Vaccinium macrocarpon 'Thunderlake'

Common Name: cranberry 
Type: Fruit
Family: Ericaceae
Zone: 3 to 7
Height: 0.75 to 1.00 feet
Spread: 3.00 to 4.00 feet
Bloom Time: May to June
Bloom Description: Fuchsia pink
Sun: Full sun
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Flower: Showy
Fruit: Showy, Edible


Best grown in damp, acidic (pH 4.0-5.2), organically rich, well-drained soil in full sun. Plant 2' apart. Self-pollinating.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Vaccinium macrocarpon, commonly called cranberry, is native to Eastern North America. It is a low-growing vine (to 6" tall and spreading) which is grown in wet bogs that periodically can be flooded to provide winter protection, control weeds and pests, and facilitate harvesting of the crop.

Genus name comes from an ancient Latin name apparently derived from a prehistoric Mediterranean language.

Specific epithet means large-fruited.

'Thunderlake', a recent J.E. Miller Nurseries' exclusive introduction, is a shrub-like cultivar that can be grown in garden soil in somewhat the same manner as blueberries. Plants typically grow to 12" tall with a 3-4' spread and feature fuchsia-pink flowers in spring which give way to bright red cranberries that mature in September-October. If massed, plants can form a carpet of green foliage. This plant can be grown for the food crop, as an ornamental or both.


Insect and disease susceptibility for this new introduction are not yet fully understood. Cranberries are typically subject to chlorosis problems if soil pH is too high.

Garden Uses

Grow in the fruit or vegetable garden for the food crop. Ornamentally, may be grown as a small scale ground cover for sunny areas or in the shrub or mixed border in front of other acid-loving plants such as azaleas and rhododendrons.