Viburnum trilobum

American Cranberrybush

$3.00 - $20.00

1/8 oz.
1/4 oz.
1/2 oz.
1 oz.

Bare Root Plants
Out of Stock

Also called Highbush Cranberry or Viburnum opulus var. americanum, the American Cranberry Bush is an attractive native plant all season long. In spring, the cranberry will develop white flowers that resemble lace-cap hydrangeas; in summer, dense foliage provides habitat for wildlife, and in autumn, the bush will develop tart red berries before the leaves turn from yellow to purple-red in color. The genus Viburnum is one of a few genera that serves as a host plant for the Hummingbird Clearwing moth.

The true cranberry that is grown commercially for food (Vaccinium macrocarpon) is a non-related member of the Heath family (Ericaceae). The American Cranberry is a member of the Elderberry family (Adoxaceae). Like the commercial variety, the fruit of the American Cranberry is also edible, and tastes best if made into a preserve or sauce. Fruits are a staple winter food for ruffed grouse and are eaten sparingly by pheasants and at least five species of songbirds.

*This species may be difficult and/or slow to germinate and grow to maturity.  Please note the germination code. Seed of this species is kept under refrigeration (33-38 F) in our warehouse. The days in transit to you in colder or warmer conditions won’t harm the seed, but it should be put back in refrigeration until you are ready to plant or apply pre-sowing treatment.

Live Plant Shipping Table

Spring Fall Age/Size
Dormant Bare Roots April/May October 2 years/16"

Viburnum trilobum - American Cranberrybush

Map Key

Present in state
Present but introduced in county
Present and native in county; not rare
Not present in state
Present and native in county; rare
Species extirpated (historic)
State or county listed as noxious
Present in state; exotic

This map shows the native and introduced (adventive) range of this species. Given appropriate habitat and climate, native plants can be grown outside their range.

4 Questions asked on Viburnum trilobum

About how wide at maturity?
Hi Erin, at maturity Viburnum trilobum will reach 8-12 feet high and wide with a upright, rounded form.
I received these seeds a couple of. weeks ago and put them straight in the fridge. Can I sow them now or is it better to wait until fall. Thanks
Hi there. You can sow the seed now, but you’ll need patience to germinate this species from seed. If you sow this spring, you can expect to see germination in 2 years (Germination Code F). You can also wait until fall to sow the seed if you’d like.

You can attempt the cold-warm-cold artificially, but can be a long, difficult process that doesn't always yield results.

We have a lot of Viburnum Opulus growing wild on our farm. This is very similar to V. Trilobum but the fruit is disgustingly inedible. Do you think that plants grown from the seed you offer would be edible? I understand that they would be tart.
Hi Howard. The ripe berries of American Cranberrybush taste like a mixture of red currant and cranberry - quite tart, but very flavorful. They are mostly skin and seed, so as far as snacking or baking goes, you will need to harvest a lot. Good thing they are great producers!
I put in three about two years ago and at 4' tall they have not bloomed yet. At about what age (or height?) can the shrub be expected to bloom and set fruit?
Hi Constance. American Cranberrybush usually needs about 3 to 5 years to establish itself in a site before it blooms and sets fruits.


Growing your own plants from seed is the most economical way to add natives to your home. Before you get started, one of the most important things to know about the seeds of wild plants is that many have built-in dormancy mechanisms that prevent the seed from germinating. In nature, this prevents a population of plants from germinating all at once, before killing frosts, or in times of drought. To propagate native plants, a gardener must break this dormancy before seed will grow.

Each species is different, so be sure to check the GERMINATION CODE listed on the website, in the catalog, or on your seed packet. Then, follow the GERMINATION INSTRUCTIONS prior to planting. Some species don't need any pre-treatment to germinate, but some species have dormancy mechanisms that must be broken before the seed will germinate. Some dormancy can be broken in a few minutes, but some species take months or even years.

Seed dormancy can be broken artificially by prolonged refrigeration of damp seed in the process of cold/moist STRATIFICATION. A less complicated approach is to let nature handle the stratifying through a dormant seeding, sowing seeds on the surface of a weed-free site in late fall or winter. Tucked safely beneath the snow, seeds will be conditioned by weathering to make germination possible in subsequent growing seasons.

To learn more, read our BLOG: How to Germinate Native Seeds

Dormant Bare Root Plants

We dig plants when they are dormant from our outdoor beds and ship them April-May and October. Some species go dormant in the summer and we can ship them July/August. We are among the few still employing this production method, which is labor intensive but plant-friendly. They arrive to you dormant, with little to no top-growth (bare-root), packed in peat moss. They should be planted as soon as possible. Unlike greenhouse-grown plants, bare-root plants can be planted during cold weather or anytime the soil is not frozen. A root photo is included with each species to illustrate the optimal depth and orientation. Planting instructions/care are also included with each order.

Download: Installing Your Bare-Root Plants

Potted Plants

3-packs and trays of 32, 38, or 50 plants leave our Midwest greenhouses based on species readiness (being well-rooted for transit) and order date; Spring shipping is typically early May through June, and Fall shipping is mid-August through September. Potted 3-packs and trays of 38 plugs are started from seed in the winter so are typically 3-4 months old when they ship. Trays of 32/50 plugs are usually overwintered so are 1 year old. Plant tray cells are approximately 2” wide x 5” deep in the trays of 38 and 50, and 2.5" wide x 3.5" deep in the 3-packs and trays of 32; ideal for deep-rooted natives. Full-color tags and planting & care instructions are included with each order.

Download: Planting and Care of Potted Plants

*please note, we are a mail order nursery and have no retail facilities, but you may pick up your order if prior arrangements are made. Pick up orders are subject to *MN Sales Tax.

Shipping & Handling Charges
SEED$100.00 and under: $5.00
over $100.00: 5% of the total seed cost

BARE ROOT PLANTS$50.00 and under: $7.50
over $50.00: 15% of the total plant cost

*MN State Sales Tax of 7.375% is applied for orders shipping to Minnesota only. Shipping & Handling Charges are also subject to the sales tax.

Shipping Season

SEED, TOOLS and BOOKS are sent year-round. Most orders ship within a day or two upon receipt.

BARE ROOT PLANTS are shipped during optimal transplanting time: Spring (April-May) and Fall (Oct). Some ephemeral species are also available for summer shipping. Since our plants are field-grown, Nature sets the schedule each year as to when our season will begin and end. We fill all orders, on a first-come, first-serve basis, to the best of our ability depending on weather conditions beyond our control.

*We are unable to ship PLANTS outside the contiguous US or to California due to regulations.


We ship using USPS, UPS and Spee Dee. UPS and Spee Dee are often used for expediting plant orders; they will not deliver to Post Office Box numbers, so please also include your street address if ordering plants.



Germination Code
Life Cycle
Sun Exposure
Full, Partial
Soil Moisture
Wet, Medium-Wet, Medium
up to 12 feet
Bloom Time
May, June
Bloom Color
Bird Favorite: seeds, insects, fruit, nectar, nesting, perch
Deer Resistant
Highly recommended for home landscaping
USDA Zones
Catalog Code