American Cranberry bush is found throughout the northern tier of states in the United States, and ranges throughout all of southern Canada. In these locations, it is a common resident of open, wet woodlands and beside streams and other bodies of water. In Ohio, it is only native to the most northeastern counties near Lake Erie, but it is planted throughout the entire state. It is one of two Viburnums native to Ohio that have an outer row of showy, sterile flowers (the other being Hobblebush, with both resembling Hydrangeas). Likewise, it is one of only two Viburnums native to Ohio that have lobed leaves (the other being Maple-Leaf Viburnum). Also known as Highbush Cranberry (in reference to its tasty red fruits), this shrub has stout stems and thick branches, and may reach 12 feet tall by 12 feet wide when found in the open, with an arching growth habit at maturity that leaves the center of the plant devoid of branches. Modern landscape cultivars of this species have a much more compact and dense growth habit. As a member of the Honeysuckle Family, it is related to the Honeysuckles, Elderberries, Weigelas, and the many other Viburnums.
Planting Requirements - American Cranberrybush prefers moist to wet soils of rich or average composition, and of acidic pH. However, it tolerates dry soils of acidic, neutral, or alkaline pH reasonably well. It thrives in full sun to partial sun, and performs well in partial shade to full shade, although its growth habit will be much more gangly. It is found in zones 2 to 7.
Potential Problems- American Cranberrybush suffers from a stem blight that can kill entire, mature branches down to the ground, creating open sectors of its canopy if these dead branches are removed. Otherwise, it is a reasonably healthy shrub.