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Blueberry Varieties - Characteristics, Ripening Order and More
The first cultivated blueberries were developed in New Jersey in theearly 1900's. Since, many plant breeders have developed new varieties,suitable for growing in almost all parts of North America and Europe.They have different ripening dates, flavor variations and even differentcolors, aside from blue!
Major branches of the blueberry family
There are 4 main types of blueberries:
- Northern Highbush blueberry varieties which grow best in thenorthern U.S. and Canada
- Southern Highbush blueberries do well in moderate areas likesouthern parts of the north and the northern parts of the South (thinkTN, KY, VA, NC, and west coast) but they are not as commonly grown aseither northern highbush nor rabbiteye types.
- Rabbiteye Blueberries are best suited for the Southeast, andthe Southern Hemisphere.
- Lowbush - typically wild varieties. More commonly grownin Maine and other parts of New England. Intense flavor.
While the true blueberry is a native American, there are similarberries around the world. Most are closely related to blueberries
- Aroniaberries - alsocallled Chokecherries
- Bilberries - smaller cousins of the blueberry in Europe
- Bblaeberry in Scotland and Ireland, smaller, intense flavor;like a bilberry-
- Honeyberries - Honeyberries are not related to blueberries, but they are blueberries! Related to honeysuckle,(Lonicera caerulea) they are alsocalled haskap berry, blue-berried honeysuckle, deepblue honeysuckle,and sweetberry honeysuckleThey are edible with an unusual sweet andtart flavor.
- Huckleberries - larger blue berries, a bit less sweet,common to the northern US and Canada
- Saskatoons - Canadians know about Saskatoons. They are native to westernCanada and the northwest of the U.S.. They are larger, a bitless sweet; almost identical to a Huckleberry, with a hint ofapple.
- Serviceberries - another name for Saskatoons
- Whorlberry or whortleberry grown in the UnitedKingdom. Much like a bilberry.
Varieties of Blueberries in general order of ripening
Since the varieties planted are selected for the climate and area,we've grouped these to be most useful to you, by their general typefollowed by order of ripening. Keep in mind, the actual ripening datesand even the order can vary considerably from farm to farm, year toyear, state to state; so take this as general order!
Northern Highbush Blueberries
Northern highbush blueberries are generally self-fertile; but you'llget larger and earlier ripening berries if you plant several differentcultivars (varieties) close by for cross-pollination. For those in thenortheast, see RutgersUniversity Blueberry Growing Guide
Below,Alphabettical within season
- Bluetta - very hardy, small dark berries
- Collins - medium size, light blue berries with excellent quality isexcellent.
- Duke - large, easy to pick. Mild, low acidity.
- Earliblue (or Early Blue) - one of the earliest, very popular
- Hannah's Choice - medium large fruit with high sugar content,firmer, better flavored than Duke.
- Reka - Medium size with strong huckleberry-like flavor.
- Spartan - firm and very large, very good flavor. later than otherearly varieties, large crop.
- Sunrise - Large size and excellent flavor, not as heavy yielding asDuke
Late Early to early Mid-season
- Patriot - large, firm berries, early bloom, but more midseason ripening.
- Toro - large size, easy to pick, good flavor.
- Weymouth - excellent flavor, a derivative of the wild varieties .
- Berkeley - light blue, firm and very large with very goodstoring but only average flavor
- Bluecrop - Medium to large size, variable picking; old varietytaste.
- Bluejay - moderate crops of medium, sized, high quality fruit
- Blueray - medium size with good flavor and high yieldsl
- Cara's Choice - medium sized fruit with 30% more sugar than Duke orBluecrop and the berries stay good on the plant for an extended period
- Chippewa - large firm fruit, productive and winter hardy
- Draper - very good fllavor
- Hardyblue - Small size but easy to pick; sweetest berry. Good forcooking.
- Legacy - Large, firm, sweet, aromatic, excellent flavor and storeswell
- Northland - medium sized, dark,soft berries; extremelyproductive
- Nui - Very large size and excellent flavor but light yields
- Olympia - Medium to small size, excellent flavor
- Rubel- derived from a wild variety, small, firm, dark berries,similar to low bush varieties, but only average flavor
- Sierra - large firm berries
Mid to late season
- Bluegold - Medium to large size, yields vary from season to season
- Chandler - Very popular due to its large size and good flavor.
- Darrow - Their size varies, easy to pick; excellent flavor. /li>
- Nelson - Large size, very good flavor, the berries can stay onthe bush for extended periods.
- Aurora - a new variety, 5 days after Elliot; firm , large berriesthat store well; very good yield.
