Blueberries are versatile shrubs that can be planted in many areas of the garden because of their attractive habits and foliage. Try them planted in hedgerows or use in garden borders or plant along a driveway.
Over recent years a number of new varieties have been bred in NZ, these are proving to be very popular with home gardeners. Blueberries are perfect for pots or containers, be aware that they don’t like their root zone being tampered with, avoid under planting near their root zone.
Most blueberries require a second plant to pollinate their flowers – cross-pollination. In cases were berries are noted as being self fertile, it is recommended still to plant at least 2 plants to ensure a good harvest. A number of varieties are widely available throughout the country; garden centres normally have good stocks all year round as the plants are sold in pots.
Rabbit eye varieties are self-fertile but by planting more than one cross-pollination will occur and increase your yield. Choose a sunny location with moist but well-drained soil and good circulation. Varieties include Centurion, Climax, Delite, Powder Blue, Southland, Tiff Blue.
'Northern Highbush requires longer cold periods, winter chilling to produce fruit. Varieties; Blue Crop, Dixie, Duke, Elliot, Jersey, Nui, Puru and Reka. Mainly self-fertile but will perform better planted near another northern highbush variety.
Southern Highbush require much less winter chill so are better suited to the warmer temperate regions of the country. Best planted with other Southern Highbush varieties to ensure cross-pollination. Varieties include; Island Blue, Marimba, Misty, O'Neal and Summer Blue.'
Other varieties to look out for:
Tasty Blue - dark blue berries, Cross pollinate with Blue Magic or Blue Dawn
Blue Dawn – large dark blue fruit, very sweet variety. Cross-pollinate with Tasty Blue or Blue Magic
Blue Magic – medium sized fruit, Cross pollination with Blue Dawn or Tasty Blue.
Muffin – a unique dwarf variety with producing heavy crops of medium sized fruit. Requires a higher chill requirement.
- Blueberries need a sunny location, in a well-worked, acidic free draining fertile soil.
- Plant out approx 1m apart in rows.
- Blueberries make a wonderful hedge, trim to shape as required.
- Cover with bird netting if birds are a problem eating the fruit before you can.
- Water well through dry periods to ensure the fruit sets well.
- When plants are young, remove some of the flowers to encourage more leaf and plant growth. Young plants have a tendency to over fruit when young limiting the plants growth and establishment
- Do not allow plants to sit in water for long periods, plant in raised beds of winter rains are an issue for you
- The plants fruit on previous seasons wood, prune to shape as required being careful not to remove the wood that will produce next seasons fruit.
- Ideal for pots and containers.
Allow to ripen in the plants to maximize full flavour. Make sure the birds don’t beat you to the crop! Harvest when fruits look ripe. Fruit stores well in the fridge for a week or so, bring to room temperature before eating.
How to use:
Use fresh, in desserts, pies, jams or jellies