Blueberries at a Glance

Some type of blueberry bush can grow almost anywhere in North America. Learn how to grow organic blueberries for vitamin-rich snacks, baked goods and preserves. 

April/May 2013

By Barbara Pleasant 

The chart below offers tips for growing each type of blueberry, plus a list of the varieties we recommend. In addition to choosing a type of blueberry that suits your climate, plan to grow at least three plants of varying, compatible varieties. Local nurseries may offer ensembles of compatible varieties within the same species group. Learn more about organic blueberry cultivation in All About Growing Blueberries.

 

Type  Description  Varieties 

Blueberry,
lowbush
Vaccinium
angustifolium
 

Hardy to minus 25 degrees Fahrenheit, these are
great native shrubs for open woods with acidic soil.
Not as productive as other types, but great when
used as an edible ground cover along woodland
paths.
Wild plants transplant easily in early spring. Named varieties
such as ‘Top Hat’ are good for containers in cold climates.
Tasty ‘Brunswick’ and ‘Burgundy’ provide outstanding fall color.
Blueberry,
northern
highbush
V. corymbosum  
Best adapted to acidic soils in Zones 5 to 7,
but some varieties can survive minus-20-degree
winters. Long-lived, 5- to 6-foot upright bushes
bear heavy crops with little maintenance and
few pest problems.
Taste-test locally adapted varieties at a pick-your-own farm,
and choose three that ripen over a long period. Organically
enriched acidic soil brings out the best flavor in ‘Blue Moon,’
‘Jersey’ and other high-yielding varieties.
Blueberry,
southern
highbush
V. corymbosum
hybrids
 
Fruits resemble those of other highbush varieties,
but plants require little chilling, from 150 to 800
chilling hours. Good blueberries for Florida,
Southern California and other climates with mild
winters.
Can be grown in containers by pairing compatible varieties such as
‘Misty,’ ‘Emerald’ and ‘Jewel.’ Check with your local extension
service for variety recommendations, or visit local pick-your-own
farms.
Blueberry,
rabbiteye
V. ashei 
Hardy to about zero degrees, these are the best
blueberries for the South. Immature berries are
often pink, like a rabbit’s eye. Easy to grow in
fertile, acidic soil in Zones 7 and 8.
‘Tifblue,’ ’Woodard’ and ‘Brightwell’ are top varieties for flavor,
vigor and productivity. ‘Powderblue’ matures late and is quite
ornamental, turning yellow-orange in fall.
Saskatoon
Amelanchier
alnifolia
 

Hardy across the northern United States and
southern Canada, saskatoons aren’t true
blueberries, so they don’t need extremely acidic
soil. Depending on variety, saskatoons grow
into spreading bushes or small trees. They make
great landscape plants.

Varieties with superior flavor and productivity include ‘Martin,’
‘Northline’ and ‘Pembina.’ Fruits from ornamental varieties are
often weak compared with saskatoons grown for their fruit.
 Locate sources for these blueberry varieties with our custom Seed and Plant Finder.

Contributing editor Barbara Pleasant gardens in southwest Virginia, where she grows vegetables, herbs, fruits, flowers and a few lucky chickens. Contact Barbara by visiting her website or finding her on .





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