About 170 species of deciduous or evergreen shrubs, originating in Central South America, belong to the genus pernettya; for some years the genus gaultheria has been added to the genus pernettya, therefore Pernettya mucronata is synonymous with Gaultheria mucronata.
It is an evergreen shrub, of small size, which usually stays below 50-80 cm in height; there are dwarf varieties, with a height of less than 30 cm; it has a panel-like development, and a rounded shape, with very dense ramifications.
The foliage is bright green, small, leathery and quite thick; in late spring they produce many white flowers, followed by the fruits, which ripen in autumn, remaining on the plant until the following spring: the fruits are roundish, with a diameter of 1-2 cm, red in color; there are many cultivars with white or pink fruits. Pernettye are dioecious plants, this means that there are plants that produce only male flowers, without producing fruits, and plants that produce only female flowers, which produce fruits. To have abundant fruit production it is necessary to plant at least one male specimen near the female plants. The fruits of pernettya mucronata are edible.
Pernezia plants from Chile are grown in a sunny or semi-shady position to allow them to receive sunlight for several hours a day; pernezia mucronata and gaultheria are hardy and resistant varieties, they do not fear the cold and can bear even long periods of continuous frost without problems. However, it may happen that particularly adverse climatic conditions cause the fruit to fall during the winter months.
From April to September it is necessary to water the Pernezia of Chile when the soil is dry, especially if the conditions of drought persist. It is good to check that the earth around the Pernezia of Chile remains humid but does not appear stagnations that could cause the formation of molds that could compromise its health.
In autumn and winter in general the climate is sufficiently humid to allow us to avoid watering. During the vegetative period, provide fertilizer for green plants, every 20-25 days, mixed with the irrigating water.
These plants prefer soft and fresh, well drained and acid soils, free of limestone. In the planting phase it is advisable to mix fertile soil, peat and sand to ensure proper support for the growth of the plant.
To multiply the plants of Pernezia del Chile in September, the semi-woody cuttings with a foot of cm. 7-10 cm and are placed to root in soil mixed with sand after having treated them with rooting hormone.
For the selection, reproduction by seed is used in October in a cold box, it is sown in non-calcareous compost.
Pernezia of Chile - Pernettya mucronata: Parasites and diseases
Pernettya mucronata is a fairly rustic and resistant plant in the natural environment. Usually it suffers from root rot, which manifests itself with the sudden collapse of the plant with consequent leaf decay. It is hardly affected by parasites and diseases.