- Brigitta - large, firm, flavorful fruit that stores well. The plantgrows late into the fall
- Coville - Large, firm, highly aromatic, tart, very good flavor
- Elliot - Late season, large size, easy to pick; tart flavor. Verygood shelf life, 30-45 days in a fridge, Beware not to pick early, turnsblue before ripe.
- Liberty - ripens 5 days before Elliot with better flavor. Storeswell
- Jersey - an old cultivar dating to 1928, small, soft berries
Southern Highbush Blueberries
Don't let the name fool you; while these can be grown in hotclimates, they are still more difficult than rabbiteye varieties and arebetter suited for warmer areas of the North. If you do plant these, you should plant severaldifferent cultivars (varieties) of them close by for cross-pollination
Rabbiteye Blueberry Varieties
Be sure to plant more than one variety for cross-pollination toensure good fruit setting. This is important for Rabbiteye's! See thisUGa article for information about growing rabbiteye blueberriesAlso, this artiicle byTexas A and M has more Rabbiteye Blueberry Growing information. Andfor those on the west coast, see thisSFGate Article about Rabbiteye Varieties
- Austin - large, blue firm berries with good flavor,
- Alapaha - medium sized with good flavor and smaller seeds
- Climax - large, medium-dark blue and good flavor.
- Delite - small and light blue, pretty but not a consistent producer
- Montgomery - very productive, medium to large berries, good firmnessand flavor
- Premier - Large berries with good flavor. The plants are vigorous,disease resistant, and productive.
- Prince - blooms a few days before Climax, medium sized berries, withgood color, firmness and flavor
- Savory - large berries with light blue color, and good firmness andflavor, but the plant is susceptible to fungus.
- Titan - largest berries
- Vernon - large berries
- Woodard - large, light blue.
Late early to early mid-season
- Briteblue- moderately vigorous, firm, large, lightblue berries, good producer.
- Brightwell - medium in size, medium blue color, vigorous plants thatproduce many new canes
- Garden Blue - very small, light blue berries
- Powderblue - disease-resistant, and productive, similar to Tifbluebut more leafy plant, holds up to rainy periods better
- Tifblue - large, round, light blue, sweet, very firm, staysgood on the plant for days, most productive of all rabbiteye varieties
- Baldwin - good flavor and firm, dark blue fruit; with a longripening period; good for home gardeners and U-pick
- Centurion - Ripens after Tifblue; good flavored berries, mediumfirmness, darker than Tifblue..
- Ochlockonee - medium sized with good flavor and smaller seeds
- Sharpblue - developed at the University of Florida for areasreceiving 600 hours or less of temperatures below 45 degrees.
New Pink Rabbiteye Varieties
- Pink Lemonade - Pink blueberries, with a great, very sweet flavor
- Pink Champagne - Even better than pink Lemonade, in my opinion;more antioxidants and sweeter than blue blueberries.
If you pick blueberries and have seen little white worms in the berries: That is most likely SWD, spotted wing drosophila, the grub orlarval form of a fly. See this page about Spotted Wind Drosophila, identification and controls
Generally only growing up to 18 inches tall
- Top Hat is- used for ornamental landscaping
- Ruby carpet - grows well in USDA zones 3-7.
- The world's best Blueberry pie,recipe and directions and illustrated!
- Blueberry buckle coffee cake:illustrated directions for this great crumb-topping blueberry coffee cake
- Other easy directions tomake blueberry desserts: cobblers, etc.
Canning and freezing Blueberries:
- How to FreezeBlueberries
- How to Can Blueberries
- How to Make Homemade BlueberryJam
- How to make blueberry jelly
- How to make and can blueberrysyrup (it works for strawberries, raspberries and blackberries, too)
- blueberry pie filling to use later,
- blueberry butter
What is the best variety of blueberries? ›
The best selection is the highbush blueberry (Vaccinium corymbosum), our native species which is ideally suited to all three growth zones of the Garden State. Highbush blueberry cultivars have an inherent resistance to many diseases of fruit, flower, and foliage.What variety of blueberry is the sweetest? ›
Legacy berries were the sweetest of the three, with floral undertones, and the Drapers were pleasingly tart. (If Legacy blueberries are Golden Delicious, then Drapers are Granny Smith—i.e. ideal for a pie.)How many types of blueberry are there? ›
In all, there are nearly 150 varieties of blueberry and bilberry although not all of them are edible. What is this? When it comes to fresh picking and eating, there are about 30 varieties of blueberry worthy of your attention. These can be divided into three categories: the lowbush, the highbush, and the rabbiteye.What is the largest blueberry variety? ›
Chandler is the largest, juicy blueberry on the market.How do I identify blueberry varieties? ›
When identifying blueberries in spring through late summer, look for flowers and fruit. The flowers begin as tear-drop shaped buds, developing into bell-shaped flowers in clusters of 5 to 10 blooms. Many blueberry varieties have white flowers, but some cultivars have pink blossoms.Where are the best blueberries? ›
Top Blueberry Growing Countries In The World.
