Bearberry is a small evergreen shrub native to Europe and North America; to the genus arctostaphylos several species belong, widespread in the temperate regions of the northern hemisphere, they are shrubs of various sizes, from the small ground cover, to the trees, as in the case of A. glandulosa. This ground cover plant produces long prostrate or climbing stems, from which erect stems branch, 15-20 cm high, with slow development but dense and compact; the thin stems are covered with a reddish bark, which tends to fall apart over the years. The leaves are alternate, spatula-shaped, 5-7 cm long, dark green, shiny and leathery; during the cold season they can become reddish or bronze. In spring it produces small racemes of white rose flowers, bell-shaped, similar to the flowers of the strawberry tree; in summer they are followed by bright red berries, which contain numerous seeds. These plants also develop in the wild in our country; it is easy to find some specimens in open, hilly or mountainous areas, sunny. There are some cultivars, larger than the wild plant, or with more brightly colored flowers; the leaves of arctostaphylos are used in herbal medicine.
Place the bearberry in full sunlight, or in the partial shade; these plants do not fear the winter cold, rather they can suffer during particularly hot summers, therefore it is advisable to place them in a partially shaded place during the summer months.
The arctostaphylos need regular watering, but without excess: the soil must be kept slightly damp, but not soaked with water. Pay attention to watering, especially during the summer. In autumn, bury organic fertilizer near plants, or spread a slow release granular fertilizer on the ground.
The plants of arctostaphylos uva-ursi they prefer very well-drained soils, rich in humus, with a decidedly acid ph; it is generally used in peat, mixed with little sand and with leaf mold; the ready soil for acidophilic plants is equally suitable, better if added with little sand or pumice stone. These perennials are particularly suitable for rock gardens, since the rocks give the soil better drainage, while at the same time retaining a little moisture near the ground, so that the foot of the plants is constantly cool. Arctostaphylos develop in symbiosis with nitrogen-fixing bacteria, so they can develop without problems even in poor soils.
In spring it is possible to sow the small seeds contained in the berries of Arctostaphylos uva, not before having lightly rubbed them with sandpaper and to have placed them in warm water for at least 12 hours; these plants have a fairly slow growth, so they often propagate by apical cuttings. The new plants, obtained by seed or cuttings, must be cultivated in pots for at least two years before they can be planted; during implantation, be very careful not to touch the ground bread around the delicate roots, to avoid damage that can compromise the engraftment of the plants.
Bearberry - Arctostaphylos grapes: Pests and diseases
In too calcareous soils bearberry plants can suffer from ferric chlorosis.