Growing Sea Buckthorn 102

Sea buckthorn after harvest. Cultivar, Mary.

Planning for optimum pollination.

Before planting your first seaberry trees, you will want to plan a few things carefully. Understanding the differences between the many sea buckthorn varieties will help you select the right ones to bring to your chosen market. Also, proper pollination is important to achieve a high yielding orchard. By carefully planning your male to female ratio, as well as, the placement of each seaberry plant, you will see amazing results in the productivity of your female shrubs.

It takes both male and female flowers to achieve fruit, and it can be difficult to tell whether you have a male or female in front of you until your shrubs have reached maturity. Professional growers will always mark the type and variety of the sea buckthorn plants they are selling. Keeping a close eye on where you plant each variety and type (m or f) is crucial to telling where each different sea buckthorn variety is located within your plantation. Creating a system to identify your different cultivars apart will be very practical for overall analysis and understanding of your harvests from year to year. The easiest time to tell male sea buckthorn apart from a female is when the berries are in full development on the branches because only female seaberries produce fruit. But a keen eye can tell them apart by a few other subtle clues. One way is by identifying the different flower buds that develop in early May. There is nothing showy about sea buckthorn flowers. The males will have a flower bud that resembles an upside-down pinecone and the female flowers are a simple tiny, yellow pistil that comes out from the young leaves. Another less obvious way to identify a male is the slight differences in the tone and shape of the mature leaves.

The proper placement and ratio of male to female sea buckthorn in a commercial orchard or homestead plantation will help ensure optimum pollination throughout the females.

Below are a couple of diagrams that show the suggested planting pattern for a seaberry plantation. Some growers will add a row of males along the most northwestern edge of the orchard so the spring winds will carry extra pollen onto the female flowers.

There are many sea buckthorn varieties to choose from.

Once you’ve determined how many males you’ll need to add to your plantation and where to place them. You’ll want to choose your female sea buckthorn varieties carefully. With the many great and not-so-great sea buckthorn cultivars out there to choose from, -you might ask yourself which ones are the best tasting, and for what purpose is each best suited? As we know, seaberry oil is famous for its healing properties. The oil is primarily used in cosmetics, such as creams, soaps, and serums. Sea buckthorn oil is also often sold as supplements in gel cap form. Sea buckthorn juice is highly nutritious and can be used in various food and beverage recipes. The berries are most often consumed daily as a natural way to keep a healthy immune system. Some varieties will produce lots of oil which would be less useful to, -let’s say, a brewer, who would be looking for a pronounced flavor in the berry but low oil content. While a berry with low oil content but a great flavor, such as Sunny or Chuyskaya, will be more adapted to juice blends and confections than a gel cap supplement.

Sea buckthorn varieties of German origin often produce small, sour berries with tiny stellate hairs on the skins, which make them generally unappealing for comestible products. A Leikora, for instance, would be best suited for use in oil extraction for cosmetic purposes.

Russian varieties are most delicious and often have no thorns along the branches, which makes them easy to harvest by hand. But these cultivars often weaken over time and will have less longevity of production. Trees will often die out after several years, or the yields will become less abundant over time.

Latvian cultivars are generally strong and vital for about 15 years or more. These are larger cultivars that produce bountiful yields from year to year when properly harvested. Fruits of these varieties have high levels of carotenoids (10 – 18 mg/100g), the average oil content is 4,7% – 6,4%, and they are the juiciest. Also, the largest sea buckthorn berries come from Latvian cultivars, with an average of 80 – 110 g/100 fruits. They are also smooth (without stellate hairs) and very tasty.

Canadian breeds of seaberry, such as; Harvest Moon, Indian Summer and Orange September, can produce good harvests for many years and often have very few thorns along the branches.

Having tested and tasted many popular sea buckthorn varieties available here in North America, we have summarized below a few lists of “the best of the best” in seaberry varieties.

Best in flavour for juice blends and comestible goods;


      • *Chuyskaya (also known as Star of Altai)

      • *Altaiskaya

      • *Prevoskhodnaya

      • **Gold Rain (Prozracnaya)

      • *Inya

    Best in flavour for brewing beers and kombuchas;


        • *Orange Energy

        • **Sunny

        • ***Caprice

        • ****Harvest Moon

      Best in oil content for cosmetic and supplement purposes;


          • **Mary (MARIJA BRUVELE)

          • ***Leikora


        Russian cultivar *

        Latvian cultivar **

        Germain cultivar ***

        Canadian cultivar ****

        Consider this before planting seabuckthorn seedlings.

