Help Celebrating National Blueberry Day! (March 19) with us 15% of Bluberry plants ofter ends March the 20th.
Standard types for SA:
Northern Highbush – The most common type of blueberry, these varieties are semi-deciduous, require cooler climates to set fruit and thrive in areas that experience frost.
Southern Highbush – These varieties can be semi-deciduous or evergreen (depending on climate) and do well in warmer climates.
‘Vitality’ – This evergreen variety can be planted in pots or in the garden, preferring a full sun or partly shaded position. Frost is not an issue; in fact the winter temperature drop is required for flowering and fruiting. Growing to an approximate size of 1m x 1m, this small, dense shrub can also be used as a low hedge. Pale pink flowers appear during winter, followed by a fruiting season from late spring into summer. Classified as semi-self-fertile, a cross-pollinator is recommended for shrubs that are having trouble fruiting.
‘Blueberry Burst’ – A unique Australian bred variety, these blueberries are known for their large fruit, high yield, early flowering season and early season harvest. Berries are ready to be picked from early July in warmer areas or August/September in cooler areas, proving to grow successfully in both climates. The shrub is evergreen and grows to an approximate size of 1m in height and 75cm in width. A sunny position is preferred; however some protection may be needed if temperatures are extreme. They are suitable for planting in pots or in the garden and are self-fertile.
‘Sunshine Blue’ – This semi-deciduous shrub features showy pink flowers that fade to white during spring, followed by a large yield of fruit from spring through to early summer. As a southern highbush, it tolerates warmer climates but is also hardy in the cold. They are suitable for pots or the garden, growing approximately 1-2m tall and wide. A partly shaded or sunny position is ideal, with protection from harsh sun. ‘Sunshine Blue’ is a self-fertile variety.
CARE AND MAINTENANC
Blueberries prefer a sunny spot in the garden in acidic (pH 4 – 5.5) soil with excellent drainage. If the plant is to live in a pot, make sure acidic potting mix is used. Talk to us about how to find out your soil’s pH level and how to lower it if necessary. Regular watering is important during the growing season; however it is crucial not to overwater as the roots don’t like to stay too wet. This is why drainage is important and will need to be corrected by adding gypsum if water is pooling. Cut down on watering after the harvest season and increase again when new buds begin to form (depending on weather conditions). Use an acidic fertilizer in spring when the new foliage is developing, avoiding the use of any type of manure. A light prune is best done in winter to remove weak or dying growth, ready for fresh growth in spring. Netting is a good idea while fruit is on the bush to protect your crop from birds. When it comes time to harvest, be careful not to pick the fruit prematurely, as they do not ripen away from the shrub. Fruit should be dark in colour and come away from the branch easily. Keep any surplus blueberries in the freezer where they can last you throughout the year.