A White Flower Was Crossed With A Red Flower Five Types of Blueberry Plants and Their Characteristics

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Five Types of Blueberry Plants and Their Characteristics

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Five types of blueberry plants are commonly grown. This article lists and discusses these and their features. A few examples of popular varieties are also listed for each type.

1. : Tall bush in the north Vaccinium corymbosum – These are high hardy varieties requiring 800 to 1,000 chill hours for zones 3-7. Northern highbush blueberry is a species of blueberry native to the eastern northeastern United States. They are a high-winter variety and are the most widely cultivated blueberries in the world. If these northern high-bush varieties do not receive the required number of cooling hours, they will not produce. These shrubs are rated from Zone 3 to Zone 7, which includes most of the central, western, midwestern, and eastern United States, as well as parts of Canada. These cultivars range in shrub size from short and compact to tall and bare. Berries range in size from ¼” to 1″ in diameter and dark blue to light blue in color. Northern highbush blueberries require at least 800 chill hours for proper fruit set. All cultivars are self-pollinating but multiple cultivars produce better yields.

Some examples include:

  • Bluecrop is recommended for growing in zones 4 through 7.
  • The Bluegold is also sometimes listed as a semi-high breed because of its short stature and parentage. Recommended for growing in zones 4 through 7.
  • Bluray is recommended for growing in zones 3 through 7.
  • Duke is recommended for growing in zones 4 through 7.
  • Elliot is recommended for growing in zones 4 through 7.
  • Hardyblue is recommended for growing in zones 4 through 8.
  • Jersey is recommended for growing in zones 4 to 7.
  • Legacy is recommended for growing in zones 5 through 8.
  • The Patriot is also sometimes listed as a half-high breed because of its short stature and parentage. Recommended for growing in zones 3 through 7.
  • Rubel is a type of wild highbush. Recommended for growing in zones 4 through 7.

2.: Southern Hibush (Vaccinium corymbosum hybrid) — Southern hibushs are typically hybridized for excellent fruiting, soil compatibility, heat tolerance and low winter chill. The Southern Highbush Blueberry is a cross between the Northern Highbush Blueberry and the native Southern species, giving it a greater adaptability range than either of its parents. Southern tall shrub tolerates a wide range of soil conditions and temperature variations. The fruits are smaller than Rabbiteye blueberries but no less tasty. These are less cold varieties requiring 150 to 800 chill hours for use in zones 5 to 10. Most southern tall trees are self-pollinating, but two cultivars planted together will produce larger berries. These varieties require less winter chill. “Chilling” is a measure of accumulated hours of temperatures below 45°F but above 32°F during the dormant season.

Some examples include:

  • Jubilee is recommended for growing in zones 5 through 9.
  • It is recommended to grow in misty zones 5 to 10.
  • Onal is recommended for growing in zones 5 to 9.
  • Sharpblue is recommended for growing in zones 7 through 9.
  • Sunshine Blue is recommended for growing in zones 5 to 10.
  • Golf Coast is recommended for growing in zones 6 through 10.
  • Ozarkblue is recommended for growing in zones 5 through 9.

3. : Half-High Blueberry (Vaccinium corymbosum x V. angustifolium)

The term semi-high blueberries is used for a group of blueberry bushes with similar characteristics. They are the result of a cross between wild selections of northern highbush and lowbush blueberries. They will only grow 2 to 4 feet. Tall are generally hardy varieties for zones 3 through 7 and require 1,000 to 1,200 chill hours. In recent years, agricultural research centers have released several new “semi-high” blueberry plants. All of these varieties have the “wild” flavor of their parents. Half-highs were bred for exceptional cold hardiness but are truly excellent ornamental landscape plants wherever they grow. All theses varieties have stunning fall colors. In general, these shrubs will be able to partially pollinate themselves, although they will always do well with another variety with which they can cross-pollinate.

