HOW TO GROW SEA BUCKTHORN - Hippophae rhamnoides

How to grow Sea Buckthorn

The common sea buckthorn - Hippophae rhamnoides is one of just seven species within the genus and is by far the most widespread. Native to the fixed dunes and sea cliffs of the United Kingdom, Europe and temperate Asia it is a hardy, spiny, deciduous shrub chiefly grown for its ornamental berries.

Sea Buckthorn berries and juice
It is a tall, bushy species growing to approximately 3-4 metres tall, however under favorable conditions it can morph into a small tree reaching a height of up to 10 metres. The brown scaled branches are clothed with sharp spines and linear, silvery leaves. Inconspicuous flowers are borne in April on male and female plants. When grown close enough together for effective pollination, the female plants will produce thick clusters of bright orange-yellow edible berries which can remain on the plants from September right through to December. While the berries are indeed edible they have an intensely acrid juice which are usually avoided by most birds. Be that as it may, it is said that pheasants are somewhat partial to them.

The common sea buckthorn will happily grow in any well-drained, ordinary garden soil, however it is particularly suitable for coastal positions where few plants can cope with the salt spray brought on the wound or a certain amount of salt contamination present in the soil. They thrive in sandy areas by the sea and make suitable windbreaks when planted close together in exposed regions. Plant in a sunny or partially shaded position from October to February.

When growing as a hedge, one male plant will easily pollinate six female plants. Set the young plants 18-24 inches apart, but this can be extended to one plant every 4-5 ft apart when growing or windbreaks. After planting, remove the upper third of all shoots to promote bushy growth.

The common sea buckthorn received the Award of Merit from the Royal Horticultural Society in 1944, and then the Award of Garden Merit in 1984.

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