The Evergreen Huckleberry is a small, evergreen shrub with edible berries. The berries are delicious with a sweet flavor, firm texture and deep blue/black color. Huckleberries are highly prized for both fresh eating and cooking/preserving. The purple/black berries are high in vitamins A, B, and C. They are also rich in antioxidants and can help improve blood circulation.
The Evergreen Huckleberry is often overlooked by home gardeners but it has many attractive qualities. It is an erect, and bushy shrub that holds its dark, shiny green leaves year round. The plant holds dense clusters of the dark berries well into winter. In late spring they produce dense clusters of creamy pink, urn shaped flowers that are very attractive. The Evergreen Huckleberry will grow well with rhododendrons and conifers like the California Foothill Pine. Consider growing it with some of our edible ferns like the Ostrich Fern or the Spreading Wood Fern. They are also often found growing with Thimbleberries in the wild.
Environment and Culture
The Evergreen Huckleberry is found in clearings and on the margins of evergreen forests from the western slopes of the Cascades to the Pacific Ocean. Their berries were highly favored by many Native Americans. They are also popular with many species of birds especially in winter when food is more scarce and the berries are still on the plant.
Harvest, Care, and Preparation
Like their relative the blueberry, the Evergreen Huckleberry needs acidic, well drained soil and full sun in order to achieve the best harvests. However these unfussy plants can also occupy many wetter, shadier niches that others cannot. The berries are very firm and will stay on the vine into December; thus, they can be eaten fresh from late July into the middle of winter. The plants are known to have high yields under good conditions. If you have a large bird population and want to save some for yourself the plants can be covered with netting to keep the birds from eating all the berries. The Huckleberry is extremely versatile and can be used raw in salads, cooked into preserves and compotes, dried and added to granolas and trail mix, and if you have enough, Huckleberry pie!
Native Range: CA, OR, WA, BC
USDA zones: 7-9
Ease of Care: Moderate
Deer Resistance: Moderate
Light Requirements: Any
Soil Type: Any, but will grow best in acidic, well drained soils.
Water Requirements: Drought tolerant after establishment