Blueberry bushes serve dual purposes in the garden, producing abundant fruit and offering fall color. Each blueberry bush has the capability of producing 8 qt. of blueberries per season. Numerous blueberry varieties and cultivars exist. Plant only 2-year-old plants for the most successful growth results. Most high bush blueberry bushes have a lifespan of up to 50 years, according to Oregon State University.
The blueberry bush attains a height of 9 ft. when fully grown. Both dwarf and semi-dwarf cultivars are widely available for gardens with limited space. The shrubs produce a profusion of white or pink blossoms each spring. After flowering, tiny green berries form and darken to the deep, bluish-purple of a ripe blueberry. Each fall, the bushes produce brilliant red colors before the leaves fall to the ground, leaving only winter wood.
Virtually all blueberry bushes are self-fertile, but planting two different cultivars will help to ensure adequate pollination and an abundant crop of blueberries. Different varieties and cultivars of blueberries offer different blooming times but most overlap easily to aid in pollination. Utilizing two different cultivars also helps to lengthen the harvest time, according to the Ohio State University.
Spring buds on a blueberry bush carry six to 12 flowers per bud. The first flowers in the bud to emerge are located at the base, and they will be the first to receive pollination. The first flowers will produce the largest fruit.
The blueberry plant requires an ample amount of water to produce fruit. If the plant's root system dries it out, it will automatically stop all new foliage growth to put the required water toward the shrub's berry production. If the drought is extended, the fruit will drop from the shrub.
The blueberry plant requires acidic soil to thrive. A soil pH of 4.5 and 5.5 is ideal. If the soil pH is too high, the bush will show signs of poor and stunted growth. The leaves will turn yellow but will maintain green veins.