About Blueberry Bush Varieties
All blueberry bushes need sunlight and acidic soil. Some varieties grow better in cool climates, while other cultivars prefer warm climates. The following list describes four blueberry varieties available to home gardeners, and the size of the bushes:
- Highbush (Vaccinium corymbosum) – Highbush blueberries grow in USDA Hardiness zone 3. They are deciduous shrubs with upright branches. The dark green leaves grow about 1 inch long and one-half inch wide. In the fall, the foliage features beautiful tones of red, orange, yellow and purple. These attractive blueberry bushes reach from 6 feet to 12 feet high when fully mature.
- Lowbush (Vaccinium angustifolium) – Lowbush blueberries are native to northeastern United States. They grow well in USDA Hardiness zone 2. This deciduous blueberry bush features dark green foliage that grows from about one-half inch to three-quarters of an inch long. In the fall, the leaves have a reddish bronze coloring. Lowbush blueberries grow from 6 inches to 2 feet tall.
- Hybrid half-high – Half-high blueberry bushes are hybrid crosses of highbush and lowbush blueberries. The best growing conditions for these low stature blueberries are USDA Hardiness zones 4 and 5. When full grown, these blueberry bushes are 2 feet to 4 feet tall.
- Rabbiteye (Vaccinium ashei) – Rabbiteye blueberries are native to southeastern United States, but they’re commercially grown as far west as Arkansas and Texas. These blueberries grow into large shrubs that are 10 feet wide and 15 feet tall in about eight years. Rabbiteyes thrive in USDA Hardiness zones 8a to 9a.
Selecting Blueberry Bushes for Home Gardening
Blueberries are wonderful ornamental shrubs that produce delicious berries. When deciding on which blueberry variety to plant for your garden, consider the amount of space you have available. You need to space highbush and rabbiteye blueberries at least 4-feet apart and lowbush varieties need to be spaced 2 feet to 3 feet apart.
Choose your blueberries according to your USDA Hardiness zone. It’s important to choose blueberries cultivated for growing in your area and for the length of your growing season. Be sure to choose a sunny spot and check the soil for acidity. Blueberries need a pH of 4.5 to 5.0 to grow strong and healthy.