Berries

August 2014

Take Action August 11, 2014

Attract Birds With These Berry-Bearing Plants For Your Container Garden

Are you short on space? Do you think you don’t have the room to provide a source of antioxidant-rich berries for our feathered friends? Think again. Celebrate Urban Birds offers up this list of berry producing plants that can be grown successfully in containers. For more information on container gardening, see Celebrate Urban Birds’ Container Gardening page.

Blueberry

Vaccimium corymbosum

Blueberry-Photo by Mississippi State University Extension Service
Photo © Mississippi State University Extension Service

Blueberries grow well in containers. They must have acidic soil. They have small white flowers in spring and delicious blue/indigo berries in late summer. They grow from 5” to 10′ depending on the variety. When buying blueberries to grow in containers make sure that you buy a dwarf variety that grows well in your climate. Do not spray with pesticides. Zones 3-8.

Planting Tips

  • Plant in a large, well drained container
  • Place your containers in full sun
  • Blueberries love acidic soil so fill your container with 1/3 soil for acid-loving plants and 2/3 regular potting soil
  • Water your blueberries frequently but never let the soil get soggy (don’t let your plants sit in water)
  • Plant more than one blueberry plant for best pollination. It’s best to have two or three blueberry plants (preferably different species) in containers near each other
  • It will take a few years for your plants to bear lots of berries
  • In winter keep the containers close to a building or wrap in burlap

Blue Muffin Arrowood Viburnum

Viburnum dentatum

viburnum dentatum-Smith R.W
Photo © R.W. Smith

Easy to grow. Tolerates lots of soil conditions and climates. It has small white flowers in late spring and bright blue berries that mature in late summer. Fall foliage can be striking (yellows and reds). Grows to 4′ x 4′. Zones 3-8.

Planting Tips

  • Plant in a large container
  • Place your containers in full sun to partial shade
  • It’s best to have more than one Arrowood Viburnum plant for pollination. Plant two or three (different varieties are fine) in containers near each other
  • Water fairly frequently — but don’t let sit in water

Black Chokeberry

Aronia melanocarpa


Photo © Julie Makin

Easy to grow. Prefers dry to moist soil conditions. It has clusters of white flowers in late spring/ early summer and dark purple/black berries mature in fall. Showy red fall foliage . Fruits are sour, but are used to make jams, juices, and jellies. Grows to 3′ x 6′. Zones 3–8. For a smaller variety try: Morton- Iroqouis Beauty.

Planting Tips

  • Plant in a large container
  • Full sun to partial shade
  • Prefers dry or moist soil – drought tolerant
  • Prefers acidic soil (fill your container with 1/3 soil for acid-loving plants and 2/3 regular potting soil)

Winterberry

Ilex verticillata

Winterberry-Wasowski_ Sally and Andy
Photo © Sally and Andy Wasowski

Easy to grow. Prefers acidic and medium to wet soil conditions. Tolerates poorly drained soil. It has small greenish/white flowers in late spring and bright, showy, red berries mature in late summer to fall. Grows to 3′ to 10′. Zones 3-9.

Planting Tips

  • Plant in a large container
  • Place container in full sun to partial shade.
  • Only fertilized female plants will produce fruit so you’ll need both a male and female plant for pollination. One male plant can pollinate several female plants. Place in containers near each other.
  • Prefers acidic soil ( fill your container with 1/3 soil for acid-loving plants and 2/3 regular potting soil)
  • Water frequently

Chokecherry

Prunus virginiana

5-20-2008-17F Chokecherry Prunus virginiana
Photo © Terry Glase

Small tree/shrub that grows well in containers. Easy to grow. Tolerates many soil conditions but prefers moist, well drained soil. It has showy white flowers in late spring/early summer. Red/purple fruit matures in late summer to fall. Although the fruit is very bitter – it is used to make jellies and jams. Pit is not edible. Grows to 12′. Zones 2-9.

Planting Tips

  • Plant in fall in well drained large container
  • Water often and keep soil moist when first planted. Once established water moderately.
  • Place container in full sun

Pagoda Dogwood

Cornus alternifolia

Cornus alternifolia_Baugh_James C
Photo © James Baugh

Small tree/shrub that grows well in containers. Prefers moist, well drained, acidic soil. It has clusters of small white flowers in late spring/early summer. Blue/black berries mature in late summer. It is not drought tolerant. Grows 15′-25′. Zones 3-7.

Planting Tips

  • Plant in the fall in a well drained, large container
  • Water often and keep soil moist
  • Place container in partial shade

Want to Learn More About Container Gardening?

Check out Celebrate Urban Birds’ Urban Gardening page!

This article contains content from:

Celebrate Urban Birds

Celebrate Urban Birds

Celebrate birds with art and count birds in urban areas

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This Month’s Articles

Top Five Native Berries For Birds For Your Yard

Take Action August 28, 2014

Eat Like a (Frugivorous) Bird

Interactive August 20, 2014

Attract Birds With These Berry-Bearing Plants For Your Container Garden

Take Action August 11, 2014

Does It Matter To Birds Which Berries I Plant?

Illustrated Answer August 4, 2014

9 Comments

  1. Joan says:

    Please make it printable!

  2. Terry says:

    Robins devour the berries on the Hollies in my yard.

    I’ve also planted Sargent Crabapple (Malus sargentii) with pea-size fruit the bird like.

  3. Jennifer Blend says:

    Great ideas for berries, but I would remind people that berries are bear’s favorite food and they don’t care if they are in containers, just makes for eaiser picking!

  4. Mary Preston says:

    Because of you, I want to eat blueberries now! Amazing photos! Thank you for sharing that post! I’m coming back for more interesting posts!

  5. Alex says:

    Great post on container gardening. Will be referring this post to some of my friends interested in tips about blueberry planting..

  6. Kylie says:

    I recently read how to attract butterflies , now this post.. My garden’s going to look like some imaginary utopia world in the end! thank you for sharing!

  7. keiko says:

    Is beautiful :)
    I want to eat blueberries now! Amazing photos!

  8. Its wonderful idea.I have read all of your post.I think its bird friendly blog and this why i like your all of post.Because i like bird.I think you are also good photographer.Your all of image are looking excellent.

  9. Birds Always likes Flowers and Fruits.They are mostly attract in Fruits because they are like to eat Fruits.And fruits is birds main food.

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