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Sea Buckthorn

Sea Buckthorn Lubera

When you buy sea buckthorn plants you get a decorative plant with additional fruit yields. The easy to care for wild fruit bushes, botanically correctly called Hippophae rhamnoides, feel at home in soils where other native plants hardly grow at all.

   
 
Male Dwarf Sea Buckthorn 'Hikul Silverstar'

Hippophae rhamnoides 'Hikul Silverstar' is super-compact with a height of only 1.5 m

Instead of: £19.40 * £15.90 *

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Sea Buckthorn 'Botanica'

The summer sea buchthorn

From £8.40 *

Sea Buckthorn Garden's Gift

The autumn sea buchthorn

From £8.40 *

Sea Buckthorn Leikora

Attractive, particularly rich in vitamins, large-fruited

£19.40 *

Sea Buckthorn Pollmix 2 (male)

Hippophae rhamnoides 'Pollmix 2' is a pollinator for many female sea buckthorns

From £8.40 *

   
 

More useful information about Sea Buckthorn

 With their finely branched root system, these berries hold together soil that is prone to erosion, they also fix nitrogen in symbiosis with bacteria (meaning that they provide their own fertiliser) and last but not least they produce rich, orange, shining wild fruit. Not only the modesty of these easy-care wild fruit plants is admirable, as far as the soil quality at the location is concerned, but also their optical beauty, which is particularly apparent during the ripening period, when the orange fruits shine out of the silvery leaves. By the way, the berries are not only popular with humans, but also with over 40 species of birds.
 

Buy Sea Buckthorn Plants

Here in the Lubera® Garden Shop you will find a specially selected assortment from which you can buy sea buckthorn plants. We have deliberately selected varieties that remain somewhat more compact, ripen early and also have a mild taste. The new Russian varieties 'Botanica' and 'Gardener's Gift' meet these criteria perfectly. In addition, they are larger, richer in oil and with fewer thorns than many older varieties. The milder taste is directly related to the high oil content of the Russian varieties.

Below you will find a table with an overview of the flowering period and harvest time of the different varieties:

Variety

Size (height and width in metres)

Flowering

Harvest

Garden's Gift (Female)

2.00 – 3.00 / 2.00 – 3.00

Beginning of March to end of April

Beginning to end of September

Botanica (Female)

3.00 – 4.00 /  2.00 – 3.00

Beginning of March to end of April

Mid-August to end of September

Leikora (Female)

3.00 – 4.00 / 1.50 – 3.00

Beginning of March to end of April

Beginning to end of September

Pollmix 2 (Male pollinator variety)

2.50 – 4.00 / 1.50 – 2.50

March - April

 

Hikul Silverstar (Male pollinator variety)

1.00 – 1.60 / 1.00 – 1.60

Beginning of March to beginning of April

Beautiful for mixed borders (silvery leaves)

Male and Female plants: Pollination and Pollination Ratios

While apples and pears have the male and female flower organs in the same flower (the flowers cannot fertilise themselves, but always need the pollen of another apple or pear variety), sea buckthorn has separate flowers with either male or female organs, and these flowers are on separate male or female plants. What may seem a bit strange in the plant world and in berry plants is quite normal: the pollination conditions of these plants are quite similar to the fertilisation relationships in humans. The plants are also called dioecious plants because the male and female flowers of sea buckthorn inhabit different houses=plants.

A male pollinator plant of the variety Pollmix 2 is sufficient for 6-10 female plants; the pollen is also transferred between 10-30 m mainly by the wind: so with exact local knowledge, it is worthwhile to plant the female plants in the slipstream of the male pollinator.

Planting: When and Where?

