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How to Grow American Cranberry Bush

By Barbara Dunlap ; Updated September 21, 2017

The American cranberry bush serves a few useful purposes for the home gardener. Growing up to 12 feet tall, this bush works well as a screen or hedge, and its berries provide bright ornamentation in fall and winter. The berries are also there for the picking, and they make scrumptious jellies and jams.

Plant cranberry bushes during spring or fall in an area that gets full sun to partial shade. These bushes do well in hardiness zones 2 to 7.

Dig holes at least 5 feet apart. Make each hole about three times the width of the root ball and just deep enough so the top of the root ball is level with the ground. Put in the plant, water it, refill the hole with soil and water again.

Keep the soil moist, but don't overwater it. Put a 2- or 3--inch layer of mulch around the plants to hold the moisture and prevent weeds.

Prune large branches from cranberry bushes after they flower—this will keep them from getting leggy.


Things You Will Need

  • Compost


  • If your soil contains a lot of clay and doesn't drain well, amend it with compost before you plant your cranberry bushes.

About the Author


Barbara Dunlap is a freelance writer in Oregon. She was a garden editor at "The San Francisco Chronicle" and she currently specializes in travel and active lifestyle topics like golf and fitness. She received a master's degree from the University of Missouri-Columbia and has been a Knight Foundation Fellow.