Advanced Search Filters

Plant Type
Hardiness Zone
Heat Zone
Sunset Zone
Function
Sun Exposure
Soil Moisture
Water Requirement

VACCINIUM corymbosum

Image of Vaccinium corymbosum

Felder Rushing

Family

Ericaceae

Botanical Name

VACCINIUM corymbosum

Plant Common Name

Northern Highbush Blueberry

General Description

The sweet blueberries produced by this native, multi-stemmed shrub are a summer treat. Highbush blueberry is a large to medium-sized deciduous shrub native to eastern North America. In the wild, it can be found growing in diverse habitats from bogs to oak woods and dry barrens. Cultivated specimens grow well in sunny gardens with well-drained, acid soils and are valued for both their culinary and ornamental traits.

Simple green leaves emerge from the branches in mid-spring. These have smooth edges, a dull or lustrous sheen and turn brilliant shades of red, orange and purple in fall. In late spring, clusters of dainty, bell-shaped flowers appear at the ends of the branches. These may be white or pinkish and are lightly fragrant when smelled close up. The blueberry fruits turn from green to waxy blue by summer. Early-fruiting cultivars mature in early summer and late-fruiting types in midsummer. The sweet berries can be eaten fresh or raw and enjoyed in any blueberry dish. They are also valued by diverse wildlife from birds to bear.

For best growth and fruit production, highbush blueberry needs full to partial sun and organic, acid soil that’s very well-drained. Sandy soils or rocky soils are also tolerated. Prune selectively and refrain from shearing. Older branches that are four to five years old should be removed to make way for younger ones that bear more fruit. Always remove dead or dying branches.

Though most commonly grown as a shrub for culinary gardens, highbush blueberry also works well in mixed borders, informal hedges and wildlife plantings. Plant it with the equally colorful fall shrub, winterberry (Ilex verticillata), for a fantastic fall show!

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    7 - 1

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    3 - 7

  • Sunset Zone

    2a, 2b, 3a, 3b, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 14, 15, 16, 17

  • Plant Type

    Fruit

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun

  • Height

    4'-12' / 1.2m - 3.7m

  • Width

    3'-10' / 0.9m - 3.0m

  • Bloom Time

    Late Spring, Early Summer

  • Native To

    North America, Northeastern United States, Mid-Atlantic United States, Southeastern United States, North-Central United States, Central United States, South-Central United States, Northwestern United States, Texas

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Loam, Sand

  • Growth Rate

    Slow

  • Water Requirements

    Average Water

  • Habit

    Oval/Rounded

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Insignificant

  • Flower Color

    White, Light Pink

  • Fruit Color

    Blue, Dark Blue

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Yellow, Red, Purple, Orange

  • Bark Color

    Red, Brown, Gray

  • Fragrant Flowers

    Yes

  • Fragrant Fruit

    Yes

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single

  • Repeat Bloomer

    No

  • Showy Fruit

    Yes

  • Edible Fruit

    Yes

  • Showy Foliage

    No

  • Foliage Texture

    Medium

  • Foliage Sheen

    Glossy

  • Evergreen

    No

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Bark Texture

    Smooth

  • Usage

    Edible, Feature Plant, Foundation, Fruit / Fruit Tree, Hedges, Mixed Border

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Attracts

    Birds

  • Self-Sowing

    Yes