Blueberry Variety Selection in the Home Fruit Planting

Blueberry varieties can be selected so that you have crops to be harvested from July through mid-September, if desired.
Blueberry Variety Selection in the Home Fruit Planting - Articles

Updated: July 7, 2006

Blueberry Variety Selection in the Home Fruit Planting

A description of many available varieties follows. These are grouped according to production season. Varieties are divided into "standard" varieties, with which there is considerable experience in the region, and "recent releases," on which there is little information so far on performance in Pennsylvania.

Early Season

Bluetta

Bushes are short, compact, and of medium vigor; fruit is medium-sized, blue-black and has fair flavor. Fruit can hang on the bush for a long time. Consistency of production may be a problem. This is an old variety that is now difficult to source, but had been widely planted.

Chanticleer

Very early so blossoms may be susceptible to frost damage. Needs a well-drained soil. Tends to enter into biennial bearing. Fruit has very good flavor.

Earliblue

Vigorous bushes with upright-spreading growth habit. Fruit is large, firm, and light blue with fair flavor. Fruit set can be problematic; Susceptible to phomopsis twig blight and anthracnose.

Hannah’s Choice

Bushes are upright and vigorous. Fruit is firm and sweet with peach overtones. First berries are large but size decreases as harvest progresses. Productivity is variable with location.

Huron

This is a very new variety which is untested in PA as of this writing. In other regions, plants have had good winter hardiness and productivity. Berries have very good flavor if fully ripe, but are slow to sweeten and thus will be tart if picked too early.

Weymouth

Very early; bees are needed for best pollination; fruit is dark, soft, and mildly-flavored but sweet. Fruit size is average. Resistant to a number of diseases except for phomopsis. This is a very old variety that is no longer sold by nurseries, but had been widely planted.

Early-Mid Season

Bluejay

Bush is vigorous, upright, and open. Berries are long-stemmed and hang in loose clusters; fruit holds on bush without loss of quality and until most are ripe.; Fruit are medium-sized, firm, and light blue with small stem scar.Wood and buds are resistant to low winter temperatures. Resistant to mummy berry and other diseases. Production can be erratic.

Blueray

Plant is upright, vigorous, hardy, and propagates easily.Fruit is borne on small tight clusters which can cause berries to drop, especially in hot weather. Berries are large, dark blue,and firm with excellent flavor. Productive plants may over-fruit if not pruned sufficiently.

Collins

Bush is vigorous and upright but susceptible to winter injury. Fruit is large, firm, light blue, and has very good flavor. Plants do not adapt well to “non-blueberry soils”, and tends not to send up new canes. An older variety that had been widely-planted but now is difficult to source.

Draper

Plants are compact and stocky. Berries are large and sweet, but harvest is somewhat concentrated resulting in a relatively short picking season.

Duke

Vigorous upright plants with numerous stocky canes. Fruit is medium-size, light blue, and firm. Flavor is somewhat lacking but is said to improve in storage. Blooms late so frost is avoided, and tolerates fluctuating winter temperatures. Harvest period is concentrated and thus will be shorter than for other varieties. Young plants are susceptible to stem blight issues.

Patriot

Plants are vigorous and upright, but only medium in height. The fruit is large and has excellent flavor. ‘Patriot’ was developed in Maine and has excellent cold hardiness; the plants are resistant to root rot.

Pink Champagne

Plants have ornamental value because of fall foliage and winter twig color. Pink fruit is the other characteristic of note; however, the fruiting buds are not especially hardy resulting in sporadic fruit set.

Reka

Plants are vigorous, upright and have wider adaption to various soil types than other varieties. The berries are numerous and small with a somewhat spicy flavor. Reka is an introduction from New Zealand.

Spartan

Ripens about 3 to 5 days after ‘Earliblue’; plants are vigorous, upright and open; good machine harvest variety; fruits are large, firm, light blue, and highly flavored. This variety does not perform well on heavier “upland” soils.

Sunrise

Plants are moderately vigorous and have good structure. The berries are medium-sized with very good flavor.

