One key to success with growing blueberries is choosing the right blueberry varieties for your home garden. For Florida, choose varieties of southern highbush or rabbiteye types.
These are usually a bit harder to grow than rabbiteye in our area and they fruit earlier, putting them at risk for frost and freeze damage. If planning southern highbush look for ‘Emerald’, ‘Jewel’, ‘Star’, ‘Windsor’, ‘Springhigh’, ‘Sweetcrisp’, or ‘Farthing’.
Rabbiteye are usually hardier in Northeast Florida and are easier to grown. This includes higher drought tolerance, more disease resistance, and a later crop. However, they do require cross pollination from another variety so be sure to plant more than one variety in your home garden.
Look for ‘Beckyblue’, ‘Bonita’, and ‘Climax’ for early fruiting varieties and ‘Brightwell’, ‘Powderblue’, ‘Tifblue’ and ‘Woodard’ for mid-to late season varieties.
For more information about blueberry varieties, see our great fact sheet: https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/publication/MG359 or contact your local UF/IFAS Extension Office. I also host a series of workshops within the Horticulture Happy Hour topic where we discuss gardening topics and then how to use your produce in your favorite beverages. Blueberries are covered in our “Something Sweet” class and available offerings in Clay County can be found at https://www.eventbrite.com/o/ufifas-extension-clay-county-9764382549 .
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