How Cowberry propagates
Cowberry (Vaccinium vitis-idaea L., 1753) is a shrub plant of the Ericaceae family.
This plant can be grown in particular climates and soil conditions.
In general they need a soil pH of around 4.5 – 5.5 and soils that are not heavy or poorly draining.
In addition, you must choose an area in full sun:
remember that, moreover, the roots of the cranberry are rather shallow, only about 6 cm so it is good to add organic matter such as mature manure, compost or peat moss to the soil.
As for propagation, even if blueberries produce fertile seeds, their multiplication almost never occurs by seed.
In general, multiplication by cuttings are used; this does not mean that seed propagation cannot be performed. In fact, seed propagation requires more time, patience and perseverance, as they can take anywhere from three weeks to several months to germinate.
Furthermore, as always, with the gamic propagation (by seeds) there are genetically variable seedlings while with the agamic one (cuttings, suckers, etc.) there are genetically homogeneous seedlings.
The two propagation models are therefore complementary and must be used for different purposes.
Propagation by cuttings or vegetative route –
When propagating by cuttings (or by purchasing nursery seedlings), remember that plants do not begin to bear fruit until they are 3 years old. Therefore, if you want to have immediate production, you need to start with the 3-year planting of seedlings.
In the plant, then it is necessary to know that the young seedlings should not be placed too deep, keeping the crown at ground level.
In the bare root Cowberry plant, it should be placed at the same depth as it was grown in the nursery. In pot, finally, it should be planted at the same depth as it was in the pot.
In the plant, you can choose the autumn or spring period. In spring it is good to stimulate the plant with well humified organic nitrogen (earthworm humus), taking care to keep the soil moist but without stagnation.
Finally, the best time to make the cuttings is at the end of winter with apical cuttings. The rooting time is about 40 days but it is advisable to leave them in jars until September and then transplant them into larger pots. When transplanting, be very careful not to damage the roots because they are very delicate in the first years of life
Propagate by seed –
In Cowberry seed propagation, the seed must be taken and this must be done after macerating the fruit.
This process can be done using a food processor, a blender or mashed in a bowl. Add a little water to the berries as you go along.
Once the fruit is crushed, remove the floating pulp. The seeds will sink to the bottom. It may be necessary to add water several times to completely remove the pulp.
After harvesting the blueberry bush seeds, they need to be scarified. They should be placed in damp pieces of paper and then in the freezer for 90 days. This process, which is called cold stratification, speeds up the resting period so that they are ready for planting.
After 90 days, the seeds can be used immediately or stored in the freezer until ready to plant them. Blueberry seed planting should begin in the fall in warm climates and in the spring in more northerly climates.
The seeds should be planted, if possible, in moistened sphagnum peat or similar organic material; they must be placed in seedbeds (or, if not, in trays) and covered with less than 1 cm of soil. The soil must then always be kept moist (but as usual without stagnation). Seed germination can take six to eight weeks, in some cases up to three months. Tall bush hybrid seeds germinate more unreliably than their wild low bush relatives.
The sowing area should be kept in a warm and sunny area, with about 15-21 ° C. in the absence of sunlight, a fluorescent light about 14 inches above the seedlings can be used. During the first year of planting, the seedlings reach a height of about 12-15 cm.
Once the seedlings, obtained from seed, are large enough to transplant, they should be placed in pots in the sun, kept moist. Remember to always provide well-humified organic substance.
It must be said that it may take several years for blueberries to grow from seeds before the plant produces a significant amount of fruit. However, this technique is excellent when you want to have a healthier production and increase the genetic variability of the offspring.