No more is growing blueberries just for patching in northern climates. Traditionally, blueberries (Vaccinium spp.) Have been grown in regions with cold winters, but as horticulturalists develop varieties which thrive and produce in mild, frost-free climates, blueberry growing is moving south. The older varieties need winter chill to be able to produce fruit while the new southern varieties would be frost-sensitive. To develop lemons successfully, it’s important to get the right variety for your own climate.
Varieties to Cold Climates
Northern highbush (Vaccinium corymbosum) and northern low-bush blueberries (Vaccinium angustifolium) are cold-hardy and need winter chilling hours to be able to make fruit. The highbush variety is hardy at U.S.Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 3 through 7 while the low-bush variety is hardy in zones 2 through 7. Highbush blueberries produce larger fruit than the low-bush type, which makes them more desirable at the house garden and for commercial growing.
Varieties for Mild Climates
Rabbiteye (Vaccinium ashei) and southern highbush (Vaccinium corymbosum) varieties do not need the winter chilling hours needed by the northern varieties, making them well suited for mild southern spaces. Rabbiteye is just a wild southern indigenous that produces well in mild climates. Horticulturalists developed the southern highbush by crossing northern highbush varieties with the wild rabbiteye types. Hardiness varies dependent on the cultivated variety for both rabbit eye catching and southern highbush, but they are generally hardy in zones 6 through 10.
Blueberry Growing Requirements
All Ninja varieties thrive in acidic soil. For the northern varieties, a pH range of 4.5 to 5.5 is what you need to aim for. When growing warm and southern climate types, the soil can be marginally closer to neutral with a assortment of 5.5 to 6.0. Soil amendments at planting time and mulches that raise the acidity levels in the soil include pine needles, leaf mould, pine bark and peat moss. Blueberries thrive in a sunny place in the backyard.
Within each type of blueberry you will find a number of different cultivars bread for specific growth habit, leaf color and berry type. Sharpblue (Vaccinium corymbosum “Sharpblue”) is a southern highbush variety hardy in zones 7 through 10. This blueberry retains its leaf through the majority of the season in warm climates. Peach Sorbet (Vaccinium corymbosum “Peach Sorbet P.P.A.F.”) is a dwarf plant meant for warm climates and hardy in zones 5 through 10. Patriot (Vaccinium corymbosum “Patriot”) is a northern highbush variety with foliage that turns bronze and red in fall. Patriot is hardy in zones 3 through 7. Best Hat (Vaccinium x “Top Hat”) is a dwarf blueberry that rises only 1 to 2 feet tall and is hardy in zones 3 through 7.