How to Grow Thinleaf Huckleberry

Overview

Thinleaf huckleberry is native to the United States and produces attractive purple flowers and blue, purple or black fruit. Mature trees rarely grow more than five feet in height. Thinleaf huckleberries grow from rhizomes, or underground stems, and do not transplant well from the wild. To increase the likelihood of successful establishment, it is best to grow thinleaf huckleberry from seeds.

Step 1

Start your thinleaf huckleberry from seeds by collecting berries during the fall, when they are fully ripe. Mash the berries into a pulp, and then strain the pulp with a sieve. Spread the strained pulp onto a towel to dry.

Step 2

Place the seeds in Ziploc bags and leave for three to four weeks inside your refrigerator. After this time, remove them from the refrigerator, sprinkle them onto the top of small containers of peat moss, and place them in a cool location inside your home to germinate. Alternatively, you can take huckleberry cuttings from rhizomes, cut them into 10 cm pieces, and place them in small pots until rooting occurs.

Step 3

Transplant the seedlings to larger pots or to your garden once they are 10 to 12 weeks old. Young huckleberry plants require moist, acidic, well draining soil and plenty of shade. Soil pH should be between 4.0 and 5.0. It may be necessary to secure young trees to a stake to protect them from wind damage and keep them erect in windy climates.

Step 4

Water thinleaf huckleberry frequently for the first two years to encourage root establishment. Keep the roots moist at all times, but avoid over watering to prevent root rot. Mature plants require less frequent watering. Keep foliage dry when watering.

Step 5

Fertilize your huckleberry plants in early fall or late winter. Mix organic fertilizer, such as manure, in with the soil at the base of the plants. Use a 20-20-20 fertilizer if growth is limited or fruit production is scarce.

Step 6

Prune annually to thin the plant and to remove damaged or diseased branches. You should also prune your huckleberry after harvesting berries to stimulate new growth and increase fruit production the following year.

Things You'll Need

  • Sieve
  • Ziploc bags
  • Small potting containers
  • Peat moss
  • Organic or 20-20-20 fertilizer
  • Pruning sheers

References

  • University of Idaho - Huckleberries and Bilberries
  • Gardening.eu - Thinleaf Huckleberry
  • United States Department of Agriculture - Black Huckleberry (PDF)
Keywords: how to grow thinleaf huckleberry, growing huckleberries, planting huckleberry seeds

About this Author

Sandra Ketcham is a writer with more than 15 years experience writing and editing for both print and online publications. She specializes in health, travel and parenting topics, and has articles published in regional, national and international print magazines, including "The Dollar Stretcher" and "Kraze." Ketcham is currently pursuing a degree in psychology.