Bearberry 'Vancouver Jade' Arctostaphylos uva-ursi 'Vancouver Jade'

☠ Toxic to humans
🐾 Toxic to pets
🌸 Blooming
🍪 Not edible
‍🌱 Easy-care
bearberry 'Vancouver Jade'


'Vancouver Jade' forms a low, arching, evergreen shrub to 15cm. The new shoots are flushed with red and it has small, pink flowers in summer followed by red berries in autumn

Plant Info
Common Problems

About this plant

  • memoNames

    • Family


    • Synonyms

      Bearberry, Kinnikinnick, Mealberry, Sandberry, Rockberry, Hog Cranberry, Mountain Box, Mountain Cranberry, Red Bearberry.

    • Common names

      Arctostaphylos uva-ursi 'Vancouver Jade'

  • infoCharacteristics

    • Life cycle


    • Foliage type


    • Color of leaves

      Dark green

    • Flower color


    • Height

      6 inches (15 cm)

    • Spread

      3 feet (91 cm)

    • Plant type


    • Hardiness zones


    • Native area

      North America


  • money-bagGeneral Benefits

    • Drought Tolerance: Adapted to survive periods without water, reducing the need for irrigation.
    • Groundcover: Forms a dense mat that suppresses weeds and reduces soil erosion.
    • Low Maintenance: Requires minimal care once established, saving time and resources.
    • Winter Interest: Evergreen leaves and red berries provide color in the landscape during cold months.
    • Wildlife Habitat: Provides shelter and food for birds and other wildlife.
    • Tolerates Poor Soil: Can grow in nutrient-poor soils where other plants might struggle.
    • Erosion Control: Helps stabilize slopes and areas prone to erosion with its extensive root system.
    • Attractive Foliage: Features glossy, deep green leaves that can enhance garden aesthetics.
    • Fire Resistance: Can be part of fire-scaping strategies due to its low flammability.

  • medicalMedical Properties

    • Urinary Tract Infections: Bearberry leaves contain compounds like arbutin and hydroquinones, which are believed to have antibacterial properties that can help combat infections in the urinary tract.
    • Anti-inflammatory: The plant has been used traditionally to reduce inflammation, which could be beneficial in conditions like cystitis.
    • Diuretic Effects: It has mild diuretic properties which may aid in flushing the urinary tract and preventing kidney stone formation.
    • Astringent: Tannins in bearberry can have astringent effects, which might help to tighten the mucous membranes in the body and reduce inflammation.
    Please note that while these traditional uses are noted, the effectiveness and safety of bearberry for these uses have not been clinically established, and it is not officially endorsed by health authorities for medical use. Always consult a healthcare professional before using any herbal remedies.

  • windAir-purifying Qualities

    This plant is not specifically known for air purifying qualities.

  • leavesOther Uses


    • Dye production: The leaves of bearberry can be used to make a natural brown or yellow-green dye for fabric, yarn, and leather.
    • Photographic development: Historically, bearberry extracts have been used as a component in developing solutions for photography.
    • Decorative smoking pipes: The hard wood of bearberry can be crafted into decorative smoking pipes and other small woodwork items.
    • Fire tinder: Dried bearberry leaves can be collected and used as a natural fire starter due to their flammable properties.
    • Ground cover: Bearberry is often planted for erosion control on banks and slopes, as its spreading habit helps stabilize the soil.
    • Garden design: With its deep green foliage and reddish stems, bearberry is used in garden landscapes for its year-round aesthetic appeal.
    • Fruit for crafts: The bright red berries of bearberry can be incorporated into crafts and jewelry, such as necklace beads, especially in native cultures.
    • Bonsai: Because of its small leaves and low growth habit, bearberry is sometimes used in creating bonsai plants for hobbyists.
    • Festive decoration: During wintertime, branches of bearberry with attached berries are used in holiday decorations and wreaths.
    • Edible fruit preserves: Although not commonly practiced and quite tart, the berries can be made into jams and jellies when mixed with sweeter fruits.

Interesting Facts

  • bedFeng Shui

    Bearberry is not used in Feng Shui practice.

  • aquariusZodiac Sign Compitability

    Bearberry is not used in astrology practice.

