Growing cranberries could be a wonderful way to enhance your home-grown Christmas dinner. But these berries are not the easiest of fruits to grow in your garden. Unless you have acid and damp, boggy soil, with a light or loamy texture. It is best to grow them in pots or containers, filled with a suitable growing medium.

Growing Cranberries

Like blueberries, cranberries are an ericaceous crop. It loves soil with a pH of below 5.5. It is far easier to create suitable conditions for growing cranberries in containers than it is to create sustainable soil conditions in your garden, if you do not already have the right conditions.

If you have suitable acidic conditions, you could consider growing cranberries alongside a garden pond, in an area that can be kept very moist or even consistently flooded. It does have to be a very water retentive spot, and it is generally better if that spot is in full sun or partial shade. You can plant in a frost pocket as the plant is frost tolerant.

If you are growing your cranberries in containers, these should not drain too freely, and should be filled with a suitable ericaceous growing medium. Your plants should be watered well and regularly with rainwater.

Cranberries are best planted out in spring, and plants should be placed, if grown in the ground, at a spacing of around 60cm between plants. Berries should be harvested from September, after the fruits are bright red and fully ripe, but ideally before they have been exposed to hard frosts. The berries will keep well on the plants, and are often harvested shortly before Christmas to enjoy with Christmas dinner.

Cranberries will be good companions for blueberries, or other acid-loving plants such as, for example, rhododendrons and azaleas. They will also be in flower for most of the summer, and as long as you maintain good conditions and moisture levels, should bear fruit for many years.

Why Grow Cranberries in the Garden?

These delicious red berries have an acid taste and are usually therefore eaten cooked or made into a range of preserves. Cranberry sauce enjoyed with Christmas dinner is perhaps the best known example, though there are a range of other recipes that you could try. These are a healthy addition to your diet and are high in antioxidants and a range of essential vitamins. In addition to growing these for food, cranberries can also be used for ground cover for awkward spots in the garden in places where conditions are favourable to their growth.