Given the fact that they are quite useful, bilberry plants are surprising not well-known by many. You not only can enjoy the fruits fresh and use them in jams and pies, you can consume them for medicinal purposes. Bilberries contain chemicals called anthocyanosides, which according to the University of Maryland Medical Center, have excellent antioxidant properties. These antioxidant properties help prevent many illnesses, such as cancer, macular degeneration of the eye and heart disease and help treat other illnesses, such as diabetes and diarrhea. Bilberry plants are relatives of the blueberry, huckleberry and cranberry plants, but are much more difficult to find.
Wait until spring. That is when bilberry plants are usually available from those nurseries that sell them. It is also when bilberry plants are best planted.
Call around to your local nurseries. Bilberry plants are not widely sold, so save time and call before visiting in person. If they do not have any, ask them who may carry this rare small fruit. They may be able to point you in the right direction.
Decide how many bilberry plants to buy. For example, the eagle bilberry plant yields up to 4 pounds of fruit, so if you want to harvest about 20 pounds of bilberries, buy at least five plants.
Buy a bilberry plant that appears to be in good health. Depending on the variety of bilberry, they will all look slightly different, but choose one that is green and does not have damaged or diseased limbs. Also, look for any signs of insect damage such as holes or spots on the leaves. Avoid these plants.
Purchase your bilberry plant online if you can’t find one in person. Most online nurseries do not sell bilberry plants, but a few, such as One Green World and Hartmann’s Plant Company, do. If they are not available at the time you are searching, send them an email and ask when they will be available. In addition, look into whether they have a guarantee that comes with their plants. This may help you choose which nursery to do business with.
- It may be easier to find bilberry seeds to purchase than plants. Start seeds indoors about 2 months before the last frost and transplant them in pots or outdoors
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