Salal Berry is an ornamental evergreen groundcover with beautiful bell-shaped blossoms and tasty blue-black fruits. The berries are sweet and juicy when ripe and have an excellent flavor. They can be eaten fresh or made into preserves. Native Americans mashed the berries into cakes and then dried and stored them for winter food. The dark berries are loaded with antioxidants, flavinoids and vitamin C.
Salal is highly valued as an ornamental plant and its evergreen foliage is popular in bouquet arrangements. Because Salal is an evergreen and grows in a dense, compact habit it makes an excellent groundcover in almost any PNW landscape. The spring flowers are delicate bell shaped blossoms that range from white to pink, they contrast beautifully with the rougher foliage. They make an excellent evergreen groundcover that is not as invasive as blackberry and much friendlier to harvest berries from, edible groundcover!
Environment and Culture
Salal Berry can be found growing under conifer forest canopies from northern California up to Alaska. It thrives in damp, shady areas as well as on the edges of meadows. It grows well as an understory plant with the likes of the California Foothill Pine, Serviceberry, Oregon White Oak and more. In most PNW climates, Salal Berry is very hardy and does not need any attention beyond summer watering during its establishment.
Harvest, Care, and Preparation
Salal Berry grows quickly and needs little attention after establishment. Harvest the berries after they ripen in the fall. They can be used just like blackberries: frozen, dried, or made into preserves and compotes. This plant is truly a unique northwest native, so take advantage of its easy-to-grow nature and one of a kind taste!
Native Range: CA, OR, WA, BC
USDA zones: 5-10
Ease of Care: Easy
Deer Resistance: Moderate
Light Requirements: Any, but will produce more berries in full sun.
Soil Type: Any
Water Requirements: Dry-Wet, does not need summer watering after establishment