Bilberry – Growing It in Zone 8 to 10
Answered by: Inge Poot
Question from: Greg Bermel
Posted on: November 24, 1998

I just ordered some bilberry seeds from Richters and I would like to ask if there are any helpful hints on growing this herb in southern California, USA. I realize it requires cool summers. So would it be better to grow them indoors, near the ocean??

Bilberry is rated to grow in zones 2 to 7, although some authors rate it only hardy in zones 5 to 7. Southern California ranges through zones 8 to 10 and will give you trouble both summer and winter. In the summer you might keep the plant cool enough by placing it near the ocean in a slightly shady spot or in the air-conditioned house in a sunny window. In the winter you will need at least a month of temperatures close to freezing. I am not sure how you can get that. In any case the plant will have to remain a pot plant, so that you can move it into the appropriate spots.

Be sure to plant the seeds/plant in a peat based mix to keep it sufficiently acid and moist. When watering, use distilled or rain water to prevent the mix from turning alkaline.

A heavy mulch of pine needles or similar acid material will keep the roots cooler.

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