|Rank||Country||Tons of Blueberries Produced|
Our latest varieties, begin harvest in late August about 90 days after bloom. This is for northern highbush. In southern California, you would want to grow the southern highbush varieties and there the range is 55 to 60 days. For Rabbiteye blueberries the range is 60 to 135 days.What time of year are blueberries ripe? ›
Harvest time for blueberries, which are native to North America, is from early June through early August. Blackberry harvest is from mid- June to early October. These delicious fruits offer several health benefits, and they capture the essence of summer in their sweetness.Do you need 2 different varieties of blueberries? ›
Planting at least two varieties is best, as more berries of larger size will be produced if flowers are fertilized with pollen from another variety. Bumblebees and other native insects are enthusiastic pollinators of blueberries. The more insects working the plants, the more fruit you will harvest.What are different varieties of blueberries? ›
There are five major varieties of blueberry grown in the United States: lowbush, northern highbush, southern highbush, rabbiteye, and half-high. Of these, northern highbush blueberry varieties are the most common types of blueberries cultivated throughout the world.
How do blueberries ripen? ›
Placing the berries in a paper bag and storing them in a cool place will allow the fruit to ripen. If you add an apple, banana, or avocado to the bag, the berries ripen more quickly. Keep in mind that this will soften immature berries, but it will not sweeten sour berries.Why are my blueberries not ripening? ›
The most likely reason for blueberries that won't ripen is the type of berry. Some varieties require longer periods of cold winter temps to fruit properly. If you live in a warmer region, the plants may not have had a long enough chill period.What is the best fertilizer for blueberry bushes? ›
Most fertilizers for container-grown blueberries can work perfectly with the blueberries that grow in soil. Fertilizer with nitrogen in the form of urea or ammonium is perfect for the blueberries that grow in a container. Ammonium sulfate (21-0-0) is among the best nitrogen fertilizer.Which blueberries are self pollinating? ›
Dwarf blueberries grow in containers and stay under two feet tall. They can self-pollinate, too, but pollen from a neighbor makes a better crop yield for these tiny guys.What are small blueberries called? ›
In commercial production of blueberries, the species with small, pea-size berries growing on low-level bushes are known as "lowbush blueberries" (synonymous with "wild"), while the species with larger berries growing on taller, cultivated bushes are known as "highbush blueberries".What is meant by highbush blueberry? ›
Definition of highbush blueberry
: a variable moisture-loving North American shrub (Vaccinium corymbosum) that is the source of most cultivated blueberries also : its fruit.
BLUEBERRY | How Does it Grow? - YouTubeDo you need 2 different varieties of blueberries? ›
Planting at least two varieties is best, as more berries of larger size will be produced if flowers are fertilized with pollen from another variety. Bumblebees and other native insects are enthusiastic pollinators of blueberries. The more insects working the plants, the more fruit you will harvest.Why are my blueberries not sweet? ›
A common cause of sour blueberry fruit is over-production on a bush. If your bush is newly planted, you'll get sweeter, bigger berries if you remove all blossoms for the first year or two to allow the root system to establish.When should blueberries be planted? ›
Blueberries should be planted either in fall by mid-October or in early spring after severe freeze danger has passed. When you receive your plants, check them to make sure that they look healthy and the roots are moist. For best results, planting should be done within a day or two of arrival.
How long do blueberries take to ripen? ›
Our latest varieties, begin harvest in late August about 90 days after bloom. This is for northern highbush. In southern California, you would want to grow the southern highbush varieties and there the range is 55 to 60 days. For Rabbiteye blueberries the range is 60 to 135 days.What soil is best for blueberry plants? ›
Blueberries prefer acidic soils. A fail-safe way to grow blueberries in almost any soil is to incorporate peat moss into the planting medium. For planting directly in the ground, work up a planting area approximately 2½ feet in diameter and 1 foot deep for each plant. Remove 1/3 to 1/2 of the soil.Which blueberries are self pollinating? ›
Dwarf blueberries grow in containers and stay under two feet tall. They can self-pollinate, too, but pollen from a neighbor makes a better crop yield for these tiny guys.