Since we produce and ship our sea buckthorn varieties exclusively as container plants, Leikora, Botanica and Gardeners Gift can be planted outdoors practically all year round together with the male pollinator Pollmix. However, the optimal planting period is between October and November or the end of February. Once chosen, the location in the garden should be kept as far as possible, as these plants do not always tolerate transplanting when they are old. Please also consider the expected and quite large space requirement of the shrubs, which should not be excessively shaded later by other trees in the vicinity of the sea buckthorn. Originally from Nepal and since the last ice age also in our Central European region, Hippophae rhamnoides is used to bare gravel and even gravel areas and grows even under the poorest conditions without complaint. As ambitious garden owners, it is, of course, important for us today – in addition to the unparalleled ornamental value of the shrubs – to achieve a decent yield of berries. That is why these plants need a deep, light, stony soil in a location with plenty of light. Heavy and garden soil with a large amount of clay must be loosened up deep with a lot of sand and as much air as possible must be let through. Therefore, lean, slightly acidic to neutral soil is the best, however, it may also be a little less nutritious.

The Nodule Bacteria and Sea Buckthorn – Why These Plants are Self-Sufficient and Real Survivors

The art of survival of this plant can be observed most impressively when you can watch how a garden plot that has been lying fallow for years is reclaimed with old sea buckthorn, for example as building land for a new home. Part of the widely branched root system of older sea buckthorn plants extends to depths of three metres, where the roots are already tapping the groundwater. The rest of the oversized root ball grows flat on all sides to a width of 5-8 metres and forms fine root hairs. These, in turn, excrete attractants for special bacteria, which then penetrate the root hairs and form so-called nodules. Via these nodules, the nodule bacteria and the plant together (only together, not alone) in a wonderful symbiosis are able to bind nitrogen from the air and make it available to the plant. Thus, after the establishment phase (1-2 years), a plant usually needs no fertiliser.

Do These Plants Need a Root Barrier?

In a large garden, which also has room for a larger wild fruit hedge, sea buckthorn, which is so root-friendly, can be grown without a root barrier. In addition, the new Russian varieties seem to grow much less than the German varieties. In a small garden, however, where there is already a lack of space, a root barrier for these plants could be used. It is best to delimit its living area with a 60-80 wide hard plastic buried at the same depth like it is available in garden shops as a root barrier for bamboo. The enclosed root space should certainly be 4-6 m². 

Fertilisation

After you buy sea buckthorn and once it has grown strongly in its garden location, it does not need to be watered or fertilised in autumn or spring. Even in occasional waterlogging, these shrubs are remarkably tolerant. Sea buckthorn planted in autumn can be treated with a little horn meal immediately afterwards at its new location. This bridges the initial period until the nitrogen-binding nodules are fully functional. For the rest of the time, it is sufficient if a little compost is worked into the soil around the shrub every few years. 

Pruning

We still have a few tips concerning pruning Hippophae rhamnoides, which has a great influence on the quantity and quality of the berries: 

  • Prune the harvested fruit shoots every two years to short stubs (it is best to do this in late winter, but it can also be done at harvest time and as a harvest measure, see below). This then leads to a strongly reduced yield in the intermediate year. If you own two or more of these plants, it is advantageous to prune alternately, so that there is always one shrub in full yield. In the first year after pruning, the shrub has recovered and formed new wood and in the second year, it will bear a huge harvest.
  • Thin out the shrub if necessary. As a rule of thumb, from the 4th year onwards, every second year (in the year of pruning...) a larger buckthorn branch should be cut back to a stub of 15 cm. If this is omitted, the sea buckthorn becomes higher and wider and only bears fruit in the outer part of the shrub, usually at a height that is almost impossible to harvest. 
  • The male fertiliser plant only needs to be cut back every three to four years and only half of its flowering shoots, so that pollen deficiency does not cause crop failures.

Tips for Harvesting

This plant protects itself with strong thorns, which naturally oppose the harvest. Anyone who does not wear thick gloves will have to expect injuries. However, sea buckthorn offers both poison and antidote: hand injuries can be rubbed with the disinfectant juice right away...

Of course, in response to the arming of this shrub, sea buckthorn lovers have developed countless clever harvesting methods, of which we present the three most important ones:

  1. Freezing: in industrial cultivation, the fruit shoots are cut off and mechanically frozen so that the fruit can be easily removed afterwards. Even the hobby grower can copy this by cutting off the fruit shoots together with the ripe fruit every 2nd year (see cutting section above), putting them into a freezer overnight and then shaking off the frozen fruit.
  2. Fork method: this method is a little more “small-scale”: the cut shoots are worked on at home on a comfortable garden chair by stripping the berries from the branch or twig with a fork.
  3. Shake method: the very ripe berries are harvested by placing a tarpaulin under the bush and shaking each branch vigorously so that the berries only have to be gathered together and collected.

