Long grown as a wind and salt tolerant hedging shrub, adaptable to a wide range of climatic zones and soil types, sea buckthorn is also a valuable nitrogen fixing plant. In many northern temperate countries the plant is highly valued for its berries, which are produced on a large scale for processing into juice and medicinal products. Careful plant breeding over the last 40 years has produced a range of cultivars particularly suited to berry production. The berries are exceptionally high in Vitamin C, typically containing 10 to 100 times as much as an apple weight for weight. The berries are also rich in carotenoids and Vitamin E, amino acids and other antioxidants.
Worldwide, indigenous sea buckthorn covers an estimated 1 million hectares, with a further 300,000-500,000 hectares of plantation or orchard. Wild sea buckthorn habitats typically yield 0.2-0.75 tonne of berries per hectare, with yields of 5 tonnes per hectare occurring in German orchards populated with selected cultivars, and even higher yields being recorded elsewhere. Individual bushes can produce up to 7kg of berries per annum.
Sea buckthorn extracts have been used in the treatment of a wide range of medical conditions incuding cancer, heart disease and burns. For the last few decades, it has been the subject of an enormous amount of research, initially in the Soviet Union and Russia, but also in China, India, Nepal, Pakistan, Canada, Sweden, Finland and Germany. Sea buckthorn is extremely hardy and can tolerate temperatures down to -40 Celsius. It has been used as a pioneer plant on former industrial sites and also in a defensive capability in areas threatened by soil erosion.
Sea buckthorn probably ranks in the world top 20 most useful plants.
For more information please refer to the research page.
Sea buckthorn is dioecious, meaning there are male and female plants. Only the female plants bear fruit. However,in order to achieve pollination, both male and female cultivars must be grown in the same area. Only a small number of male plants are needed, typically five to ten males per one hundred female plants.
Please note that sea buckthorn sold as a hedging plant in conventional nurseries will generally be a random mix of unnamed male and female plants grown from seed, and will be very slow to bear fruit. The difference between named cultivars propagated vegetatively and random seed-grown plants is comparable to the difference between named cultivars of walnut or chestnut, and trees grown from seed. Although probably not a good choice if fruit production is the main objective, seed-grown sea buckthorn can be useful for planting on derelict industrial sites as nitrogen fixers, soil stabilisers/improvers and for biomass production (see below).
The named cultivars of sea buckthorn sold here are of German origin and have been propagated specifically for high quality fruit production. They are more suitable for the Atlantic climate than Russian or Finnish named cultivars and will come into fruit early in life.
Sea buckthorn grows into a large shrub and can be planted up to 5 meters apart. For a good fruiting hedge (as opposed to a tight wind-break), plant one to two meters apart in in double rows one and a half to two meters between each row.
Although it will succeed in a wide variety of climatic conditions, sea buckthorn will generally fail in waterlogged ground. It prefers well drained ground with a pH of 6.0-7.0, but will tolerate a pH of between 5.5 and 8.0. It will thrive in coastal zones and has high tolerance of salt.
Large container-grown plants in 15 litre pots
Female cultivars (100-150 cm high) €17.65 ea
These plants have the potential to fruit in 2013
Varieties available: (female) Askola, Hergo, Orange Energy, Sirola.
Male cultivars (80-120 cm high) €13 ea
Varieties available: (male) Pollmix 1, Pollmix 3
Availability: In stock
Medium-sized container-grown plants (50-80 cm high) €8.20 ea
Bulk offer: 10 or more plants (any cultivars) €6.50 ea, 100 or more plants €5.30 ea.
Varieties available female: Askola, Hergo, Leikora, Orange Energy, Sirola. Varieties male: Pollmix 1, Pollmix 3
All varieties in stock
Male Cultivars (Plant one male plant per five to ten females to ensure adequate pollination.
Seed-grown Sea Buckthorn
Seed-grown Sea Buckthorn is suitable for hedging situations where fruit production is of secondary importance. Very wind resistant and frost hardy. Requires well-drained ground. A good choice for the most exposed site. Random mixture of male and female plants.
Strong barerooted plants (100-140cm high) €4.20 ea, 20 or more plants €3.60 ea, 100 or more plants €3 ea, 500 or more plants €2.40 ea
Strong barerooted plants (60-100cm high) €3.20 ea, 20 or more plants €2.40 ea, 100 or more plants €2.10 ea
Smaller barerooted plants (40-60cm high) 10-20 or more plants €1.80 ea,20-99 plants €1.80 ea, 100-500 plants €1.45 ea, 500 or more plants €1.15 ea
Delivery charges on bare-rooted and small container-grown sea buckthorn
The following rates apply when ordered separately: 1-10 plants: €15.00
Orders may be also collected by arrangement from our premises in Westport. Stocks of some cultivars are limited so early ordering is advised in order to avoid disappointment.
Sea buckthorn seeds
Seed-grown sea buckthorn can be used in many applications, most notably the reclamation of former industrial sites and other derelict land. The least labour-intensive method of getting plants established is to roll the seed into balls of a mix of compost and binding agent (two or three seeds per ball) and lob into the target area. For more controlled production, sow individual seeds into pots or into a seed bed and transplant to final location after one year.
Please note that sea buckthorn can prove invasive in certain circumstances, notably on sand dune systems and in areas of high alkalinity where there is limited competition from existing shrubs or trees. Never scatter sea buckthorn seeds into natural ecosystems unless it is native to that particular region (sea buckthorn is not native to Ireland).
Sea buckthorn seeds require stratification: a chilling period of about four months that triggers than seed into germination once conditions warm up. Stratification can be carried out in a fridge at home: simply mix the seeds into moist compost, wrap in a plastic bag and put into the bottom of the fridge for four months. The bag should be opened once a week to let in fresh air - this reduces the risk of rot. The optimum temperature is around or slightly above freezing point.
Sea buckthorn seeds can be collected in the wild or bought from specialist sources. We sell ready-to-go pre-stratified seed, of French provenance. The price is €10.00 for about 500 seeds, or €5.00 for 200 seeds, both prices inclusive of postage. The seed can be supplied from the end of March until the beginning of June.
Additional ordering information
Please use the printable order form provided or simply list the items on a sheet of paper. Add up the total, including carriage if applicable. Do not forget to include your own address and phone number. Payment should be by cheque postal order or bank draft, made payable to the Sustainability Institute.
The Sustainability Institute