        You might be thinking that planting inexpensive seedlings is the solution to building your homesteads sea buckthorn grove. A few things to consider when planting sea buckthorn grown from seed are;

        1, A seedling is essentially a wild plant. So your seedlings will grow extremely vigorous root systems which will have a much higher tendency to produce root suckers aggressively. These can easily turn into a wild thicket of thorns. Regular mowing around the base of each tree should keep its self-propagation at bay.

        2, Seedlings will not produce fruit until about six years after sprouting. During this time, it will be impossible to tell if you have female or male plants.

        3, Since sea buckthorn seedlings are wild and will have roughly a 30% difference from the genetics of their parent plant, you will not know what kind of seaberry you’ll end up with. Sea buckthorn grown from seed will likely be very thorny plants. The fruits most often are very sour with many stellate hairs. Making them less tasty for eating whole or baking purposes.

        Once you’ve chosen the right sea buckthorn varieties for your project, you will want to head over to my other blog post, Growing Sea Buckthorn 101, to learn about the importance of properly selecting and preparing your planting area.

        Do you have space for only a few seabuckthorn plants?

        We are wholesalers of various sea buckthorn products. We work primarily with resellers across North America to distribute our quality sea buckthorn shrubs, berries, and other products. We also help others build their own seabuckthorn plantations by providing advice and offering select seaberry varieties of the highest quality. Our sea buckthorn cultivars are recognized worldwide for their high commercial value.

        When purchasing sea buckthorn plants for delivery, we require a minimum order of twelve shrubs. For those of you who wish to purchase less than 12 seabuckthorn, please visit our resellers in Canada and the US.

        US, Oregon & West Coast

        One Green World.

        US, Minnesota & North East.


        Canada, Ontario

        Whiffletree Nurseries

        Want to continue exploring? Maybe these next articles will interest you:



        With 70% of our immune system residing in our gut, what we put into it, counts! Sea buckthorn juice is known to help achieve balanced nutrient intake, cold and flu resistance and increased energy levels.  It’s inflammation reducing antioxidants help athletes fight body fatigue, and the balanced Omegas fatty acids 3 – 6,  7* & 9, are considered to have a clear role in the prevention and healing of certain Atopic disorders.



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        6 Responses

        1. Greetings, I have loved sea buckthorn in Mongolia, Nepal and Kyrgyzstan, I would love to grow some here. What is the fewest number I could grow in my yard? Best Variety for juice/smoothies. Location of a reseller in Utah.

          1. Hi Tom, Thanks for leaving a comment. Wonderful that you love sea buckthorn too! You can plant as few as 2 plants in our back yard. To ensure pollination, you will need one male and at least one female plant. Sunny, Mary & Eva all make great-tasting juice/smoothies. You can reach out to either One Green World in Oregon or Honeyberry USA in Minnesota to purchase my plants.

        2. What is best soil type for sea buckthorn plants. What is recommended growing weather range…3 …4 or 5.

          1. Hi Erika, The best soil type for sea buckthorn is a sandy loam. Water should rain out easily but the substrate should have enough organic matter to hold some moisture. Sea buckthorn is hardy in zones 2b to 7a.

        3. Thanks for this information. I have a small orchard…about fifteen trees. This spring I noticed that many of the trees died over winter. They were about ten years old. I live in southern Ontario. The survivors, which are about seven years old, only have leaves on the outer ends of the branches. All the males are doing well. Any advice/thoughts would be appreciated.

          1. Hi Johanna, There are many factors that can kill off sea buckthorn so it is difficult for me to assume what happened based on your comment. It could be prolonged exposure to poorly draining soil, fungal infections, or simply that the cultivars were not appropriate for your climate. Also, if you have not done a rejuvenation cut harvest at all in the last ten years, this is a possible reason for the poor health of your female plants.
            Once sea buckthorn shrubs reach maturity and have been producing for a couple of years, it is good to do a full cut in the winter to stimulate fresh growth in the spring.

            It is important to note that this technique will only work on healthy, vital plants so if they are weak to begin with they will likely not survive a full cut back.

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