The Blueberry is a handsome shrub that grows to 2m. The delicious berries are borne on one-year-old stems and ripen from spring to summer. Up to 5kg of fruit may be picked in a season.
Blueberry is easy to grow but does require a distinctly acidicsoil (pH 6 or less). Neutral or slightly alkaline garden soils must be acidified with peat and sulphur. Maintain high levels of humus in the soil. Adelaide Hills soils will often be suitable without modification but still check the pH.
Blueberry is a successful pot plant. In limestone soil areas this may be the only successful method. Use acidic potting mix suitable for Camellia and Azalea. On occasions use some acidifying fertilisers such as sulphate of iron and powdered sulphur to counteract increasing alkalinity due to tap water. Use a slow release fertiliser such as Osmocote to provide basic nutrition. Apply twice every year.
Place the plant in a sheltered but well lit position. Some shade in summer is helpful. Morning light is preferred to afternoon sun.
Prune for shape for the first two years. Each winter thereafter, prune out some old stems back to their bases to maintain 4-6 vigorous young bearing stems.
Low-chill varieties for places with mild winters.
- Southern Highbush
- Grows to 1.5m
- Ripens mid to late January
- Large sweet berry
- Heavy crop
- Very attractive evergreen
Highbush Varieties for places with cool winters
Approximately 750 – 1000 hours chilling required to satisfy dormancy. Mainly self fruitful but will perform better planted with another variety. Main type of blueberry for the cooler areas of Australia.
Spreading, vigorous bush to 1.5m. Very productive with medium size, dark, sweet fruit. Large picking scar makes fruit unsuitable for wholesale market sales, but is an excellent variety for U-pick, local sales, and for processing. Fruit hangs without dropping and gets progressively sweeter. Northland performs exceptionally well in areas of extreme summer and winter temperatures. Ripen January to March.
Medium vigour and height to 1.5m, with slightly spreading growth habit. Fruit is very large and round, medium blue with red around stem end. Distinct tangy flavour. Heavy yields of big, attractive berries, makes this variety very popular with some growers. Berries usually delicious but can lose flavour once very ripe. Also can tear at picking scar. Seems to perform best in warm areas. Good for fresh sales including U-pick but does not keep well. Ripen January.