UC Master Gardeners, Santa Clara County, CA
University of California
UC Master Gardeners, Santa Clara County, CA

Blueberry Varieties

Blueberry varieties testing conducted in Santa Clara County to evaluate the following characteristics of each of the varieties: flavor, productivity, harvest season, landscape value including: plant form, foliage characteristics, fall foliage color, and winter ornamental value.

Bluecrop

  • Northern highbush -- Vaccinium corymbosum
  • Consistently good producer in San Jose starting in late May
  • Medium sized, good quality fruit with nice acid sugar balance
  • Fruit has a slight frosted appearance
  • Upright, open growing bush to 4-6 feet, brilliant scarlet fall color
  • Leading commercial variety in North America

Bluetta

  • Northern highbush -- Vaccinium corymbosum
  • Medium sized, good quality fruit
  • Compact bush reaching 3-4 feet at maturity
  • Dense globe form and scarlet red fall foliage make it a good landscape choice

Duke

  • Northern highbush -- Vaccinium corymbosum
  • Early harvest, even though a later spring bloomer
  • Medium sized mildly sweet flavor
  • Upright grower, but branches will droop to ground when laden with fruit
  • Foliage turns yellow-orange in fall

Earliblue

  • Northern highbush -- Vaccinium corymbosum
  • Said to require 800 chilling hours for proper dormancy, but has been a very high yielder every year even though chilling hours have fallen to less than 300.
  • Early harvest
  • Medium sized sweet fruit lacking
  • Upright bush, stout canes with bright red wood
  • Large glossy green leaves

Georgia Gem

  • Suitable for California, both coastal and inland
  • Low winter chill requirement of 200-300 hours
  • Medium-large sized sweet fruit
  • Upright multi-branched bush to 5-6 feet
  • Cold hardy, but tolerant of high temperatures

Gulf Coast

  • Southern highbush with very low chilling requirement
  • Concentrated ripening about a week - 10 days after Sharpblue
  • Medium to large fruit
  • Tangy good flavor
  • Compact bushy growth habit which make nice landscape plants because highly branched

Marimba

  • Southern Highbush with winter chill requirements of 150 - 300 hours
  • Very vigorous, upright and highly branched reaching 4-6 feet at maturity
  • Good potential for landscape because of it’s compact, highly branched nature
  • Berries are medium-large sized, firm with excellent blueberry flavor
  • Flowers are hot pink fading to white

Misty

  • Southern highbush with low winter chill requirements
  • Small- medium size berries which are firm with very good tart flavor
  • Bears very heavy crop earlier than all the rest with a second small harvest in the fall
  • Care should be taken to not let Misty overbear
  • Has outstanding landscape characteristics with it’s striking hot pink buds and bushy, more upright growth than Sunshine Blue
  • Very attractive dark green foliage

O’Neal

  • Southern highbush, which is suitable for California, both coastal and inland
  • Low winter chill requirement of 200-300 hours
  • Very large sized fruit with mild sweet – bland flavor
  • Bush is vigorous and upright to 6 feet
  • Foliage is attractive gray-green in summer accented with red stems and branches

Reveille

  • Southern highbush requiring 500 chill hours
  • Early season, medium sized fruit
  • Excellent, distinctive flavor fruit with crisp texture
  • Tasty even when picked slightly underripe
  • Favorite flavor of research team
  • Vigorous and upright narrow bush to 5-6 feet tall
  • Easy to grow variety that thrives in both hot climates or cool coastal areas
  • Striking, hot pink blossoms cover bush in spring

Sunshine Blue

  • Southern highbush
  • Low chill requirement of 150 hours, while being cold hardy
  • Early - Midseason
  • Has good landscape characteristics with it’s profusion of hot pink buds and blossoms, bushy compact to floppy growth habit, and attractive dark green leaves
  • Features a highly branched growth habit to 3 feet
  • Easily overbears and should be heavily pruned and thinned or fruit will be very small
  • Good in a 5 gallon container
  • Fruit is small with a good tangy flavor producing over an extended period
  • Tolerates higher pH better than many other blueberry varieties

Top Hat

  • Interspecific cross between Vaccinium augustifolium X V. corymbosum
  • Midseason
  • White flowers lasting several weeks completely cover plant
  • Fruit is medium-small size, mild flavor
  • Deciduous with foliage turning a blazing crimson color in the fall
  • Dwarf type cultivar good in a defined border or growing in a container as small as 2 1/2 gallons
  • Highly branched, ultra compact, dwarf plant that would be excellent for bonsai
  • Variable in size and compactness

The other varieties we trialed, Darrow, Sierra, Toro, Sharpblue, died before they could be fully evaluated due to extreme alkaline soil and water conditions.

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