low, very low
soft pink blooms in spring, red fruits in late summer
4 to 6 in.
2 to 6 ft.
Europe, northern Asia, North America
sun to shade
USDA zones 2-6
hardy to 10,000 ft.
Kinnikinnick is a very low-growing native shrub that grows naturally in ponderosa pine forest openings. The dark green, shiny leaves are small and spoon-shaped, forming a beautiful, dense mat.
The tiny pink flowers that appear in spring turn into a mealy red berry that attracts birds.
It can be quite drought tolerant. It also grows well under ponderosa pines if it receive some sun. Kinnikinnik is an excellent choice for foothill landscapes with decomposed granite soil.
Kinnikinick can be a little difficult to transplant successfully, and is slow to spread.
At the Xeriscape Demonstration Garden, kinnikinick has grown well in both low and moderate water zones. Those planted in the moderate water zone have spread more quickly than those in the low water zone. Plants with partial shade and some wind protection have performed the best.
It may be hard to find for sale at a plant nursery, but it is worth the effort. It can make a durable, maintenance-free groundcover once established.
No maintenance is needed.