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 BushesClick thumbnail to view full-size
Types of Blueberries
There are four main types of blueberries:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
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
Chippewa - zones 3-7. Ripens mid-season
Polaris - zones 3-7. Ripens early
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
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
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.
Blueberry Growing Resources
- How to Grow Blueberries - Gardening Tips and Advice, Fruit Plants at Burpee.com - Burpee.com
Learn how to grow blueberry plants from the gardening experts at Burpee.com.
- Blueberries: Organic Production - Cornell University
This production guide addresses key aspects of organic blueberry production, including soils and fertility, cultural considerations, pests, and diseases, as well as marketing.