Vaccinium myrtillus:  The name vaccinium was used in classical Latin for a type of berry

This perennial shrub also has dwarf varieties.  Its flowers are bell-shaped, white, pale pink or red, sometimes tinged greenish.  The leaves can be deciduous or evergreen. Blueberry bushes typically bear fruit in the middle of the growing season.  The fruit of the berry has a flared crown at the end.   Blueberries are ripe three to six days after they turn blue. The pale, powder-like protective coating on the skin of blueberries is called "bloom."

Blueberries grow best in acidic soil at a pH of 4 to 5 and make a good container plant.  Frequent light waterings are required because blueberries have a shallow and fibrous root system.  Blueberry plants are self-pollinating and planting one variety will produce some crop but you can achieve higher yields, larger fruits and earlier ripening by planting multiple varieties in the same area for cross-pollination.

The ratio of flower to vegetative buds is greater on new sprouts than on old, thus pruning is recommended to keep plants productive.  Renovation and pruning can be done in early spring or late fall.  Plants will require winter protection of either straw or a synthetic insulating material. Also, it is strongly recommended that the plants have at least a 30 cm snow cover.  The amount of time spent in dormancy also varies depending on the varieties.

Lowbush Blueberries is another name for wild blueberries. Most are grown commercially in Quebec and the Atlantic provinces. They are native to Eastern North America.  The lowbush crop is mostly destined for processing and freezing because the berry isn’t very uniform in appearance but is in its distinct flavor.

Highbush refers to cultivated blueberry plants, which were developed from the wild variety in the first half of the 20th century. British Columbia grows the majority of highbush blueberries (93 percent) but they can also be found in Ontario, Quebec and Nova Scotia. They are harvested earlier than lowbush berries and are larger and less perishable, which makes them highly suitable for shipping to retail markets. As a result, much of the highbush crop is sold fresh. 

Bylands grows 5 Half-High Blueberry varieties.  Half-High cultivars are crosses of Northern Highbush and Lowbush selections from the wild.  All these varieties have the “wild” flavor of their parents.  The Half-Highs were bred for exceptional cold hardiness but are truly outstanding ornamental landscape plants wherever they are grown. All theses varieties have bright fall colors.

Did You Know?

  • Blueberries contain more antioxidants than most other fruits or vegetables and may help prevent damage caused by cancer, heart disease & Alzheimer's.
  • The anthocyanin present in blueberries is good for eyesight.
  • A blueberry extract diet improves balance, coordination and short-term memory in aging rats.
  • Blueberries are the official berries of Nova Scotia, Canada.

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