Whichever method you choose, these berries should not be harvested too late. As soon as the fruits start to discolour, the taste climax is over – afterwards, there may be fermentation or even a rancid taste, but this does not disturb birds and wild animals.

Use

The orange-coloured berries are a real eye-catcher at harvest time. They are healthy, which can also be deduced from the honorary title 'Lemon of the North'.  And the impressive Hippophae rhamnoides provide us with very precious fruit in the truest sense of the word, considering that the price per litre for high-quality and 100% pure sea buckthorn juice ranges between 10 and 15 euros. These plants are not only worthwhile because of their attractive blossom and the high ornamental value of the shrubs, but also from a health point of view if we take a closer look under the attractive and carotenoid-containing skin of the berries.

The Healthy Constituents of the Sea Buckthorn Fruit

The following table gives an overview of the constituents of these orange superfood berries:

 

Fruits

Cooked

Jam

Juice

Portion (G)

125

125

25

200

kcal p.P.

118

122

72.5

174

Vitamin A (mg)

0.31

0.33

0.01

0.50

B.-carotene (mg)

1.88

1.96

0.07

3.02

Vitamin E (mg)

0.63

0.69

0.02

1.04

Vitamin K (µg)

12.5

13.8

0.50

22,0

Vitamin B1 (mg)

0.04

0.03

0.00

0.05

Vitamin B3 (mg)

0.38

0.31

0.01

0.50

Vitamin B5 (mg)

0.19

0.16

0.00

0.25

Vitamin B6 (mg)

0.14

0.11

0.00

0.18

Folic acid (µg)

8.75

3.75

0.00

0.18

Vitamin C (mg)

562

340

4.14

561

Source: Knaur Guidebook (recommended by the German Society for Nutritional Medicine (DGEM))

Markus Kobelt, our company founder and breeder at Lubera, has two of our 14-month-old sea buckthorn plants in the garden of the Ippenburg Castle and shows the harvesting of these on video.  When harvested, an approximately eight-year-old shrub of our Hippophae rhamnoides 'Botanica' yields around 15 to 20 kilograms of these oval fruits, which makes it a top-quality wild fruit tree in the garden. After all, these pseudo stone fruits – sea buckthorn fruits are not berries! – are incredibly healthy. HOW healthy the sea buckthorn plants are, however, does not depend on the best care or only on the pruning of your bushes, but on the geographical location and the weather. For example, 100 grams of the fruit harvested from the Baltic Sea contains around 200 milligrams of vitamin C, while the berries of a garden in the Alps contain a proud 1,300 milligrams of this vital substance. Only rose hips can compete with this because even lemons with their 50 milligrams or apples with a maximum of 20 milligrams of vitamin C are far behind the sea buckthorn, not to mention other vitamins, minerals and important trace elements. 

In addition to vitamin C and other vitamins and trace elements, sea buckthorn fruits contain an extremely valuable oil. These are unsaturated oleic acids in pure culture, which are particularly valuable for the human organism. Only five to ten of these berries, which are probably the best berries for snacking (eaten fresh every day), strengthen the immune system, have a prophylactic effect against cardiovascular diseases, prevent states of exhaustion and protect against health-threatening viruses in autumn or during the winter months.

Can the Fruits be Eaten Raw, Fresh and Unprocessed?

Anyone who knows about the health benefits of these berries will eat them fresh... however, the Russian varieties 'Botanica' and 'Gardeners Friend' require much less effort than older varieties, as they are not only less thorny but also taste much milder – probably because of the significantly increased oil content. A juice made out this variety already tastes very pleasant, actually downright palatable, almost like a smoothie – without sugar and without the addition of other fruit juices. We are currently testing newer varieties from Russia, which taste even more fruity and sweet, and we will soon enrich our range.

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