Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Bearberry, Kinnikinnick, Manzanita
Arctostaphylos uva-ursi 'Massachusetts'

Family: Ericaceae (er-ek-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Arctostaphylos (ark-toh-STAF-ih-los) (Info)
Species: uva-ursi (OO-va UR-see) (Info)
Cultivar: Massachusetts

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6-12 in. (15-30 cm)

18-24 in. (45-60 cm)

USDA Zone 3a: to -39.9 C (-40 F)
USDA Zone 3b: to -37.2 C (-35 F)
USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 C (-30 F)
USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 C (-25 F)
USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)
USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)
USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)
USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)
USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun
Sun to Partial Shade


Bloom Color:
Pale Pink

Bloom Time:
Mid Spring


Other details:
Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping

Soil pH requirements:
5.1 to 5.5 (strongly acidic)
5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
From herbaceous stem cuttings
From seed; stratify if sowing indoors
Scarify seed before sowing

Seed Collecting:
N/A: plant does not set seed, flowers are sterile, or plants will not come true from seed

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There are a total of 8 photos.
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1 positive
2 neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Neutral coriaceous On May 5, 2014, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

This evergreen groundcover always looks beautiful year-round when I see it growing naturally, as on Cape Cod. In winter, the foliage takes on purplish tones.

When planted in gardens, it can look good, but it takes time to establish and sometimes gets invaded by perennial weeds. I also find there's often a lot of winter dieback to be pruned out in the spring, which I never see in the wild.

Prefers well-drained, acid, low-fertility soils, and grows well in pure sand. Does not respond well to fertilizer. Established plants do not transplant well.

Hardy to Z2.

Neutral AmyInNH On May 4, 2014, AmyInNH from Brookline, NH wrote:

A sturdy reliable ground cover. It spreads gently, over years. It thrives left to its own devices. Pretty, subtle, sparse white flowers in the spring, pretty, sparse red berries in the fall. About 3 to 4 inches tall.
I've never tried to propogate or relocate, so I don't know how it'd handle that.

Positive Rickwebb On Dec 4, 2013, Rickwebb from Downingtown, PA wrote:

My southeast Pennsylvania yard has a good quality, brown clay soil, with a tinge of orange and is barely acid of pH 6.9. If I had the truely acid, silty topsoil forest soil of PA, I would have palnted my Bearberry directly into the soil. I created a berm and I amended the ground with lots of coarse sand and peatmoss, plus some sulfur and iron sulfate granules. Then I planted one small pot of Massachusetts Bearberry in 2006 offered at the nursery where I worked. It took and by 2010 it had formed a good groundcover. It has had lots of bloom in April-early May, but little fruit set. maybe it needs cross-pollination of another cultivar or mother species plant. It is a lovely groundcover!


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Boulder, Colorado
Framingham, Massachusetts
Halifax, Massachusetts
Roslindale, Massachusetts
Saint Paul, Minnesota
Brookline, New Hampshire
Downingtown, Pennsylvania

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