Blueberries for Seattle - cross-pollination, good varieties, etc.

adam211(8-Seattle)June 11, 2013

I'm in Seattle, and have a small yard.

I'm posting this here because I've seen some conflicting information on whether a variety is early-, mid-, or late-season (probably because it varies on geography?) and also conflicting information on whether northern highbush can cross-pollinate southern highbush. So I have some specific questions for my area and am also looking for suggestions for good varieties.

I want to place some blueberries as a small, light, simple border and then maybe a couple others nearby. I think it'd be nice for the hedge to be consistent, airy, and beautiful year round, so I was thinking Sunshine Blue which seems to be a great mix of flavor, beauty, and size for my purposes.

My priorities are:
1. Beauty
2. Flavor
3. Bounty

I would like to try another variety or two, both for sake of variety and to increase the produce of Sunshine Blue. So far I'm thinking Misty and Sweetcrisp. Sweetcrisp for flavor. I'm less sold on Misty as its reviews are more mixed but it seems like a decent berry and nice shapes, so I may skip it altogether.

Now, the blueberry flowering charts seem to all be slightly different, and I can't even find a chart including Sweetcrisp. Best I can tell, the Sweetcrisp and Misty will cross-pollinate and the Sweetcrisp and Sunshine Blue will cross-pollinate, and all will be great because they are all southern highbush?

I was considering something else for additional flavor, like Liberty or Legacy or Cara's Choice or Hannah's Choice, but then don't I have to be careful for the season to get those to fruit? I could plant two that bloom at the same time, I suppose, but that's again where I need help because information is scarce/varied.

Maybe a good option is a hedge of 4-5 Sunshine Blue, and 1 each Sweetcrisp, Legacy, and Liberty, and maybe a Peach Sorbet out of curiosity I think those would all have another species flowering at the same time and also provide me lots of flavor and a good show of color with all the Sunshine Blue, plus they produce in different seasons which is a huge plus.

Does this seem to be a good mix? Will the Sunshine Blue/Sweetcrisp and Legacy/Liberty cross-pollinate? I'm also little concerned the Sweetcrisp/Legacy/Liberty are too large for my small garden. Do they get overly big/bushy, and can I trim them back?



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Hi Adam,
I'm in Redmond and have all those varieties except for Liberty and Peach Sorbet.
With our Summers in this area,it should late,later and latest,lol.Just kidding,but it may take longer for the fruit to ripen than a lot of areas that have more heat.
I'm not sure what your desired mature height is,but some Highbush can get six feet and almost as wide.It sounds like these will be in the ground?
Sunshine Blue doesn't get extremely big and it's cousin,Bountiful Blue may be something to check out.
I got my Sweetcrisp from mail order natives,but I think they're out of them now.
From what I understand most Blueberries will fruit on their own but companions make it better.Southern Highbush are compatible with their own kind or a hybrid like Legacy and the same goes for the Northern types.
Some of the ones mentioned in your post were only recently added to my collection,like Cara's and Hannah's Choice,but from what I've read,they taste great.
About the only Blueberry I grow that is kind of meh is Berkeley. Brady

    Bookmark   June 11, 2013 at 2:02AM
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Bradybb, do the SHB you have keep leaves in the winter or not? If they are evergreen, how much leaf disease do they have with all the rains you get? Thanks for any info.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2013 at 1:02AM
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Hello tc88,
Yes,the Bountiful Blue,Misty,Sunshine Blue and Legacy kept most of their leaves.Some others,like Star and Sweetcrisp,I recently acquired,so I'll find out next Winter.
The leaves on some Southern Highbush,like Misty,to me, are kind of funky anyway,so some of them can get kind of crinkly looking,but I don't think I'd call it a disease.They seem to fair well here.
This area does get it's share of rain,usually in November and December,but the overcast is the thing.Some places will get a lot of rain all at once and then it will clear up.Here,the gray may stay for a few days with not much precipitation.
One Winter,I had to cover the Bountiful and Sunshine because snow was building up on the leaves and could have broken some branches and an ice storm came right after. Brady

    Bookmark   June 12, 2013 at 4:01AM
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Yes, these will be planted in the ground. 6' x 6' is a bit big, but perhaps doable. I guess if they are open and airy, then it's fine, but if they are pretty thick or bushy I don't think I could handle it in my yard. At that size I could probably not plant a lot more than one, maybe none. Do they do well cut back?

Any of the others I mentioned stay smaller, other than the Sunshine Blue? I guess now I'm looking for good small bushes, unless the others do cut back decently.

Lastly, Brady, do yours flower at about the same time here?


This post was edited by adam211 on Wed, Jun 12, 13 at 10:04

    Bookmark   June 12, 2013 at 10:03AM
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Probably plants like Sunshine Blue and Bountiful Blue will work for your situation.I'm sure they can be pruned to a certain extent.
There is also the dwarf,Northern Highbush,Tophat or some half highs like Chippewa that could work.Some only get 3-4 feet tall or less.
Yes,most flower about the same time. Brady

This post was edited by Bradybb on Wed, Jun 12, 13 at 11:44

    Bookmark   June 12, 2013 at 11:27AM
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Bradybb, thanks for the info. I used to have a Misty too. But the leaves stayed on and seemed to act as the wintering medium of some rust diseases on my site. I got rid of that one and have been hesitant to plant any which carry leaves over winter. I was hoping to find some SHB that shed leaves, but I guess I may have to stick with NHB. If you happen come across later some SHB that shed leaves, please let me know. Thanks.

This post was edited by tc88 on Thu, Jun 13, 13 at 1:48

    Bookmark   June 13, 2013 at 1:43AM
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Fine-tuning what I want here. I've got a few varieties to plant to the side, but want a small hedge between me and my neighbor. Thinking a line of Sunshine Blue, but second-guessing since the leaves aren't as big and green so a little more undefined. Maybe it would become more defined as the plant gets older, but was wondering if Toro (or Liberty?) would make a better hedge. I haven't seen Toro in person so hard call.

Anyone, thoughts on a pretty, 4-foot-ish hedge that produces a nice blueberry? Torn between something like Toro or Sunshine Blue.

One advantage of Sunshine Blue is that it IS evergreen to keep the hedge in the winter.

This post was edited by adam211 on Tue, Jun 18, 13 at 2:35

    Bookmark   June 18, 2013 at 2:34AM
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How about Evergreen Huckleberry?The leaves stay on and could most likely be pruned to shape.It's a nice looking plant. Brady

    Bookmark   June 18, 2013 at 4:08AM
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That's true. Leaves on the tree aren't a requirement though--and the Evergreen Huckleberry isn't so green in full sun. Probably between Toro and Sunshine Blue.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2013 at 9:26PM
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I've been waiting to plant my blueberries because the weather has been in the 90's. It's down to the 70's now, but should I keep them in their nursery containers until late Fall? All have lots of berries ripening.

    Bookmark   July 4, 2013 at 12:12PM
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Yes,keeping then in the containers may be best and plant in October.
If they are planted now,just keep the soil moist. Brady

    Bookmark   July 4, 2013 at 6:17PM
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Sunshine in zone 9A/B is far from ever green. It losses most all its leafs and only tends to hang on to 4 or 5 leafs per branch at the very tip. Maybe its just my area but thats been the norm for this variety for 4 years now.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2013 at 6:08PM
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