  • spiralPlant Symbolism

    • Conservation and Preservation: The Bearberry, as a hardy groundcover, symbolizes the resilience of nature and the importance of preserving natural habitats. Its evergreen leaves represent durability and steadfastness in the face of environmental challenges.
    • Purity and Cleanliness: Traditionally, bearberries have been used for their antiseptic properties, which is why they can symbolize purity and cleanliness. They can represent the cleansing of both the physical self and one's surroundings.
    • Native American Heritage: Because Bearberry is a plant that’s been widely used by Native Americans for various purposes, it can symbolize the rich heritage and the traditional practices of indigenous peoples.
    • Survival and Adaptability: As Bearberry can thrive in poor soils and harsh environments, it is often seen as a symbol of survival and adaptability. It reminds one of the ability to endure difficult conditions and adapt to one’s environment.
    • Grounding and Stability: The Bearberry's low, spreading habit makes it a symbol for grounding and stability. It suggests the importance of staying connected with one's roots and having a solid foundation.

Every 2-3 weeks
2500 - 10000 Lux
Every 2-3 years
Spring-Early Summer
As needed
  • water dropWater

    Bearberry, commonly known as 'Vancouver Jade', should be watered sparingly, as it is adapted to tolerate dry conditions. Initially, water young plants deeply to establish a strong root system, using about 1 gallon every two weeks. Once established, reduce the frequency, aiming to water the equivalent of 1 inch of rainfall every two to three weeks during prolonged dry periods. Overhead watering is not advised as it can promote leaf diseases; instead, use drip irrigation or water at the base of the plant. During winter, watering is usually unnecessary unless there are extreme drought conditions.

  • sunLight

    For Bearberry 'Vancouver Jade', select a spot with full sun to partial shade, although it will produce more flowers and have denser foliage in full sun. This plant tolerates a range of light conditions but thrives and spreads best with at least six hours of direct sunlight daily. Avoid deep shade locations, as this can result in leggy growth and reduced vigor.

  • thermometerTemperature

    Bearberry 'Vancouver Jade' is hardy and can tolerate temperature extremes well, surviving winter cold down to -20°F and summer highs up around 90°F. The ideal temperature range for this plant is between 60 and 70°F. This broad range makes it an excellent ground cover for many different climates across many zones, as long as the temperature does not stay consistently above 90°F for prolonged periods.

  • scissorsPruning

    Pruning Bearberry 'Vancouver Jade' is typically done to maintain shape and remove dead or damaged branches. Prune in late winter or early spring before new growth begins, but after the harshest winter weather has passed. Pruning can be done every couple of years as the plant is slow-growing and will not need frequent trimming; overly aggressive pruning should be avoided.

  • broomCleaning

    As needed

  • bambooSoil

    The best soil mix for Kinnikinnick is a well-draining mix with a blend of one-third sand, one-third garden soil, and one-third peat or compost. It prefers an acidic soil pH of 4.5 to 5.5.

  • plantRepotting

    The Kinnikinnick, being a low-maintenance, slow-growing ground cover, rarely needs repotting and can often be left undisturbed for several years, only requiring repotting if it outgrows its container or the soil is depleted.

  • water dropsHumidity & Misting

    Kinnikinnick thrives in moderate humidity conditions; it does not require high humidity and can tolerate drier air typical of many indoor environments.

  • pinSuitable locations

    • Indoor

      Place in bright indirect light, water moderately.

    • Outdoor

      Full sun to partial shade, well-draining acidic soil.

    • Hardiness zone

      2-6 USDA

  • circleLife cycle

    The plant Arctostaphylos uva-ursi, commonly known as Bearberry or specifically 'Vancouver Jade', begins its life as a seed, often dispersed by birds or mammals that eat the berries. Upon germination, which may be encouraged by a period of cold stratification, it develops a root system and a small rosette of leaves close to the ground. As it matures, the plant forms a woody stem and spreads horizontally, creating a low-growing evergreen groundcover. Throughout the spring and summer, small pink or white urn-shaped flowers bloom, which are pollinated by bees and other insects. By late summer to autumn, these flowers give way to red berries, which are consumed by wildlife, thus completing the reproductive cycle. Bearberry is a perennial, so after initial establishment, it will continue to grow and reproduce for several years, with some plants living for decades.

  • sproutPropogation

    • Propogation time

      Spring-Early Summer

    • Propogation: The most common method of propagating Bearberry, specifically the 'Vancouver Jade' cultivar, is through semi-hardwood cuttings. This is typically done in late summer when the current year's growth has matured but not yet turned fully woody. Cuttings should be 4 to 6 inches long and include several leaves. Dip the cut end in rooting hormone then plant into a mix of peat and perlite or sand, ensuring good contact between the cutting and the medium. The cutting should then be placed in a warm area with indirect light and kept moist. Within a few weeks to several months, the cuttings will develop roots and can be transplanted to a more permanent location.