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Native Plant of the Week - American Wintergreen

Updated: Mar 8, 2022

Family: Ericaceae

Name: Gaultheria procumbens - American Wintergreen

Bloom Time: June-August

Soil Condition: dry-moist, well drained, organically rich, acidic

Light: Partial Shade, Shade

Height: 3-6”

Native Range: Eastern North America including Long Island

Flowers: white bell shaped, sometimes blush

Gaultheria procumbens is a lovely evergreen ground cover that spreads by underground roots for shady spots. New foliage growth is a lovely shade of cranberry red. The flowers are adorable in early summer and are a magnet for bumble bees. Foliage is a lovely purplish-burgundy mixed with the shiny fragrant green leaves in the fall. Bright red berries in the late fall, usually persist through the winter if not eaten by the birds or small mammals. Wintergreen is tolerant of clay soils.

Maintenance: Space plants 10-14” apart as a ground cover. Collect fruit in the fall if you want to collect the seeds.

Benefits: Berries have a wintergreen mint flavor and may be eaten raw or added to salads and pastries. The foliage is also fragrant and the oil is used for flavoring gum and medicine. Great for dry shade under Oaks. Nectar source.

Companion Plants: mixes well with most partial shade/shade loving plants liking the same conditions.



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