Recommended Websites
Recommended books:

Western Garden Book by Sunset

Western Garden Book of Edibles by Sunset

California Native Plants for the Garden by Bornstein, Fross, and O’Brien

Edible Landscapes by Rosalind Creasy

The Edible Herb Garden by Rosalind Creasy

Western Garden Problem Solver by Sunset

Unquenchable: America's Water Crisis and What to Do about It Robert Glennon

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    Entries in blueberry plant (1)


    Blueberries for Warm Winter Climate

    Sunshine Blue photo from Monrovia Nursery website

    Southern Highbush Blueberries

    Vaccinium corymbosum and then name of variety from below

    Southern highbush berries are a hybrid of North American native northern highbush and the native southern blueberries.  They don't require the extensive chill of other blueberries such as northern highbush and rabbiteye and so perform well in mild winter climates such as California.
    Blueberries grow well as a hedge, screen, in containers, shrubs in the edible garden and mixed with ornamental plants requiring the same climate and soil conditions.  Two designs in my gallary have blueberries incoporated into the landscape.  Once the berries are blue and have a whitish or grayish coating, they should be ready for harvest.  They will not ripen further after they are picked.  Blueberries can last a few weeks on the bush once ripe, so they don't require daily picking. They are ready when they easily come right off.  (See below for info on how to freeze or dry your extra harvest by Rosalind Creasy.)

    Most blueberries ripen early summer to winter.  Some are "early" and some are mid-season through fall. 
    Most require more than one variety to pollinate; plus, planting different types can lengthen the harvest period.  It is also recommended to plant two plants for each consumer if you want plenty!  Birds are the primary competitor in the garden and a net that allows bees in is the only way to keep the fruit from the birds.  Blueberries can be evergreen in the mild climate and never drop their leaves.
    Those that have the chill to drop leaves can be very attractive with yellow orange to brilliant red fall color.

    Most southern highbush get tall and will only need pruning to control shape or size.  Don't prune the first few years except for broken branches.  Blueberries will primarily fruit on new growth.
    One variety is a semi-dwarf and gets 3' tall and is self fruiting but it is still better to have more then one kind for best pollinization.
    You should be able to find plants at SouthBay nurseries such as; Summerwinds, Almaden Valley Nursery or Yamigami's.
    IF they don't have what you want in stock, they may be able to order it for you.
    For a hedge like appearance (even if not pruned) plant 3' apart.  For individual shrubs, plant 4-5' apart.

    Blueberries need the same soil and water requirements as Azaleas with moist well drained acidic soil and regular water; however blueberries need full sun.  In summer they likely will need water at least once a week and more often during heat waves.  They have shallow roots that grow out more than down.  Every spring, add mulch which will help keep weeds down, retain moisture and protect surface roots in addition to adding nutrients.  Acidic pine needles are a good mulch to use.  Small soil kits at nurseries and hardware stores can help you watch the acid level of your soil which should be a pH level 4.5 to 5.5.
    Use an organic acid loving fertilizer suitable for Azaleas and Rhododendrons.  Blueberry Flowers of Sunshine Blue, photo from Monrovia nursery website types grow best and produce a good harvest in a mild winter climate such as most of California.

    Harvest late summer through fall
    Grows 4-5' tall and wide in a tall upright form, moderate growth
    Medium to large sky blue berries that are good flavor
    Can be a blue green evergreen or yellow orange for fall color
    White flowers in spring (500 chill hours)


    Harvest midsummer through fall
    Grows 5-6' tall and wide, moderate growth
    Large very sweet berries with excellent flavor
    Heavy fruit bearer
    Leaves are a blue green and turn red for fall
    Pink flowers late spring (300 chill hours)


    Harvest summer to fall, considered early
    Grows 5' tall and 6' wide, moderate grower
    Considered to have the best flavor and large dark blue berries
    Can be evergreen with green leaves to brilliant red fall color
    White flowers in spring (200-400 chill hours)


    Harvest early to mid-season in summer - almost year round bloom and berries
    Grows 5-6' tall and wide, moderate grower
    Large and fast growing green semi-evergreen shrub
    Large dark blue berries with excellent flavor
    White flowers in spring (300-500 chill hours)

    Harvest early summer to mid-season
    Grows upright to 6' tall and wide, moderately vigorous growth
    Large bright blue berries with excellent flavor on green shrub
    White flowers  in spring and fall color being deciduous (500 chill hours)

    "Sunshine Blue'
    Harvest in summer
    Compact 3'-4' tall and wide semi-dwarf, moderate and compact growth
    Can be grown in containers
    Abundant large light blue tangy flavored berries
    Green semi-evergreen with hot pink flowers that fade to white
    Self pollinating but still does best with another variety to cross pollinate
    Pink flowers in late spring (150 chill hours)

     Blueberries are highly nutritious and have high antioxidant power.  Freezing and/or drying the extra harvest makes them available at other times of the year.
    Per Rosalind Creasy, to freeze blueberries, wash and pat them dry and then place as a single layer on a cookie sheet and freeze.  Once frozen, they can be saved in freezer bags.  Use them frozen or thawed in smoothies and baked goods.
    To dry blueberries, use firm berries washed and pat dry and place on a plastic screen out of direct sun in a warm dry place. Stir them on occasion to insure equal air circulation and drying. In 4-5 days the berries should be dry and have no moisture when squeezed.  Soak in water and refrigerate for a few hours to re-hydrate and use like canned blueberries in recipes.

    Resource information Monrovia Nursery website, Sunset Western Garden Book, and Edible Landscaping by Rosalind Creasy.