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Rabbiteye Blueberry Vaccinium virgatum

Previously known as:

  • Vaccinium ashei
Description

Blueberries are one of the few plants that offer both beauty and taste throughout most of the year. They also add grace to the landscape and provide dazzling color in the fall. Why not plant them in your home landscape? Blueberries are spectacular in the fall with brilliant yellow and red foliage that lights up the landscape. The common name rabbiteye comes from the fact that the fruit is pink before it turns blue like the color of a white rabbit's eye. 

Blueberries require a lower soil pH than many other small fruit crops and other plants. Therefore, consider grouping them with other acid-loving plants such as holliesazaleasrhododendrons, and camellias. Before planting, take a soil test. The ideal pH for blueberries is between 4.0 and 5.0 or 5.5, depending on the cultivar. Little annual attention is required, except for occasional pruning. The plants' feeder roots are very close to the surface and do not have root hairs; therefore, good soil moisture management and heavy mulches are needed. Deep sandy soils cannot be used unless they are drip irrigated. Plants will not tolerate heavy clay soils with poor aeration and drainage.

Both the highbush and rabbiteye types grow well in North Carolina. In comparison to Highbush, rabbiteye is more widely adapted to various soil types (can tolerate higher pH), and has a lower chilling requirement so they will bloom earlier than highbush. They require at least three other shrubs to be planted for proper cross-pollination.

Insects Diseases and Other Plant Problems:  Spotted wing drosophila may attack the fruit. Potential but infrequent disease problems include stem blight, root rot, anthracnose, cane canker, mildew, and botrytis. Mummy berry is a fungal disease that causes the berries to shrivel and drop.  Birds relish the fruit, so cover shrubs with netting as the fruit ripens. These plants are frequently damaged by deer.   If the soil pH is too high it will cause chlorosis (yellowing of leaves).  Because they bloom so early blossoms can be subject to late winter frosts.

 

 

Cultivars:
  • 'Premier'
    self-fruitful
Tags:
#deciduous#fall color#acidic soil#hedge#cpp#screens#edible landscaping#edible fruits
Cultivars:
  • 'Premier'
    self-fruitful
Tags:
#deciduous#fall color#acidic soil#hedge#cpp#screens#edible landscaping#edible fruits
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Vaccinium
    Species:
    virgatum
    Family:
    Ericaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Woody
    Wildlife Value:
    Flowers attract butterflies and bees. It is a host plant for the Brown Elfin butterfly. Its fruit attracts songbirds, small mammals, ruffed grouse, wild turkey, black bears and squirrels. Members of the genus Vaccinium support the following specialized bees:Andrena (Conandrena) bradleyi, Andrena (Andrena) carolina, Panurginus atramontensis, Habropoda laboriosa, Colletes productus, Colletes validus, and Osmia (Melanosmia) virga.
    Play Value:
    Wildlife Enhancement
    Edibility:
    Blueberries are nutritional stars, providing a powerhouse boost of antioxidants and nutrients without adding many calories.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 10 ft. 0 in. - 15 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 8 ft. 0 in. - 10 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Edible
    Native Plant
    Shrub
    Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Erect
    Texture:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Available Space To Plant:
    6-feet-12 feet
    12-24 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Piedmont
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Blue
    Fruit Value To Gardener:
    Edible
    Showy
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Summer
    Fruit Type:
    Berry
    Fruit Length:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Width:
    < 1 inch
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Pink
    White
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Flower Shape:
    Bell
    Flower Petals:
    fused petals
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    Attractive, bell-shaped, white and occasionally pink flowers in the spring.
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Leathery
    Deciduous Leaf Fall Color:
    Red/Burgundy
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Width:
    < 1 inch
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Coastal
    Recreational Play Area
    Landscape Theme:
    Children's Garden
    Native Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Design Feature:
    Hedge
    Screen/Privacy
    Small groups
    Specimen
    Attracts:
    Songbirds
    Specialized Bees