Selecting the Right Blueberry Bush for Your Garden
I want you to close your eyes and picture yourself on a summer morning. The sun is warm, the air dewy and you've stepped outside to pick a bowl of blueberries to make muffins or pancakes or sprinkle over your oatmeal. Imagine that – picking blueberries for breakfast in your PJs and bare feet! What a wonderful way to start to the day.
The good news is that it isn't hard to make this a reality. Blueberry shrubs are easy to grow and there is a type suitable for about any climate or garden space. In fact, you don't even need a garden because there are dwarf varieties that will thrive in containers.
When selecting a blueberry shrub for your garden there are a few characteristics to consider.
Pollination and Blueberries
Some blueberries require a companion blueberry for pollination to produce berries. This means you need to plant two of the same type-Highbush, Rabbiteye or Lowbush. Other blueberries are self pollinating so you can plant one shrub and expect a good amount of berries.
Mature Size of Blueberry Shrubs
Blueberries come in all shapes and sizes from 6 foot bushes to 2 foot groundcovers. If you have a small garden you don't want to plant a shrub that takes up too much space nor do you want to plant a petite grower in a large garden that will be dwarfed by the surrounding landscape.
Chilling Time for Blueberries
Blueberries require a certain amount of "chilling time" to produce fruits. Northern Highbush, Half-High and Lowbush blueberries are best suited for climates where winters are long and cold. Rabbiteye blueberries hail from the southeastern U.S. so will thrive in zones 7-9. Southern Highbush blueberries need even less chilling time and will thrive as far south as zone 10.
|Name||Hardiness Zones||Suitable for Warm Climates||Height||Self-Pollinating|
|Top Hat (Lowbush)||3-7||Yes||16-24 inches||Yes|
|Sunshine Blue* (southern Highbush)||5-10||Yes||36-48 inches||Yes, but performs better|
with a pollinator.
|Duke* (Northern Highbush)||4-7||No||48-72 inches||No|
|Bluecrop* (Northern Highbush)||4-7||No||48-72 inches||No|
|Misty Blue* (Southern Highbush)||5-10||Yes||48-72 inches||No|
|Northsky (Half-high)||3-7||No||12-16 inches||No|
* Part of the P. Allen Smith Edibles Collection