How to Grow Arctostaphylos uva-ursi in your Garden

Gardener's HQ Guide to Growing Common Bearberry

Arctostaphylos uva-ursi, also known as the Bearberry, is an evergreen shrub native to Europe, Asia, and North America.

This densely-branched shrub is relatively small and typically grows from 6 to 12 inches (15 to 30 cm) tall and 3 to 15 feet (0.9 to 4.5 m) wide.

The Bearberry’s short stature and wide coverage is ideal for gardeners looking for extensive ground cover all year round.

Garden enthusiasts might also wish to drape Arctostaphylos uva-ursi over large rocks or along the edge of walls as a decorative statement.

Common bearberry
Bearberry (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi) photograph by Cliff.

The bearberry undergoes seasonal changes throughout the year. In spring, the dark green foliage is contrasted with clusters of white-to-pink flowers that add a burst of colour.

Edible, green fruits appear in the summer months, and ripen to red in the autumn / fall.

The berry-like fruits can often remain on the shrub throughout the winter and are complemented by bronze coloured leaves.

This shrub is an excellent choice for gardeners living in cooler climates because of its ability to withstand frigid temperatures.

Gardener's HQ Guide to Growing Bearberry

The Bearberry shrub grows best in well-drained rocky or sandy soil. Poorly drained soils can make this plant more susceptible to certain conditions, such as black mildew and root rot.

Although a rich, fertile soil is not required, it is important that this shrub grows in an acidic soil with a pH level between 4.5 and 5.5.

The bearberry thrives best in direct sunlight and in cool alpine regions.

Because Arctostaphylos uva-ursi is tolerant of salty conditions, it makes them a smart option for gardens near the coast.

The bearberry is a low aintenance plant and does not require any pruning.

Arctostaphylos uva-ursi Growing and Care Guide

  • Scientific Name: Arctostaphylos uva-ursi
  • Common Name: Common bearberry
  • Growing Zone: USA: 2 to 6
  • Life Cycle / Plant Type: Groundcover

Plant Details

  • Plant Height (Inches): 11 to 24
  • Plant Spread (Inches): 60 to 120
  • Time of Bloom: Early spring to early summer
  • Flower Details: Pink, White
  • Leaf Foliage: Green
  • Fruit:
  • Growth Form: Prostrate, Spreading or horizontal

Ideal Growing Conditions

  • Best Light Conditions: Partially shady to full sunlight
  • Rate of Growth: Grows slowly
  • Suitable Soil Types: Acidic, Loamy, Neutral, Sandy, Slightly alkaline, Well drained
  • Soil Moisture: Moist

Caring Conditions

  • Care:
  • Level of Maintenance: Low
  • Propagation: Semi-ripe cuttings in summer or layer in autumn
  • How to Prune: No pruning needed
  • Pests: Usually pest free
  • Diseases: Prone to a leaf spot

Further Information

  • Can Attract: Birds
  • Tolerant of: Erosion
  • Best Garden Use: In the control of erosion, Ground cover, En masse , Rock garden, Seashore
  • Family: Ericaceae (heather)
  • Closely Related Species: Blueberry, Cranberry, Erica, Calluna.

  • Miscellaneous: Entices birdlife to the garden, North American native, Inconspicuous flowers or blooms
  • Genus Detail: Arctostaphylos
  • Further Reading and References: Here and Here

I hope that you enjoyed this guide on how to grow Arctostaphylos uva-ursi. You may also enjoy the following growing guides: How to grow False heather and Gaultheria procumbens.