United States Edition

Vaccinium

Vaccinium

Vaccinium is part of the Vaccinium genus. Its scientific name is Vaccinium.

Blueberries grow on a shrubs that can grow anywhere from 18" to 10’ high, depending on variety.

There are 4 main types of blueberry:
Highbush blueberries (Vaccinium corymbosum)
These are the typical large bushes which grow to 6-feet in height and bear large fruit. Hardy from Zones 4 through 11. Not suitable for container growing (due to their size), and sometimes further divided in “Northern” and “Southern” highbush, referring to their high or low requirement for cold (in the Northern hemisphere), respectively3.

Lowbush blueberries (Vaccinium angustifolium)
Usually grow only to 18" in height, they form low mats of plants. The first year is the growth year and the second year is the fruiting year. Commonly known as ‘Wild Blueberries’. Fruit are sweet and small. Hardy in Zones 3 through 6. Suitable for cold climates

Half-high blueberries (V. corymbosum x V. angustifolium)
Hybrid between lowbush and highbush cultivars. Grown in the same way as highbush berries, but shrubs are not as tall. Half-high blueberries are especially suited to northern growing, as they are able to withstand snow and cold to Zone 3.

Rabbiteye blueberries (Vaccinium ashei)
Native to the Southeastern United States, can grow up to 10 feet. Berries have thick skins and are suited to southern heat. Hardy Zones 7-9.

Some varieties of blueberry have a short, concentrated period of ripening, while others are more extended2.

It is a flowering edible fruit and is treated mainly as a perennial, so it grows best over a period of time (3 years and greater). Normally reaching to a mature height of 4.95 feet (1.52 metres). Popular varieties of Vaccinium with home gardeners are Northblue, Northcountry, Duke, Climax and Reka.

Vaccinium needs a moderate amount of maintenance, so some level of previous experience comes in handy when growing this plant. Ensure that you are aware of the soil, sun, ph and water requirements for this plant and keep an eye out for pests.

This plant info is provided by the myfolia gardener's wiki. All details about Vaccinium have been kindly provided by our members.

How to grow Vaccinium

  • Full Sun

    +
  • Medium

As long as you give blueberries the right soil (acidic), they are easy, low-maintenance plants, once established3.

Water 2.5cm (1") per week, with rain water if possible. Avoid softened water and hard tap water.

After planting, spread a 3-inch-deep layer of mulch over the soil around the blueberries3. Pull the mulch from the plants’ stems, leaving a gap of an inch or two3. That helps prevent voles, mice, and other pests from attacking the blueberry from under the mulch3. Using wood chips, sawdust, oak leaves or shredded bark will also help maintain soil acidity. Avoid alkaline mulches, like seaweed.

Some gardeners suggest removing the blossoms the first year to get the plants established and strong enough to support the heavy yields in years to come3. Sometimes they won’t blossom in the first year anyhow.

Blueberries grow best in loose, well drained humus-rich soil with an acidic pH (4.0-5.0), so avoid fertilizers that make soil alkaline. Soybean, cottonseed meal, ammonium sulfate or any azalea/rhododendron fertilizer is ideal.

Tall types of blueberry bushes need an annual pruning. As stems age, their production decreases. Lop old growth off at ground level when stems are over an inch in diameter. Also, remove crowded areas from the centers of your bushes to keep the plants from self-shading. Most other types of blueberry only need pruning after 5 or 6 years3.

Although many blueberries self-pollinate, planting two or more varieties within a type will increase yield2.

SPRING
Fertilize when the leaves have emerged fully. (Northern Hemisphere: April) Usually approximately 50g rhododendron fertilizer for young plants, increasing slightly over the years)

SUMMER
Repeat feeding the plant at the beginning of summer (NH: June) to support second stage of growth in late summer. Cover with bird netting as fruit start to change colour. Pinch out growing tips to encourage a bushy plant.

AUTUMN
Mulch to conserve moisture.

Position in a full sun location and remember to water moderately. Zone 3 to 7 are typically the USDA Hardiness Zones that are appropriate for this plant (although this can vary based on your microclimate). Vaccinium needs a loamy, chalky and clay soil with a ph of 4.5 to 6.5 (moderately acidic soil - weakly acidic soil). Keep in mind when planting that Vaccinium is thought of as very hardy, so this plant will tend to survive through freezing conditions.

See our list of companion Plants for Vaccinium to see which plants you should plant in close proximity to encourage growth.

Growing Vaccinium from seed

Transplanting Vaccinium

All types of blueberries grow best in full sun, but will tolerate partial shade (with a decrease in production). Blueberries shallow root systems make them and poor competitors against trees, other shrubs, and weeds that compete for water and nutrients.

You can make a “hedgerow” effect by planting them in rows 3m (about 120") apart, with 1.25m between plants2.


Plant blueberries in spring after all danger of frost passes.
Standard spacing for Highbush, half-high & rabbiteye is 5-6 feet and 1-3 feet for lowbush varieties.

Ensure that temperatures are mild and all chance of frost has passed before planting out, as Vaccinium is a very hardy plant.

Harvesting Vaccinium

Tickle the clusters and fully ripe berries easily fall into your hands.

Common Vaccinium problems

These problems, diseases and pests are known to affect Vaccinium plants:

Relatively disease free with proper pruning.

Birds are the biggest pest to blueberries. A bird net over the bush, or better a bird net draped over a light frame will exclude birds. Rabbits and other small rodents may eat young branches in winter. Insects are generally not a problem.

Vaccinium Etymology

Angustifolium is Latin for “narrow leaves”or “a narrow snout”.1

Other names for Vaccinium

Blueberry

Misspellings: blueberried, blueberries

Latest Vaccinium Reviews

See all Vaccinium reviews and experiences »

Vaccinium care instructions

How long does Vaccinium take to grow?

These estimates for how long Vaccinium takes to sprout, grow and harvest are from real observations from real gardeners, right around the world. Start logging and journaling your observations to participate!

Footnotes

Vaccinium Forums

  • Blueberry Growers

    This is a place to discuss growing techniques, varieties… anything blueberry related!

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