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A picture of a Highbush Blueberry

Highbush Blueberry

Vaccinium corymbosum

Also known as

American Blueberry, Swamp Blueberry, Tall Blueberry, New Jersey Blueberry, Southern Blueberry, Smallflower Blueberry, Highbush Huckleberry

Vaccinium corymbosum3 by Tiia Monto (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Full Sun
Advanced care
Moderate watering
Frost Hardy

7a

USDA zone

-18°C

Minimum temperature

Expected size

Height
Spread

1.5m

Max

1.5m

1.5m

Min

1.5m

Fruiting

  • spring
  • summer
  • autumn
  • winter

Blueberries shouldn't be harvested too soon. They should be blue in colour and easily come loose from the shrub. Blueberries can be handpicked using your thumb to roll the fruit from the stem into your hand. Harvesting takes place from late Spring to Summer.

More images of Highbush Blueberry

A close up of the green, pink and purple ripening fruit of a blueberry bush.
A green Vaccinium corymbosum plant in a garden
A close up of the white and pink flower of a blueberry bush
A close up of the cream white flowers of a blueberry bush

Highbush Blueberry Overview

Vaccinium corymbosum is an upright, deciduous shrub species from the Ericaceae family. Commonly known by the names Blueberry and Highbush Blueberry, amongst others. The Highbush Blueberry grows to medium size; it is indigenous to eastern North America and produces narrowly oval leaves that turn yellow, red and purple shades in autumn. This plant produces beautiful, pinkish-white, bell-shaped flowers which are well suited to both ornamental and kitchen gardens. The flowers lead onto edible, green berry fruits, which ripen to blue-black, termed blueberries. Due to their acid-loving nature, it is best to water them only with rainwater as tap water can have high levels of calcium and chlorine, which can raise the soil's pH. The fruits (berries) of the blueberry plant are commercially cultivated globally; to harvest, they should lift easily from the plant with no resistance. If the fruits do not easily come off the plant, leave them to ripen further. Blueberry has become a household name; it is often used as an ingredient in baking pies. The fruit is also regarded as a superfood and is very high in anti-oxidants!

Common problems with Highbush Blueberry

The most serious pest for blueberries is birds. These can be kept at bay using netting. Other pests cherry ringworm. Ensure good drainage to prevent root rot.

Highbush Blueberry Companion Plants

How to propagate Highbush Blueberry

Cuttings

Propagation can be done from hardwood or softwood cuttings, but softwood is preferred. Prepare the rooting soil with plenty of peat. Use misters to keep damp.

Division

Seed

Seeds will need to be macerated to damage the seed coat, and then they will need to be stratified in the fridge for 1 month before they can be sown. Once the seed is fully prepared, they need to be sown into moist compost approximately 1cm in depth. The seeds can take 6-8 weeks to germinate. Sow during the spring and keep them 15-21 degrees to increase germination rates. The seedlings will need to be kept warm until they are 10-15cm tall and transplant into pots, put in a sunny area of the garden and keep warm.

Special features of Highbush Blueberry

Attracts birds

Birds will happily eat all the berries from a bush and so you may need to construct some netting if you wish to eat the berries yourself.

Attracts bees

Hedge plant

Make a dense shrub that can be used as a hedge

Attractive fruits

Pot plant

Plant in acid (ericaceous) soil with a pH of between 4.5 and 5.5.

Other uses of Highbush Blueberry

Fruit, ornamental, foliage, hedging, border, bark Spring/Summer interest and bright autumn coloured leaves.

Edible

Berries are edible raw or can be made into desserts.

Medicinal

Used as a homoeopathic medicine due to their high levels of antioxidants.

Soft Fruit

Permanent and perennial plants that we can harvest soft fruit crops from.

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Spring Flowering Garden Shrubs

These spring flowering shrubs are great additions, providing pollinators with habitat, shelter and food.

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