Blueberries are, according to the University of Florida, a very popular fruit in the United States. Blueberries are good fresh or used in sweets like jams, jellies, pies or even as juice. Blueberries are high in pectin, a substance said to help lower cholesterol, and a compound that keeps bacteria from establishing itself in certain urinary tract infections. The University of Florida also lists ellagic acid, shown to inhibit cancers, as a compound in blueberries. Blueberries grow on upright bushes.
Many varieties of blueberry bushes exist, with certain types thriving in harsh climates. For example, the University of Minnesota produced a number of varieties suitable to Minnesota's climate, which includes a short growing season and long, very cold winters. Blueberry bushes grow from 24 inches to over 40 inches. Production varies from 1 to 20 lbs. of fruit per bush, depending on bush type. Consult your local county agricultural extension office for recommendations.
Depending on the variety, blueberry bushes can survive in USDA hardiness zones 4 and above. If you live in a cold climate, select a cultivar bred to winter over without major damage. Many blueberries survive winter temperatures down to -20 or -25 degrees F, with varieties hardy enough to survive -35 degrees F.
Blueberries require acidic soil to grow well. Under ideal conditions, plant blueberries in soil that has a pH of between 4.2 and 5.2. Growing blueberries in soils with a pH higher than 6.0 can trigger problems such as iron chlorosis. Blueberry bushes do best in cool soil that drains well and is moist. Soils should have a minimum of 3 percent organic matter.
Blueberries can survive in lighting conditions ranging from partial shade to full sun. However, for best fruit flavor, blueberry bushes should grow in full sun. Blueberries that grow in shade are often tall and spindly with poor fruit production.
Mulch & Water
Mulching blueberry bushes keeps competing weeds to a minimum and helps hold moisture in the soil. Blueberries have a shallow root system, and require frequent water. In most cases, 1 to 2 inches per week will be sufficient, but you may want to water more if you live in hot, dry climates.