Blueberry Bushes for Warm Climates
Blueberry bushes are the surprise addition to your edible landscape
Edible landscaping is the hot garden topic. What does that mean for you? Anything from cranking up the design in your kitchen garden, to tearing out your front lawn and replacing it with great-looking edible plants.
Two of the cardinal rules of edible gardening (whether you’re planning a Peter-Rabbit-style vegetable patch or an eye-popping display in the front yard):
1) Grow what you like to eat
2) Grow produce that costs a lot to buy at the farmers’ market or grocery store
We’re guessing that near the top of your list will be—blueberries!
Choose from the Southern Highbush blueberry varieties, which are happy in warm areas. They’re self-pollinating but you’ll get even more fruit if you plant different varieties together.
Blueberries are insanely good for you. They’re full of antioxidants, Vitamin C, and fiber. New studies show blueberries clean up toxic brain debris, lower blood pressure, and even reduce the risk of Parkinson’s disease.
Landscaping with blueberries
Blueberry bushes enhance landscapes as hedges (a row of different varieties will display a range of fall color, from burgundy to orange to blue-green) or in a group of perennials. Use smaller varieties (like ‘Sunshine Blue’) as container plants to create edible accents flanking your front door, or on your patio.
Blueberries need acid, well-drained soil. You’ll probably have to amend your soil with compost, peat or grow in containers. For full details on warm-weather blueberry culture and soil preparation, see “Growing Blueberries in the Sacramento Region” by the Cooperative Extension in Sacramento County.
Pick a blueberry bush, or two or three
Some favorite varieties in warm areas are ‘Misty’, ‘Sunshine Blue’, ‘O’Neal’, and ‘Sharpblue’. Try ‘Sunshine Blue’ as one of your varieties. It’s a mid-season blueberry bush and will extend your harvest beyond the other early-season bushes. Although blueberries are self-fertile you will get a heavier fruit set and larger berries if you plant more than one variety together.
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