Highbush blueberry is an acid-loving, medium-sized shrub for extremely wet sites. Clusters of white urn-shaped spring flowers, edible blue fruit, and reddish fall color add year-round appeal.
"This species is native to the Chicago Region according to Swink and Wilhelm's Plants of the Chicago Region, with updates made according to current research."
All Common Names:
Tree or Plant Type:
- Deciduous (seasonally loses leaves)
- Chicago area,
- North America
- Large shrub (more than 8 feet)
- Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)
- Zone 3,
- Zone 4,
- Zone 5 (Chicago),
- Zone 6,
- Zone 7
- Acid soil,
- Wet soil
Season of Interest:
- Early summer,
- Mid summer,
- Late summer,
- Early fall
Flower Color & Fragrance:
Shape or Form:
Tree & Plant Care
Highbush blueberries can reach 6 to 15 feet high.
Some plants are self-fertile but planting 2 plants ensures better fruit set. May take 4 to 8 years to produce fruits.
Best in sunny, acid (pH 4.5 -5.5) , well-drained but moist soils with lots of organic matter. Will not produce in too alkaline soil.
Keep soil evenly moist, do not let dry out. Mulch to conserve moisture and moderate soil temperatures.
Prune plants when they reach 5 feet tall, then annually remove old wood and thin crowded branches.
Disease, pests, and problems
Chlorosis in high pH soils, stem cankers, virus, and plum curculio
Native geographic location and habitat
Maine to Minnesota, upper North America, including Illinois
Attracts birds, pollinators, or wildlife
Birds and other wildlife are attracted to the fruit. Can be a nuisance.
Bark color and texture
Thin, yellow-green to reddish stems in winter. Young stems are hairy.
Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture
Alternate, simple to elliptical, 1 to 3 inches long on short petioles.
Leaf sizes can be variable even on same plant. Dark green above, paler beneath.
Fall color is brilliant red.
Flower arrangement, shape, and size
Short, terminal clusters of white, urn-shaped flowers in late April to mid-May
Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions
Green berry matures to a dark purple, covered with a whitish bloom. Fruit ripens in July and is edible.
Cultivars and their differences
Several cultivars available and should be selected by climate location.