If you who want a year ’round garden, Evergreen Huckleberries are a must. They’re the best fruiting plant for shade. In fact, they grow up to 6 feet tall in the (moist) shade, and only about 3 feet tall in the sunshine, so the shade is the best place to put an evergreen huckleberry if you want a lot of fruit.
I took this photo today, January 11th 2013, and as you can see the plant STILL has ripe fruit on it! I picked quarts and quarts of ripe berries in October/November to freeze for pies and muffins, but this productive bush performs into the winter as well. So I’ll be having fresh huckleberries on my hot cereal tomorrow morning.
Evergreen Huckleberries are a native NW plant, love moist shade (we have them next to the house in the shade of the south side, next to the rain water barrel). They’re easy to grow, but they don’t transplant well, so where you put them is where they need to stay. I usually bird net the bushes so I get the main crop, but I took the netting off when I harvested in November, and there’s still ripe berries, so the birds are willing to share.
The leaves and berries are high in vitamin C. The leaves reportedly have been widely used to lower or modify blood sugar levels, and many herbalists claim that huckleberry leaf tea may be useful in stabilizing blood sugar levels in cases of diabetes according to this article. They’re highly ornamental, with beautiful glossy evergreen foliage you can use in flower arrangements.
Since these are a Native plant, they sometimes are hard to find. I purchased mine several years ago from a local grower, but I just checked the website and they no longer carry it. However you can usually find Evergreen Huckleberry plants through Native Plant sales such as at this Native Plant Sale through the East Multnomah Soil and Water Conservation District.