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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

Blueberry in Container

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.

NameHardiness ZonesSuitable for Warm ClimatesHeightSelf-Pollinating
Top Hat (Lowbush)3-7Yes16-24 inchesYes
Sunshine Blue* (southern Highbush)5-10Yes36-48 inchesYes, but performs better
with a pollinator.
Duke* (Northern Highbush)4-7No48-72 inchesNo
Bluecrop* (Northern Highbush)4-7No48-72 inchesNo
Jersey*3-8Yes48-72 inchesNo
O'Neal*5-9Yes48-72 inchesNo
Misty Blue* (Southern Highbush)5-10Yes48-72 inchesNo
Northsky (Half-high)3-7No12-16 inchesNo

* Part of the P. Allen Smith Edibles Collection