Posted by John Minton | Posted in Plants | Last Updated March 12, 2014
Tags: Edible, Green Leaves, Purple Leaves, White Flowers
Blueberries, one of my Summer time favorites! Otherwise known as Vaccinium, the Blueberry bush grows edible blue berries with beautiful foliage that ranges from purple to green to red and brown fall colors. The Blueberry bush is native to North America and there are many different variety of edible blueberry bushes. Full of manganese, vitamin C, vitamin K and dietary fiber blueberries are one of the tastiest healthy foods! They fruit very well, are easy to manage and easy to grow.
There are a couple different variety of Blueberry bushes. There is a low-bush blueberry such as Vaccinium Angustifolium that grows very low to the ground and while it does produce berries it’s more of a wild blueberry that does not produce as well as the northern highbush blueberry. The northern high-bush blueberry such as Vaccinium corymbosum is the more common type used for cultivation as they grow 4-6 feet tall and produce a large crop. The Blueberry produces small, white to pink bell shaped flowers that usually have no scent. At first the leaves start out as a light green that ends in a soft dark purple color at the tips. They turn to a dark green, and then to red colors as the Summer ends. It is such a beautiful plant, if not for its amazingly tasty and healthy berries, it is also prized for its amazing colors. Place them in landscape next to a path where they can be picked and enjoyed, or in a place where you want a little more color. Birds will also want some of the berries, so best to prepare to share them or protect them.
Blueberry’s will loose their leaves in the Fall/Winter and can withstand freezing pretty well as they are native to North America. Blueberry’s are not invasive so feel free to plant anywhere you would enjoy them. Blueberry’s are very easy to manage and require minimal pruning which should be done before the plant leafs out in late Winter. You want to prune some of the fruit bearing branches so that other branches have enough nutrition from the roots to produce better fruit, so I like to cut out branches that cross over each other in the middle of the bush. That also makes it easier to pick your blueberries. If you cut the top of some of the branches right above where other branches grow out, those smaller branches will grow larger. In this manner, similar to pinching Basil, you can train a plant to have a very prolific fruiting each season, as well as grow tall with strong branches. Branches more than about 5 years old will eventually stop fruit as much as they used to, they should be cut off at the base of the plant so new small branches can sprout and grow over the following years. You should prune every year to keep the plant healthy and in shape.
Blueberries do best in full sun but will also do OK in part shade. Regular water is good if they are growing in a pot as the soil tends to dry out in direct sunlight, as long as the soil is damp they should be fine!
Blueberries contain seeds and you can plant a bush from the seed, but it’s probably better to grow from cuttings or layering.