Very Berry Wintergreen for Pot Sales
Answered by: Conrad Richter
Question from: Sandra Salmins
Posted on: March 10, 2008

I am interested in growing wintergreen (Very Berry) on a small scale for 2008 holiday pot sales. I have a small greenhouse so I can keep them in condition through Sept, Oct, Nov, Dec. However, I know nothing of growing wintergreen in pots; have only found them in the forest, beautiful and lovely and deliciously fragrant!

So -- questions would include all growing info such as (but not limited to):

When to seed (i.e. for Nov/Dec pot sales), optimal soil temperature to germinate, any special seed pre-treatment needed (e.g. scarification, soaking) , anticipated time to germination, general soil requirements, any special nutrient needs (I generally use fish emulsion for feeding), how long to grow to pot saleability, plant in final container or transplant, what size should final pot be, is any pruning necessary, if so, what/how?

I imagine you are quite busy with questions at this time -- I eagerly look forward to your answer(s) and if it looks feasible for me to do as a trial this year, I shall order the seeds!

‘Very Berry’ wintergreen germinates best at 18-20C (64-68F). After germination, the temperature is reduced slightly to 16-18C (61-64F). It is a slow crop: the time from the sowing date to usable plugs is 10-14 weeks, and the time to finish is 42-46 weeks. Flowering and fruiting occur in August and September. According to the breeder, the practical sales window for pot plants extends to January because the fruits persist on the plants for months.

Our tests show that ‘Very Berry’ does not need any special treatment to stimulate germination. We are getting good germination in 30 days in normal seed boxes at ambient greenhouse temperatures.

Pruning is probably not required because the plant is naturally dwarf. It does not exceed 20 cm (8 inches).

Wintergreen requires acidic soil conditions: you need to maintain a pH between 4 and 4.5. The low pH is not needed for germination, but is needed for later growth.

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