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Blueberry - Varieties

Choosing Blueberry varieties

It is essential that the right varieties are chosen to fit into the covered area or site chosen since they vary in height and spread.  In a field situation, rows are placed 3m apart and there is 1.25m between plants to give a hedgerow effect.  The number of plants per hectare can vary from 2690 to 3588.  Picking will require a reasonable space between rows and it is best to have three varieties for cross-pollination and, therefore, better yield.  Blueberries are self-pollinators but it is recognised that cross-pollination does improve yield.  In a glasshouse or tunnel, pollination is the same as for strawberries, where bumblebees are recommended.

A deciding factor when choosing a variety to be grown should also be the length of cropping season, since some blueberry varieties have a concentrated ripening period where most of the fruit is ripe within two picks.  This can vary with growing conditions and the health of the plant, but generally around three to four picks is common for most varieties.

Nui has been an excellent performer under glass.  Other varieties, which have performed well in field plots for fresh markets are Draper, Liberty, Aurora, Bluecrop, Duke and Spartan.  Hargreaves Plants is proud to have a European licence for these Michigan bred blueberry varieties - Draper, Liberty and Aurora.

Plants are normally supplied in two litre pots but can be produced otherwise.

Hargreaves Plants is conducting extensive Research and Development into blueberry plants with support under the England Rural Development Programme by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and the European Agricultural Guidance and Guarantee Fund.

Blueberry - Duke

General - DukeEarly, medium to large light blue berries with a mildly sweet flavour.  This attractive berry is quite firm and retains its fresh quality longer than most varieties.  Duke blossoms late but ripens early, which protects blossoms from spring frosts.  It is one of the heaviest, most consistent producers, often yielding over 9kg per bush when mature.  Duke bushes are upright growers but the branches will droop to the ground when laden with fruit.  The foliage turns yellow-orange in the autumn.

Height 1.5 - 2m when mature.

Blueberry - Spartan

An early variety, Spartan features one of the most attractive and best-flavoured berries of any cultivars.  It is light blue, very large with a delicious tangy sweet flavour.  It is an easy to pick, upright bush reaching approximately 1.8m at maturity.  The large glossy green leaves turn orange and yellow in the autumn.  Spartan can be particular about soil types, requiring well-drained sandy loams with lots of organic matter.

Height 1.5 - 2m when mature.

Blueberry - Sunshine BlueGeneral - Sunshine Blue

This early/mid season semi dwarf evergreen blueberry features a highly branched compact habit to 1m tall.  The showy hot pink flowers fade to white in spring, yielding large crops of medium sized delicious fruit with a unique tangy flavour for up to nine weeks in the summer.  Sunshine Blue tolerates higher pH soils better than other blueberries.  It is self pollinating.  The low chilling requirement of 150 hours makes it suitable for hotter climates but it is surprisingly cold hardy and a wonderful addition to the range.

Height is up to 1m.

Blueberry - Nui

General - NuiAn early to mid season variety with a spreading growth habit, this is fast becoming one of the most popular varieties.  Fruit is extremely large, light blue and has outstanding flavour and excellent shelf-life as well as being high yielding in trials.  The crop ripens about a week after Reka with a fairly concentrated ripening period and has a good disease tolerance.  It has performed well under glass.  This variety is protected by Plant Variety Rights within the EU and Hargreaves Plants' licence allows marketing throughout Greater Europe.

Blueberry - Draper

A mid-season variety which crops a few days before Bluecrop, this variety has strong upright growth and is highly productive.  The fruit is consistently large and uniform and is light blue in colour, firm with crisp flesh.  The flavour is low acid and the fruit has a strong skin.  Some of the notable features are ease of picking of the ripe fruit and the concentrated ripening period, post-harvest colour retention and its shelf-life.  This variety is protected by Plant Variety Rights within the EU and Hargreaves Plants licence allows marketing throughout Greater Europe.

Blueberry - BluecropGeneral - Bluecrop

Another mid season, Bluecrop is considered the best all round variety for consistent yields, large high quality fruit and disease resistance.  It is an upright, open growing bush.  There are other varieties with better ornamental value but none better in the garden.  It is the leading commercial variety of Northern Highbush in the world.

Height 1.5 - 2m when mature.

Blueberry - Chandler

General - ChandlerChandler, a mid to late season variety, is living proof that bigger is better!  With fruit the size of cherries and surprisingly delicious flavour, Chandler holds the distinction of being the world's largest blueberry.  Another great feature is its long ripening season that will provide customers with a bounty of fresh picked fruit over 6 weeks.  The bush is vigourous with large dark green foliage and a slightly spreading habit.

Height 1.5 - 2.5m when mature.

Blueberry - Bluegold

General - BluegoldA mid season cold hardy Bluegold features a compact round bush.  Autumn foliage and winter wood are golden yellow followed by bright white blooms in the spring.  The firm, flavourful berries form large clusters that are easy to pick.  Due to the heavy fruiting habit, commercial growers sometimes refer to it as the 'mortgage lifter', the plant breeders just call it 'Bluegold'.

Height 1.0 - 1.5m when mature.

Blueberry - Legacy

This late season blueberry offers a different look through the winter by keeping its leaves.  Foliage will turn bright orange in colder climates but can stay green.  Legacy plants are vigorous, upright and slightly spreading.  Sometimes it is referred to as the 'Goldbush' due to its heavy production.  The berries are medium large, light blue with a robust blueberry flavour.  Rated as one of the best flvoured varieties in USDA trials.

 Height 1.5 - 2m when mature.

Blueberry - Liberty

A late season variety from a Brigitta x Elliot cross with a vigorous, upright to slightly spreading growth habit and long drooping laterals.  First pick is usually five days before Elliot with ripening concentrated over two or three picks.  The fruit is medium to large, sky blue in colour and very firm.  This variety is recommended for mechanical harvest and for fresh and and processing markets.  This variety is protected by Plant Variety Rights within the EU and Hargreaves Plants' licence allows marketing throughout Greater Europe.

Blueberry - Ozarkblue

General - OzarkblueAnother late season, Ozarkblue is a real winner.  It has a cold hardiness but still performs well in warmer areas with very hot summers and 800 chilling hours.  The berries are large, light blue with outstanding blueberry flavour.  Quite similar to Bluecrop in fruit quality and bush habit.  It was bred by Prof. John Clark of Univeristy of Arkansas where Hargreaves Plants have a close working relationship.  Ozarkblue is recommended for those who wish to extend the blueberry season an extra month.  This variety is protected by Plant Variety Rights within the EU and our licence allows us to market throughout Greater Europe.

Height 1.5 - 2m when mature.

Blueberry - Aurora

A very late variety which crops 7 to 10 days later than Elliot, it has a lightly vigorous, slightly spreading growth habit.  It has an extremely high yield capacity with fruit ripening over three to four picks.  Fruit size is large (around 25% larger than Elliot) and is medium dark blue in colour.  The flavour can be a little tart if picked under-ripe and therefore it is important to harvest this variety when fully ripe.  It gives good season extension after Elliot and the flavour is considered to be superior to Elliot.  This variety is protected by Plant Variety Rights within the EU and Hargreaves Plants' licence allows marketing throughout Greater Europe.