Grow Great Blueberries

Blueberries are Easy to Grow

If you've hesitated to plant blueberry bushes because you think they might be difficult to care for, nothing could be farther from the truth! These bushes are virtually maintenance free when planted in the right soil and agricultural zone. With proper care, the bushes will last for decades and produce bushels of blueberries for your family and friends to enjoy.

There are literally dozens of different blueberry bush varieties that you can choose from. Some will fruit early in the growing season, some towards the middle and quite a few towards the end of the season. Some of the varieties are very cold hardy so that even people who have heavy winters can enjoy blueberries too. If you're interested in growing blueberry bushes, read on to learn how you can easily add them to your property.

Blueberry Bushes

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Autumn blueberry bush.  Photo by Joy Prescott at dreamstime.com.Blueberries ripening.  Photo by Charlotte E. Gerber.Ripened blueberries on bush.  Photo by Charlotte E. Gerber.
Autumn blueberry bush.  Photo by Joy Prescott at dreamstime.com.
Autumn blueberry bush. Photo by Joy Prescott at dreamstime.com.
Blueberries ripening.  Photo by Charlotte E. Gerber.
Blueberries ripening. Photo by Charlotte E. Gerber.
Ripened blueberries on bush.  Photo by Charlotte E. Gerber.
Ripened blueberries on bush. Photo by Charlotte E. Gerber.

Types of Blueberries

There are four main types of blueberries:

  1. Highbush - may grow to a height of 6 feet or more. The fruit may be as large as an inch across. Grows best in zones 4-11.
  2. Half-high - grows to a height of 3-4 feet. The fruit is between the size of a nickle or dime. This type grows best in zones 3-11.
  3. Lowbush - grows to a height of 1-2 feet. The fruit is about the size of a dime. This type grows best in zones 3-6.
  4. Rabbiteye - grows to a height of 10 feet or more. The fruit size varies, between a quarter and a dime. Grows best in zones 7-9.

Blueberry Varieties

There are many blueberry varieties to choose from and there are more varieties developed each year. It is important to choose varieties that will grow best in your zone, as well as ones that will fit in your landscape. Blueberry bushes can be used for the fruit and in some cases as a tall privacy hedge. Heavy-bearing and tall varieties will need more pruning than other varieties. Consider your needs before purchasing them, especially if you want a low maintenance shrub.

High-Bush Varieties:

Atlantic - zones 4-7. Ripens mid-season

Ivanhoe - zones 4-7. Ripens early

Jersey - zones 4-7. Ripens late

Blueray - zones 4-7. Ripens very early

Bluecrop - zones 4-7. Ripens early

Herbert - zones 4-7. Ripens mid-season

Patriot S.H. - zones 4-7. Ripens early. (Very cold hardy)

Northland - zones 4-7. Ripens early (Very cold hardy)

Elliott S.H. - zones 4-7. Ripens late (Very cold hardy)

Early Bluejay - zones 4-7. Ripens early (Very cold hardy)

Bluegold - zones 4-7. Ripens mid-season

Chandler - zones 4-7. Ripens mid to late season. Known as the world's largest blueberry

Southern High Bush Varieties

Bluecrisp - zones 7-11. Ripens mid-season

Emerald - zones 7-11. Ripens early

Gulf Coast - zones 7-11. Ripens mid-season

Jewel - zones 7-11. Ripens very early

Milennia - zones 7-11. Ripens early

Misty - zones 7-11. Ripens mid-season

Santa Fe - zones 7-11. Ripens early

Sapphire - zones 7-11. Ripens early

Sharpblue - zones 7-11. Ripens early

Southmoon - zones 7-11. Ripens mid-season

Star - zones 7-11. Ripens early

Windsor - zones 7-11. Ripens early

Half-High Varieties

Chippewa - zones 3-7. Ripens mid-season

Polaris - zones 3-7. Ripens early

Low-Bush Varieties

Northblue S.H. - zones 3-7. Ripens mid-season

Northcountry S.H. - zones 3-7. Ripens mid-season

Northsky S.H. - zones 3-7. Ripens mid-season

Rabbiteye Varieties

Austin - zones 7-9. Ripens early

Beckyblue - zones 7-9. Ripens early

Bonita - zones 7-9. Ripens early

Climax - zones 7-9. Ripens early

Premier - zones 7-9. Ripens early

Brightwell - zones 7-9. Ripens mid-season

Chaucer - zones 7-9. Ripens mid-season

Powderblue - zones 7-9. Ripens mid-season

Tifblue - zones 7-9. Ripens mid-season



Planting Blueberries

Blueberries can work in almost landscape, provided they have acidic soil.  These acid-loving plants actually like poor soil, especially if it is amended with pine bark mulch.  They may also be fed soil acidifier in the spring of the year, which can be purchased locally at a nursery or gardening center.

Blueberry plants are usually purchased as bareroot stock, usually 1-2 feet tall.  Planting them is easy.  Simply dig a hole that is twice as wide as the height of the plant.  Amend the soil if needed.  Create a mound in the hole and place the plant's root system over the mound, carefully spreading the roots apart.  Cover the roots and mulch the plant with pine bark.  Water frequently for the first two weeks, keeping the soil moist, but not soaking wet.  Once the plants are established, cut the watering to once a week unless there is a draught in your area.

Most plants will produce fruit in the third year, with crops increasing in size each successive year. 

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