Sweetheart: This plant will produces two crops – the main crop in summer, and then a very small fall crop, which nurseries sometimes indicate as being more substantial than typically occurs. Plants require more time to become productive than other varieties. Flavor is very good.

Midseason

Bluecrop

Best early midseason variety presently available; bush is vigorous and upright; fruit is medium to large, depending on how much the plants are pruned, and firmwith good flavored;; Productivity and hardiness are consistent; harvest season is long.

Bluegold

Plants are vigorous, cold hardy, and productive, but flavor is lacking. Stems tend to remain attached to fruit in hot weather.

Chippewa

Plants are half-high type, and thus compact. Fruit is large, light blue, firm, and sweet.

Elizabeth

Production is somewhat erratic, but fruit flavor is excellent. Berries are medium to large.

Herbert

This variety is very old. Plants are vigorous, very tall, and productive. Fruit is large, dark, and sweet with a somewhat flattened shape.

Legacy

This variety has a southern blueberry species in its background, so it tends to hold its leaves in the winter and thus may be more subject to winter injury than most northern highbush varieties. Fruit is medium to large and has excellent flavor. Productivity is high due to a long harvest season.

Northland

Plants are very winter-hardy, shorter than most, and bushy. Berries are somewhat soft, size is medium and flavor is good.

Toro

Plants are vigorous and upright, and tolerate fluctuating temperatures. Fruit is large with good flavor and color, but harvest is concentrated and thus short. Not as self-fertile as most, so should be planted with another cultivar.

Cara’s Choice

Plants are spreading and relatively short. Fruit is firm, sweet, and flavorful, but productivity is only moderate.

Razz

A close relative of Bluecrop, this variety was released for having flavor with raspberry overtones. Fruit is somewhat soft.

Mid-Late Season

Berkeley

Bush is vigorous, open, spreading and stout, but tends to drop fruit,; fruit is very large, light blue, and flavor is only fair but sweet, and keeps well; clusters tend to be hidden by heavy foliage which slows hand picking; production can be inconsistent; tends to be susceptible to fungus diseases during wet seasons.

Bonus

Little testing has been done on this cultivar; fruit flavor and size is very good.

Brigitta

Plants and upright, vigorous, and cold-hardy. Fruit is large, very light blue, and has good flavor. Harvest is concentrated.

Chandler

Plants are stocky but send up few canes. Fruit is huge with excellent “true blueberry” flavor.

Darrow

Plants are vigorous and upright. Fruit is very large with excellent flavor, but can be slightly acidic.

Liberty

Bushes are spreading and productive. Fruit is large and somewhat flattened. Flavor is excellent.

Nelson: Plants are vigorous and upright and tolerate cold temperatures well. Productivity and fruit size are moderate; fruit has very good flavor.

Pink Lemonade

A pink-fruited variety that is less cold-hardy than Pink Champagne.

Rubel

A very old selection from wild plants. Plants are very upright and relatively resistant to diseases. Fruit is quite small, and has a higher concentration of anti-oxidants than most other highbush.

Sierra

Plants are vigorous and productive, but tend to stay shorter than most. Flavor is excellent.

Superior: A very recent release untested in PA as of this writing. Very cold hardy plants are compact. Berries are medium in size.

Late Season

Aurora

Bushes are cold-hardy and vigorous. Fruit is very large and has excellent flavor, but can be tart if not allowed to fully ripen.

Coville

Late season; bush very vigorous, open spreading with open fruit clusters; needs high bee concentration for best pollination; berry is large, medium blue, highly aromatic and has a strong blueberry flavor; fruit is susceptible to anthracnose disease; does not set fruit well on occasions thus limiting its productivity.

Elliott

Bush vigorous and plants are productive and hardy.berry size is small and flavor can be tart; interplanting with another late blooming variety has provided cross pollination and improved size and flavor.

Jersey

Bush vigorous and erect with open fruit clusters; Fruit is medium in size and with very sweet flavor; may have fruit set problems; tends to set fruit parthenocarpically (without undergoing pollination); when that happens, fruit does not size.