Vaccinium corymbosum

Highbush Blueberry




  • native to the eastern Unites States
  • zone 3
  • often found growing in or near swampy areas

Habit and Form

  • a deciduous, twiggy shrub
  • shape is rounded to irregular
  • branching is upright-spreading
  • multistemmed
  • typically has dense foliage
  • 6' to 12' tall with equal width

Summer Foliage

  • alternate leaf arrangement
  • simple, elliptical shape
  • 1" to 305" long and half as wide
  • dark green leaf color above, lighter underneath

Autumn Foliage

  • excellent for fall color
  • a mix of red, orange, purple, and yellow


  • 0.33" long urn-shaped white to very light pink flowers
  • borne in groups in axillary
  • blooms are typically numerous and somewhat showy
  • bloom time is May


  • 0.25" to 0.5" diameter blue-black berry
  • eaten readily by wildlife and humans
  • ripen July through August


  • old stems have gray-brown thinly furrowed bark
  • new shoots are glabrous with a yellow-green to reddish color in the winter
  • new shoots are quite attractive on close inspection


  • ideal soil is moist, high in organic matter and well-drained
  • pH must be very acidic (4.5 to 5.5)
  • mulch around the roots
  • sandy soils with adequate moisture support good growth
  • full sun to partial shade
  • more sun translates into more into more blooms, more fruit and enhanced fall foliage color

Landscape Use

  • for edible fruit
  • to attract wildlife
  • excellent for fall color
  • useful in a shrub border
  • naturalized plantings
  • along the edges of ponds, waterways


  • iron chlorosis on high pH soils

ID Features

  • alternate leaf arrangement
  • red and green young stems
  • stems with wart-like dots
  • small urn-shaped flowers in May
  • blue-black fruits in summer
  • yellow-orange-red fall color


  • by seed
  • by cuttings


Many cultivars have been selected for variation in fruit traits and plant growth habit. Listed below with abbreviated descriptions are some of the more common forms. To obtain efficient pollination, more than one variety should be planted.

'Bluecrop' - One of the best fruiting cultivars, this plant bears immense quantities of medium-large fruit that are flavorful and light blue. The plant is vigorous with a spreading growth habit, plus it appears hardier and more drought tolerant than the species. 'Blueray' is a good choice for pollination.

'Blueray' - This compact plant grows to only 5' tall with an upright growth habit. The fruit are large and slightly tart in flavor. It is a handsome ornamental plant with glossy green foliage that turns red fall color. The stems are also reddish in winter. Use 'Bluecrop' as a planting combination for pollination.

'Jersey' - An old variety that is probably the most common form available, this cultivar grows upright. The berries are large and sweet when ripe, and the plant is among the hardiest selections available.

'North Blue' - This is a dwarf, self-fruitful variety that produces large, sweet berries in midsummer. It grows to 3' tall and is a good choice for smaller gardens.

'Patriot' - This plant bears fruit early and has berries about the size of a quarter. It is an upright grower that is very common in the industry.

'Rubel' - This selection is very hardy and bears sweet fruit midseason with red fall color. It is a strong-grower that reaches 7' tall with an upright habit.

'Sunshine Blue' - Heavily promoted in mail-order catalogs, this novel selection needs no pollinator and produces pink blooms that lead to sweet, deep blue berries. It grows to only 4' tall and wide.

© Copyright Mark H. Brand, 1997-2015.

The digital materials (images and text) available from the UConn Plant Database are protected by copyright. Public use via the Internet for non-profit and educational purposes is permitted. Use of the materials for profit is prohibited.

Citation and Acknowledgements: University of Connecticut Plant Database,, Mark H. Brand, Department of Plant Science and Landscape Architecture, Storrs, CT 06269-4067 USA.