This native of eastern North America, wintergreen is a woody evergreen shrub that grows three to ten inches tall, spreading by stolons about 4-6” per year to form a mat. Its glossy, oval, dark green leaves are leathery, about two inches long, and take on a purplish tinge in the fall. When crushed the leaves release aromatic wintergreen oil. Small white to pink urn-shaped flowers are produced in spring and are followed in the fall by red, edible, wintergreen-flavored berries that are attractive to birds and other wildlife. Its small size and year round attractiveness make it an excellent ground cover in partially shade sites with moist, acidic soil. Plants tolerate more sun if sufficient moisture is available. Excellent plant for woodland plantings and rock gardens.
Type: Evergreen shrub
Outstanding Feature: Foliage and berries
Form: low growing, creeping mat
Growth Rate: Medium to slow
Bloom: Small white to pink urn-shaped flowers in spring followed by red berries in fall
Size: 3-4” H x 12-36” W
Light: Partial shade; tolerates more sun if adequate moisture is available
Soil: Organically rich, constantly moist, well-drained, acidic
Hardiness: Zones 3-10
Care: Mulch in summer to keep roots cool; prune after flowering.
Pests and Diseases: Susceptible to mildews, fungal spots, and leaf gall.
Propagation: Seed sown in spring; stem cuttings, division.