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How to Plant & Care for Huckleberry Bushes

By Ma Wen Jie ; Updated September 21, 2017
Huckleberries look similar to blueberries, but have a completely different flavor.
Bush of a bilberry image by Maslov Dmitry from Fotolia.com

Huckleberry bushes are berry bushes that grow to about the size of a bell pepper plant. Huckleberries are suitable for cultivation in the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Hardiness Zones 3 through 7. Huckleberry bushes grow well in full sun but are also tolerant of moderate shade. Huckleberries are green when immature and black when mature. Huckleberries have a flavor similar to a bitter tomato and are often made into sweet pies and jams. Because huckleberries are native to many parts of the country, such as the Pacific Northwest, you can sometimes use wild huckleberry patches as a source of bushes for your patch.

Prepare your huckleberry patch in the spring after the risk of frost has passed. Prepare the soil by turning over 12 to 18 inches of soil with a shovel.

Add a 2 inches of compost to the turned soil and work the compost into the soil as you break up soil clumps. Break up the soil with your shovel and with a hoe. As the soil breaks up, use the rake to reduce the larger clumps down to the size of a pea.

Dig holes 18 to 24 inches apart for your bushes. If you are planting nursery stock, dig the holes a uniform size slightly larger than the root balls of the huckleberry bushes. If you are transplanting wild or donor bushes from a friend’s patch, dig the holes to match the actual size of the root balls.

Plant your huckleberry plants in the holes and mulch the patch to discourage weed growth and to help hold moisture in the soil.

Water your patch thoroughly. Water the plants with a couple of inches a week and care for them like tomatoes or peppers until established. Keep the soil moist but not soggy.


Things You Will Need

  • Shovel
  • Compost
  • Hoe
  • Rake
  • Potted or nursery huckleberry bushes
  • Mulch


  • Huckleberries grow well in sandy or rocky soil and prefer soils with a high pH level.

About the Author


Although he grew up in Latin America, Mr. Ma is a writer based in Denver. He has been writing since 1987 and has written for NPR, AP, Boeing, Ford New Holland, Microsoft, RAHCO International, Umax Data Systems and other manufacturers in Taiwan. He studied creative writing at Mankato State University in Minnesota. He speaks fluent Mandarin Chinese, English and reads Spanish.