Salal (Gaultheria shallon) is a small, evergreen shrub that grows best in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 7 through 9. It is a member of the heath family and grows well in partial shade.
Salal can be grown from seed or cuttings, but it can take several years for it to flower and produce fruit. The plant prefers acidic soil with a pH level between 4.5 and 5.5 and requires little water once established.
Salal is a perennial ground-cover that grows well in areas with partial shade and moist soil. It’s often used as a low-water alternative to lawns, but it can also be grown as a decorative plant in containers.
To grow salal from seeds, sow them outdoors after the last frost of spring or early in the fall. Space the seeds 1 inch apart and cover lightly with soil. Keep the soil moist until germination occurs, which should take place within one to two weeks of planting.
Salal grows best in rich, moist soil that provides good drainage. It’s important to choose a site with well-drained soil that’s rich in organic matter and nutrients, but also slightly acidic (with a pH between 5 and 7). The ideal soil for salal is deep and loose, with good aeration for root growth.
The best way to prepare your planting site for salal is to dig up the ground about 10 inches deep and let it rest for a few weeks before planting. Then, add fertilizer at the recommended rate based on the size of your planting area, a general rule of thumb is 1 pound per 100 square feet, and mix it into the top 6 inches of soil prior to laying out rows or holes for seeds or seedlings.
The plant prefers a partially shaded location.
Salal prefers a partially shaded location. It will grow in full sun or deep shade, but it is happiest with morning sun and afternoon shade. If you’re trying to create your own salal farm, consider planting it along a fence line where there is morning sun and then dappled afternoon shade.
Make sure young plants will get enough moisture by adding a weed-suppressing mulch from day one.
There are many benefits to mulching. Weed suppression, retention of soil moisture and nutrients, protection from heat and cold extremes, and improved appearance are all reasons why you may want to consider mulching with salal. Use a 1” – 2” layer of chipped or shredded bark for best results.
If you have an established garden, it is not necessary to remove existing weeds before planting salal shrubs in your beds or borders.
Native to the Pacific Northwest, salal is drought tolerant and readily adapts to a variety of soil types.
Salal grows in the Pacific Northwest and is a drought-tolerant plant. It readily adapts to many soil types and has an extensive root system. Salal can be propagated by either seed or cuttings, which makes it easy to grow at home.
Get your salal off to the best start, and it will thrive with almost no additional watering.
- Plant your salal in spring or fall.
- Plant your salal in well-drained soil, with a pH between 6 and 8, and that is loamy or sandy with no heavy clay content.
- Plant your salal in a sunny location, but protect it from intense afternoon sun by using shade cloth if necessary (for example, if you live in southern California). The ideal temperature range for salal growth is 25 to 40 degrees Celsius (77 to 104 degrees Fahrenheit).
- If you live in an area where winter temperatures are above freezing, plant the shrubs at least 1 meter apart; otherwise plant them at least half a meter apart so they have room to spread their roots without crowding each other out over time as they grow larger than expected during the first few years after planting
Soil requirement/condition of Salal
Salal requires a well-drained, somewhat moist soil with a pH of 5.0 to 7.0 and a temperature range of 50°F to 85°F (10°C to 29°C). The soil should be fertile and loamy or sandy in texture. A neutral reaction is best for the plant; if your garden is acidic, you can add lime or dolomite lime to raise the pH level.
Salal tolerates both full sun and partial shade but will grow more quickly in full sun locations than in shady ones.
How to care for Salal
Plant salal in a position with good drainage, partial shade, and water regularly. However, keep the soil moist but not wet. Salal likes regular feeding in spring or autumn with a liquid seaweed feed or compost but do not overdo it as it will encourage growth of soft stems which are more prone to breakage once they are cut.
When to harvest
When to harvest salal berries:
- Harvest when the berries are dark blue or purple.
- Harvest when the berries are firm.
- Harvest when the berries are dry.
- Harvest when the berries are soft.
- Harvest when the berries are light purple, but not yet red or orange in color.
Pest control of
Salal is a resilient plant that is not subject to many pests. If you do notice a pest problem, you can spray with a strong stream of water. If you are having trouble with deer or rabbits, consider installing fencing or netting around your salal bed as a deterrent.
Salal is a great plant for the Pacific Northwest, so we hope that you’re inspired to try growing it! Remember that this plant isn’t only attractive; it may even add nutritional value to your diet. With these tips in mind, you’ll be on your way to having a beautiful salal garden of your own.