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Position – Part shade or full shade
Soil – Moist, well-drained
Flowering Period – Summer and autumn
Hardiness – Fully hardy
Gaultheria or the more commonly known ‘Checkberry plant’ are evergreen shrubs, native to East and Northern America. They are perfect for year-long interest, quickly covering areas of bare soil and acting as a natural weed suppressant. Simple, leathery leaves are showcased beneath delicate bell-shaped flowers followed by fleshy fruits that showcase various colours. Gaultheria are best located in rock gardens or as container plants. You should expect to see Gaultheria grow to an approximate height and spread of 30-50cm (12-20”). Please take care when handling Gaultheria, as they are highly toxic if ingested into your system.
Gaultheria are best planted in moist, well-drained soil of sand, clay and loam within an acidic or neutral PH balance. They can be planted at any time of year so long as the soil is not frozen. Dig a hole that is twice the width of the root ball and amend the planting area with blood, fish and bone, mixing thoroughly with the native soil. Place your plant in the hole and fill around the root ball firmly. Water thoroughly and deeply to settle the soil in place. Gaultheria are best positioned in an area of part or full shade as they thrive when the soil is cool and moist.
Once established, Gaultheria are easy to maintain making them a great plant for those with limited time. In particularly dry conditions, Gaultheria will need to be watered regularly to retain moisture levels in the soil. In the first two years of growth, feed Gaultheria with blood, fish and bone in the spring. Once they have matured they should not require additional feed if they are planted in suitable conditions. Pruning is not required for the first 3 years of growth – this is only necessary when the plant is better established.
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