Plant wintergreen in the fall in a location that receives full sun to partial shade and has acidic, well-drained soil. Space the plants 18 to 24 inches apart. Mulch around the plants with an inch of pine needles or shredded leaves to protect the roots from freezing.
Water regularly during the growing season. Wintergreen will spread by runners (stolons), so be sure to give it room to grow.
- Purchase wintergreen plants from a nursery or online retailer
- Prepare the planting site by clearing away any debris and loosening the soil
- Plant the wintergreen plants in prepared holes, spacing them according to the package directions
- Water the plants deeply immediately after planting
- Apply a layer of mulch around the base of each plant to help retain moisture and suppress weeds
How to Grow Wintergreen from Seed
In colder climates, wintergreen (Gaultheria procumbens) is a perennial evergreen groundcover that blooms with white or pink flowers in early summer. The small, glossy leaves are dark green and turn reddish in fall. Wintergreen is native to North America and prefers shady, acidic conditions.
If you’re starting wintergreen from seed, sow the seeds indoors about eight weeks before your last spring frost date. Use peat pots or seed-starting trays filled with a mix of equal parts sphagnum peat moss and perlite. Sow the seeds on the surface of the mix and press them gently into the media.
Water well and place the pots in a warm location out of direct sunlight; a south-facing windowsill is ideal. Keep the soil moist but not soggy until germination, which should occur within two to three weeks at temperatures of 70-75 degrees Fahrenheit. Once they’ve sprouted, transplant the seedlings into individual pots filled with an acidic potting mix such as 2 parts sphagnum peat moss to 1 part perlite or sand.
Harden off the plants gradually over a week or two before planting them outdoors in late spring after all danger of frost has passed. Choose a site in partial to full shade and amend the soil with organic matter such as compost before planting. Space plants 18 inches apart; wintergreen will spread slowly over time to form a dense mat 12-18 inches tall.
Water your plants regularly during their first growing season to help them become established; once they’re established, wintergreen is quite drought tolerant. Fertilize annually with an acid fertilizer such as Miracid® Plant Food for Acid Lovers following manufacturer’s directions based on plant size.
Is Wintergreen Hard to Grow?
No, wintergreen is not hard to grow. In fact, it is one of the easiest herbs to cultivate. All you need is a shady spot in your garden and some well-drained soil.
Wintergreen does best in humus-rich soil that is slightly acidic. You can improve your soil by adding compost or peat moss. If you live in an area with cold winters, you will need to protect your plants from frost damage by mulching them with straw or evergreen boughs.
Where Does Wintergreen Grow Best?
Wintergreen grows best in cool, moist climates. It prefers full sun to partial shade and does not tolerate drought well. Wintergreen is a low-growing evergreen plant that spreads by rhizomes.
It has dark green leaves with a white underside. The small white flowers bloom in late spring or early summer, followed by red berries in fall.
Can Wintergreen Grow Indoors?
Yes, wintergreen can grow indoors. It is a low-growing plant that only reaches about 6 inches in height, making it ideal for growing in containers. Wintergreen prefers a shady location and soil that is acidic, well-drained and moist.
If you are growing wintergreen indoors, make sure to provide plenty of ventilation to prevent the build-up of humidity.
Does Wintergreen Grow from Cuttings?
Wintergreen is a common name for several plants, including Gaultheria procumbens and Pyrola chlorantha. Both of these plants can be propagated from cuttings.
Gaultheria procumbens, also known as checkerberry or teaberry, is a low-growing evergreen shrub that is native to North America.
The leaves of this plant are used to flavor teas, candies, and chewing gum. Wintergreen oil, which has a minty aroma, is distilled from the leaves.
Take 4-6 inch stem cuttings from new growth in late spring or early summer. Remove the bottom leaves and dip the cut end in rooting hormone powder. Plant the cutting in moistened perlite or vermiculite and place it in a plastic bag to create a humid environment.
Place the bagged cutting in bright indirect light and keep the soil moist but not soggy until roots have formed (this could take 4-8 weeks). Once roots have developed, you can transplant your cutting into a pot filled with well-drained potting mix or plant it outdoors in an shady location.
Wintergreen: A beautiful and versatile edible groundcover
Assuming you would like a summary of the blog post titled “How to Grow Wintergreen”:
Wintergreen is a perennial herb that grows in shady, moist areas. It has small white flowers and shiny green leaves that smell like mint.
The plant produces red berries that are used to make teas, oils, and medicines. To grow wintergreen, start with a young plant from a nursery or garden center. Plant it in rich, well-drained soil in partial shade.
Water regularly during the growing season and mulch around the base of the plant to help retain moisture. Prune wintergreen annually after flowering to keep the plant compact and encourage new growth.