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The Best Blueberry Plants for North & Central Georgia

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The Best Blueberry Plants for North & Central Georgia

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By far, the easiest blueberries to grow in northern and central Georgia are the native rabbiteye types (Vaccinium ashei). Ripening their fruits from early June through early August, these plants need lots of sunlight, an acidic and moist well-draining soil and multiple varieties planted in the garden to ensure good cross-pollination. Keep an eye out for hungry birds or an occasional deer from snacking on your fruits, too.

Early-Season

For crops of ripe rabbiteye blueberries as early as early June in central Georgia and early July in northern counties of the state, focus on growing three varieties: "Austin," "Climax" and "Premier." Planting all three ensures cross-pollination and good fruit set, as well as extending the harvest time by one or two weeks this time of year. Other early-season blueberries include "Brightwell" and "Woodard." The latter is best eaten fresh, as it develops a somewhat unpleasant tough skin when frozen.

Mid-Season

As the early-season varieties wane, the mid-season rabbiteye selections begin ripening and call for harvest. In central Georgia, that time is around mid-June; in northern Georgia, about July 1st. The University of Georgia Cooperative Extension recommends "Bluebelle," "Briteblue," "Chaucer," "Powderblue," and "Tifblue" cultivars. Again, plant multiple varieties for excellent cross-pollination.

Late-Season

Central Georgian gardeners enjoy harvesting late-season rabbiteye blueberries by early July, and wrap up the season by the end of the month. Closer to the Tennessee border or in high-elevation areas, these same late-season types ripen from late July through the first week of August. Planting "Choice'" should allow for a nice ripening transition from the mid-season ripening varieties. Three recommended varieties are "Baldwin," "Centurion" and "Delite," all ripening after "Choice."

Keywords: Vaccinium, Georgia blueberry growing, gardening in Georgia, rabbiteye blueberries

About this Author

James Burghardt has written for "The Public Garden," "Docent Educator," non-profit newsletters and for horticultural databases, becoming a full-time writer in 2008. He holds a Master of Science in public horticulture from the University of Delaware and studied horticulture and biology in Australia at Murdoch University and the University of Melbourne.