cut pieces of vines into the sand so they6 stick straight up. You will also have to water them like crazy at first because you basically are cloning the vines or putting cut vines in the ground so they take root.

      • barb2082 profile image

        barb2082 

        9 years ago from Amsterdam/Chicago

        Hi Marye,

        Thanks for this hub, I'm among those people who never thought of growing Cranberries myself. So I'll give it a go, expect a new hub on cranberries next year:-) Thanks again, Barb

      • profile image

        belfast maine 

        9 years ago

        Great Hub you have here :) Please check out my Belfast Maine website would love to network!

      • profile image

        market solution 

        9 years ago

        I have never considered growing cranberries! I must admit, I am intrigued - though my success with container growing is definitely needing help. Interesting hub.

      • Jerilee Wei profile image

        Jerilee Wei 

        9 years ago from United States

        Great hub! I'll be bookmarking this one for my husband, as ke's been yakking at me for two years about growing cranberries.

      • Blackberry profile image

        Blackberry 

        9 years ago

        Nice hub.

      working

      This website uses cookies

      As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, dengarden.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

      For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://dengarden.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

      Show Details
      Necessary
      HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
      LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
      Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
      AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
      Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
      CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
      Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
      Features
      Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
      Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
      Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
      Marketing
      Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
      Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
      Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
      Statistics
      Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
      ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)