Southern Highbush Blueberry

Many people associate the blueberry industry with places where it gets cold—but did you know that blueberries are also grown in Florida?

Origins

The southern highbush blueberry is the product of a University of Florida blueberry breeding effort that began in the 1950s. This new species was created by crossing northern highbush blueberries with blueberries native to Florida and the southeastern US.1

Advantages

Unlike the northern highbush blueberry, the southern highbush does not require long periods of cold weather in order to flower and produce fruit, making it well-adapted to Florida’s climate.2

Southern highbush blueberries ripen earlier (April 1 to May 10) than blueberries in other parts of the country. During that period, Florida growers can sell their blueberries at higher prices than growers in other regions can.³

Outlook

Nearly all blueberries grown in Florida are southern highbush blueberries, and production has consistently risen over the last two decades.1 Growing this crop is not without its challenges. Growers must combat damage from freezes, pests, and disease, yet as growing techniques and UF/IFAS varieties have improved, production of southern highbush blueberry has become more efficient.1, 3


  1. J. G. Williamson, J. W. Olmstead, G. K. England, and P. M. Lyrene, Southern Highbush Blueberry Cultivars from the University of Florida, HS1245, Gainesville: University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, 2014, https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/hs1245
  2. Edward A. Evans and Fredy H. Ballen, An Overview of US Blueberry Production, Trade, and Consumption, with Special Reference to Florida, FE952, Gainesville: University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, 2014, https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/fe952
  3. J. G. Williamson, J. W. Olmstead, and P. M. Lyrene, Florida’s Commercial Blueberry Industry, HS742, Gainesville: University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, 2015, https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/ac031

UF/IFAS Photo by Tyler Jones

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sgrenrock

sgrenrock

Web Writer at IFAS Communications

Sam is originally from California and has her BA in linguistics and MFA in poetry. She loves art, animals, culture, and learning about science.

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