The cranberry plant, Vaccinium macrocarpon is one of the most interesting plants you can cultivate. In this article, we'll talk about how to grow cranberries as well as how to care for them.

Once grown purely for decoration, cranberries have become of one of those commercially-grown fruits out there. And, contrary to popular belief, cranberries don't only grow in bogs and swampy areas, they can be found almost anywhere in the wilderness, especially through USDA zones 2-7. But how to grow cranberries in pots…is that even possible? The answer is absolutely yes and we'll show you how to grow cranberry plants in pots, care for them, and harvest them too!

Cranberry production has been at an all time high, particularly for the production of cranberry juice. High in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals, cranberries have a slew of health benefits.

How to Grow Cranberries in Pots –  a DIY Gardening Guide

cranberries in basket

The cranberry plant is low growing, evergreen dwarf shrub that is native to North America. They are found mainly throughout the United States and Canada, and require acidic soil. The American cranberry is the most popular variety, with Massachusetts, Wisconsin, New Jersey, Oregon, and Washington, being the biggest producers of the cranberry plant.

In fact, 98% of the cranberry productions stems from the United States, Canada and Chile. Most cranberries are processed into different products such as juice, sauce, jam, and dried cranberries.

Planting Cranberry Plants in Pots:

  • Be sure to have a large enough pot with good drainage holes. Cranberries don't have deep roots, but they do require a wider pot such as a through style planter or a window box.
  • Choose soil that is acidic, with a pH of 4.5-5.0
  • In the wild, cranberry plants spread prolifically by runners. Their flowers and fruit will grow in upright canes once the plants are 3 years old, but the canes will dye off after a year, with new canes shooting up as they take root.
  • Unfortunately, in a potted situation, this will not happen, so you will need to replant your cranberry plant every few years.
  • Choose soil that is rich in organic material and peat moss.
  • Test soil pH at least once a year in the spring.
  • A slow release acidic fertilizer can be applied in the spring to adjust the pH.

Cranberry Plant Care:

cranberries in pots

  • Soil should be consistently moist.
  • Think about using self-watering containers as this would almost mimic a bog-like environment.
  • Be sure to remove all weeds around the cranberry plant.
  • Water daily, especially during the first few weeks while seedlings are growing. Once seedlings are established, water every 2 days. Make sure soil is moist but never water logged.
  • Every three to four weeks, fertilize your cranberry plants using a slow release fertilizer. Thereafter, follow up with a balanced liquid fertilizer to encourage growth.
  • In the winter, apply a thick layer of mulch to protect the cranberry plants from frost, snow, and cold.

How to Harvest Cranberries:

  • Cranberries are usually ready for harvest in the fall. For most cranberry plants, harvesting is only possible during the second year.
  • You'll know they're ripe for picking because they'll turn from green to red.
  • This will usually happen from September to late November, depending on when original planting was done.
  • To finish off the harvest, cranberries only need to be dried.

So now that you know how to grow cranberries in pots, it's time to roll up your sleeves and get to planting!

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