Growing PNW Berries

The PNW is home to many edible native berries and small fruits. Integrating edibles into your planting plan is a wonderful way to increase your interaction with the landscape, feel more connected to the garden and enjoy a tasty snack! Encouraging children to join you in picking these berries is a great way to get them curious and engaged with their natural environment. It’s time to bring PNW foraging right into your backyard!

There are many berries that thrive in our climate, with native berries being the most acclimated (meaning less maintenance and irrigation!) Some of our favorites include:

Fragaria: Strawberries

All three of our native varieties, Fragaria vesca, Fragaria chiloensis and Fragaria virginiana, are delicious! They are markedly smaller than commercially grown strawberries, but gram-for-gram provides more nutrition and antioxidants.

Rubus spectabilis: Salmonberries

Salmonberries were traditionally eaten by Native Americans with salmon or salmon roe. Mature berries are yellow/orange, while unripe ones are red. Commonly found near creeks, they’ll enjoy a partly shaded spot in the garden.

Vaccinium ovatum: Huckleberry

A fabulous plant for your landscape, Evergreen huckleberry can serve as an informal screen while simultaneously providing sweet treats.  Native Americans greatly enjoyed this berry, eating fresh or drying into a fruit leather cake for later.

Ribes sanguineum: Red Currant

Flowering red currant has grown in popularity as a garden shrub due to its brightly colored and scented spring flowers.  Pollinators and birds love this plant!  The berries can be eaten raw or made into jams or wine.

Amelianchier alnifolia: Servceberry

Also known as Pacific Serviceberry or Saskatoon, these berries were a staple for PNW Native Americans. Growing into a small tree, this is a lovely landscaping plant which provides year-round interest.

Rubus parviflorus: Thimbleberry

This plant is a close relative to salmonberries and resembles raspberries when ripe. The berries are soft and fragile, meant to be eaten directly from the bush! They don’t need trellises and will spread by to fill in an area.

This is by no means an exhaustive list, but it does focus on some of the more popular berries.  Both you and your local ecosystem will enjoy the use of these native plants! Choosing a few delectable species for your landscape can also enhance the dynamic usage of your yard.  Not sure how to create such a landscape? Give us a call! We can help you build an enjoyable and sustainable backyard at 206-551-9872.