Gaultheria Big Berry®
Gaultheria ‘Big Berry’ (Gaultheria procumbens is also known as Teaberry) has charming leaves and decorative berries. This plant will add beauty to your garden, patio or balcony all year long but is usually most widely available in garden centres and florists in the autumn. Its large, highly appealing red berries make it not only a beautiful groundcover but also the perfect decorative winter plant for your patio and balcony. The plant produces new, bright green leaves in the spring and then white or light pink flowers in the summer. The leaves turn a deep red to purple in the autumn. This accentuates the colour of the berries, which remain on the plant all through the winter, and also adds to the Christmas spirit in December. All in all, Gaultheria ‘Big Berry’ is a wonderful four-season plant.
The Teaberry is a hardy, low-maintenance garden plant that will thrive in either sun or partial shade. When planting it in the garden or a pot, add some potting compost containing fertiliser to help the roots develop properly. Keep in mind that this plant has very shallow roots, so avoid using a hoe or spade when you are working near this plant in the garden. Also keep your Gaultheria from being covered with fallen leaves in the autumn. The plant should always have access to both enough light and air. The Teaberry is also a perfect plant for pots and containers on the patio and balcony. Be sure that the pot has a hole in the bottom to let excess irrigation water or rainwater escape. If the pot has no hole, another solution is to put a layer of expanded clay pellets at the bottom of the pot with potting compost on top.
Gaultheria ‘Big Berry’ is a highly versatile little plant. In the United States, Teaberry berries are even used as an ingredient in pies. Its common name also reflects another use for the plant. In its native countries, its leaves are often used to brew a tea. When you rub the leaves between your fingers, they release a delightful wintergreen fragrance. These green leaves are also the source of an essential oil that has analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties. It smells somewhat like mint and is included in massage oils used for back pain and arthritis.