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VACCINIUM 'O' Neal'

Image of Vaccinium 'O' Neal'

Family

Ericaceae

Botanical Name

VACCINIUM 'O' Neal'

Plant Common Name

Hybrid Southern Highbush Blueberry, O'Neal Blueberry

General Description

One of many southern highbush blueberries deriving from crosses between northern highbush blueberries and blueberries native to the Southeast United States, 'O'Neal' produces large, firm, rich dark blue fruits relatively early in the season (mid-spring). It is considered the best flavored of its type. Foliage is grayish green while stems are an attractive red. This spreading evergreen shrub will grow chest to head high. In colder zones, it will drop its leaves after a brilliant red display. It requires 400 chilling hours (below 45 degrees Fahrenheit) to produce fruit.

The O'Neal blueberry requires well drained acidic soil in full to partial sun. Mulch around the plants and do not cultivate within the root zone. It is particularly suitable for areas with hot summers and mild winters, and shows a fair amount of drought tolerance. Because of its early bloom its flowers may need protection from frost. Although self-pollinating, 'O'Neal' will produce larger berries and crops if other southern highbush cultivars are nearby, such as 'Ozark Blue' or 'Sharpblue'. Protect developing and ripe berries from hungry songbirds.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    9 - 1

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    7 - 9

  • Sunset Zone

    H1, H2, 8, 9, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24

  • Plant Type

    Broadleaf Evergreen

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun

  • Height

    4'-6' / 1.2m - 1.8m

  • Width

    4'-7' / 1.2m - 2.1m

  • Bloom Time

    Early Spring

  • Native To

    Hybrid Origin

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic

  • Soil Drainage

    Average

  • Soil type

    Loam, Sand

  • Growth Rate

    Slow

  • Water Requirements

    Average Water

  • Habit

    Upright/Erect

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Insignificant

  • Flower Color

    White

  • Fruit Color

    Blue

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green, Gray Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Gray Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Gray Green

  • Foliage Color (Winter)

    Red, Gray Green

  • Bark Color

    Red, Gray

  • Fragrant Flowers

    No

  • 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

    Semi-Evergreen

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Bark Texture

    Smooth

  • Usage

    Container, Edible, Fruit / Fruit Tree, Hedges, Mixed Border

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Attracts

    Birds

  • Self-Sowing

    No