Northern Highbush

In southern England the earliest varieties ripen from early July, followed by the mid-season ones which peak in the last week in July and the first two weeks in August but continue into September. The 'late' varieties start to ripen towards the end of August and some may still be ripening in late September. Ripening is later in the north of England and Scotland and I do not recommend late ripening varieties for these areas.

  • Earliblue'. Early. The earliest to ripen and can produce big berries, so it has its place but it is a gawky grower and the berries are not the most flavoursome.
  • Bluetta'. Early. Much more compact, and some people categorise it as a half-high blueberry. It has moderate crops of medium-size berries, of reasonable flavour and it has brilliant red autumn colour.
  • Nui'. Early. A recently introduced variety from New Zealand, with enormous berries of excellent flavour. Bushes are lower growing and more open in habit than most varieties.
  • Duke'. Early. It is easy to manage as a tidy sturdy bush with large berries with good flavour unless picked too soon. Good red/gold autumn colour.
  • Patriot'. Early to mid-season. Big berries with a super flavour. Tidy upright bush. Bright red autumn colour.
  • Bluecrop'. Mid-season. Reliable, heavy crops make this the most successful variety, commercially. Big, well flavoured berries on big vigorous bushes. Bright red autumn colour.
  • Bluegold'. Mid-season. Termed 'the mortgage lifter' by Oregon growers, it crops very heavily and reliably, with medium-size dusty blue berries of good flavour. Bushes are dense and upright.
  • Berkeley' Mid-season. Produces firm, sweet berries on a spreading plant.
  • Hardyblue'. Mid-season. Useful in slightly dodgy soil conditions and in cooler climates. An ideal beginner's variety as it is vigorous and easy to grow. Medium-size berries are dark blue and sweet.
  • Brigitta'. Mid-season. Although it ripens at about the same time as 'Bluecrop', 'Brigitta' can be picked and kept in the fridge for up to 10 weeks - useful for those going away for a late summer holiday. Nice tidy grower, tolerant of drought. Leaf colour and fall is very late.
  • Toro'. Mid-season, produces good quality fruit.
  • Herbert'. Mid-late. Dark berries with a superb flavour.

HALF-HIGH

Bred mostly in the cold climate of Maine, USA, they are hybrids between the northern highbush blueberries and the North American lowbush so they have medium-size berries and yield crops, proportionate to their bush size. They are exceptionally hardy, compact and suitable for northern conditions. They flower early in the south and can therefore get caught by April frosts.

  • Polaris'. Early. Medium size berries with an aromatic flavour. Bushes are compact and upright to about 1m (3ft 3in) at maturity.
  • Northsky'. Early-mid-season. Bred to withstand -45C (-49F). Very compact, 45cm (18in) high, 60cm (24in) wide, with clouds of white, sweet-smelling flowers in spring and small berries in summer. Small leaves turn vivid red in autumn.
  • Northblue'. Early-mid-season. Delicious, large berries on a 60-90cm (24-36in) bush with an open but tidy habit. It looks good in a tub. Terminal flowers sometimes fail to open, which is possibly why those that remain produce such big berries.
  • Top Hat'. This forms a dwarf, almost spherical bush of about 30cm (11.5in) with crops of about 200g (7oz) of small to medium size berries at maturity. Very ornamental with brilliant red autumn colour. It is prone to phytopthora root rot
'Bluecrop' produces large berries

so the soil or compost should not be kept too wet.

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