Some examples include:

  • Northcountry– His parentage is (G65X Ashworth) X R2P4 Univ. of Minnesota. It grows successfully in zones 3 through 7.
  • Northski–.His parentage is (G65 X Ashworth) X R2P4 Univ. of Minnesota. It grows successfully in zones 3 through 7.
  • Northland – Its source is the University of Michigan. It grows successfully in zones 3 through 7.
  • Polaris – His parentage is Bluetta X (G65 X Ashworth). It grows successfully in zones 3 through 7.
  • Bluegold – Its parentage is Blue Heaven x (Ashworth x Bluecrop). It grows successfully in zones 4 through 7.
  • Friendship – Its source is native plant seedlings growing near Friendship, WI. It grows successfully in zones 3 through 7.
  • Patriot – His parentage is US3 X Earliblue Univ. of Maine. It grows successfully in zones 3 through 7.

4. : Wild lowbush blueberries (Vaccinium angustifolium sp.) are high-chill cultivars for zones 3 through 7 and require 1,000 to 1,200 chill hours. Wild lowbush blueberries are a fruit crop native to Atlantic Canada, Quebec, and the states of Maine. Wild blueberries have grown naturally for thousands of years. They are shorter in height and, unlike their highbush cousins, spread primarily by rhizomes, or underground runners, which grow new roots and stems. A mature planting can form a dense ground cover. Profuse white flowers yield small light blue fruit with a distinctive “wild” blueberry flavor. Annual pruning is not necessary but responds well to two-thirds of the growth being cut back in late winter every second or third year. They are great candidates for landscape borders.

Some examples include:

  • Top hat is a lowbush, dwarf type of cultivar. Top hat is used strictly for decorative landscape and container purposes. Recommended for growing in zones 3-7.
  • Ruby Carpet is a lowbash selection developed by the state of Maine. Recommended for growing in zones 3-7. Plants will be 4 to 6 inches tall at maturity and will spread out to form a red carpet.

5. Rabbiteye blueberries, Vaccinium ashei are short-winter varieties for zones 7 through 9.

Rabbiteye blueberries have become popular throughout the South. Part of the popularity of rabbiteye blueberries may be due to the identification of some of the major pests of rabbiteye blueberries. Rabbiteye species are native to the southeastern United States. Rabbiteye plants are more vigorous, easier to care for and live longer than most southern varieties. They can handle drought better than highbush blueberries. They can grow well in soils with low organic matter content. Rabbiteye blueberries are generally firmer than thick-skinned southern varieties. The seeds are somewhat different from highbush. Their post-harvest shelf life is exceptional and generally superior to highbush. Demand for blueberries has increased as more is known about the health benefits of blueberries. Southerners don’t often discover the great quality of rabbiteye blueberries.

Rabbiteye pests of blueberries

A gall midge, rabbiteye is a newly discovered pest of blueberries in the southeastern US. Midge larvae feed inside and destroy flower buds, resulting in lower yields. Rabbiteye blueberry cultivars vary greatly in their resistance to blueberry gall midge infestations. Powderblue and Brightwell are highly resistant to flower bud damage; Climax, and Tiffblue are moderately susceptible; And the premiere is highly sensitive. Most southern highbush blueberry cultivars are highly resistant to flower bud damage.

Some examples include:

  • Premier- This is a mid-season early ripening rabbit that produces high yields of firm delicious fruit. They are recommended for growing in zones 7 through 9.
  • Climax- This is a mid-season ripening blueberry with great flavor! The fruits are firm and an excellent choice for fresh and processing markets. They are recommended for growing in zones 7 through 9.
  • Powderblue- This is the most attractive rabbit blueberry that ripens late. The fruits are medium in size and are easily removed from the plant. The taste is sweet. They are recommended for growing in zones 7 through 9.
  • Brightwell- This is a late ripening berry with excellent quality. The fruit has good flavor and the appearance of the berries is attractive for the fresh market. They are recommended for growing in zones 7 through 9.
  • Tifblue- It is a late maturing variety. Tiffblue is the most widely planted blueberry in the Southeast, because it is productive and the fruit is firm. They are recommended for growing in zones 7 through 9.

Summary

There are many varieties of blueberries that are suitable for different purposes and growing areas. One thing they all have in common is their high antioxidant capacity and health benefits. You should grow your own pesticide free blueberries. They can be purchased from a reputable online source. Buy the one best suited for your growing area.

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