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The Best Rabbiteye Blueberries

There are many rabbiteye blueberry from which gardeners can choose. Here are details on some of the best.


Brightwell

Thriving in zones six through nine, this is suitable for full sun and partial shade. This blooms late so that frosts aren’t a problem. Use Climax as a pollen source. This variety is recommended for both home gardens and commercial plantings. The plants are from six to 15 feet tall and five feet wide. These are upright, vigorous, and spreading. A pH of 4.5 to 5.5 is best. The fruits usually ripen early to mid-season for about a month. The light blue berries are medium to large. They’re excellent quality with a very sweet flavor.



Climax

Recommended for zones six through nine, this is a spreading open plant. It is six to ten feet tall and up to five feet wide. A popular rabbiteye, this is often used as a pollen source for other varieties. Use either Tiflue or Premier to poIlinate Climax. This variety tolerates heat and drought. It does well in partial shade. Having few pests, this prefers a pH of 4.5 to 5.5. It bears large crops of eight to 22 pounds per plant. These ripen early to mid-season pretty much all at once. They’re ready a week after Premier. Suitable for mechanical harvest, the deep blue to purplish-blue or sky blue berries are very large to medium. These premium quality fruits have a delicious sweet flavor.


Delite

Quite popular in North Carolina, this was released in 1969. It is suitable for zones six through nine. The columnar, upright vigorous plants have few suckers. These are six to ten feet tall. Late to ripen, the berries are easy to pick. The high yielding plants bear eight to 15 pounds per bush. The medium to very large berries are either pinkish-blue, blue-red, or light to medium blue. These have an excellent flavor with slight tartness. They can be picked as soon as they change color.


Powderblue

Named for the powder blue skin color, this does well in zones six through nine. It was released in 1979. This can be used as a pollen source for Tifblue. Easy to grow, Powderblue requires very little care. It is disease resistant. Late spring frosts don’t pose problems either. The sturdy plants are vigorous and upright. They reach five to 12 feet in the South and are shorter in the North. These adapt to various soil types. They bear large crops every year with eight to 14 pounds. These ripen a little later than Tifblue. This late season variety starts ripening in August, and can be harvested mechanically. The very light blue or powder blue fruits are medium to large. Resistant to cracking, they have a very sweet unique flavor.


Premier

Released in 1979, this is easy to grow. In addition to being disease tolerant, this also withstands heat and drought. It does well in partial shade. This needs a pH of 4.5 to 5.5. The vigorous upright plants are six to ten feet in height and half as wide. This can be grown in most areas except the coldest. It suffers damage from late spring frost. Ripening early to mid-season, this can be ready in mid-June in most locations. It bears a large crop of eight to 16 pounds per year. These high quality berries have a long storage life. The very large light blue fruits have a rich flavor.


Tifblue

Grown in zones six through nine, it is the most cold hardy of the rabbiteyes. This was released in 1955. Quite adaptable, it is considered one of the best rabbiteyes for the South. These reliable, vigorous, upright, plants can reach 14 feet in height. It requires more care than some varieties. Late spring frosts pose no problems. A good pollen source for Tifblue is Climax. This is a mid to late season variety ready to pick in mid-June to July. It bears a large crop every year, and can be harvested mechanically. The fruits ship well. They turn color before they’re fully ripe. The light blue berries are medium to large and have a rich flavor.


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