1. Northern Highbush – originally from Northern America hence Northern Highbush (these are deciduous – require chill hours (different varieties require different amount of chill hours) – lack of chill affects yield, growth & quality – therefore, ideal for cooler climates or a place with altitude with 200 hours minimum of chill (less than 6 degrees) however, most of the better Northern Highbush require between 400-800 hours of chill
Northern Highbush Blueberries in Annapolis Valley, Nova Scotia.
2. Southern Highbush – originally from Southern America like Florida hence Southern Highbush (these are evergreen – require less chill hours although they are low chill, they are not NO CHILL). These suit warmer climates with cooler winter temps.
Southern Highbush Blueberries at Roses 2 Go in Woongarrah, New South Wales
3. Rabbit-eyes – these are a type of blueberry – usually smaller sized berries (although this is varietal dependent – we’ve seen decent size rabbit-eye fruit in top end of New Zealand) – high yielders and usually come in earlier than blueberries; again chill hours vary on variety.
4. Low-bush blueberries – grown wild in the prairies in Canada & North America – these are machine harvested and these are tiny only about a 40cm max from ground – require substantial chilling like snow & ice. Yield every 2nd year & after 1 year of growth get burnt down & will yield 2nd year. These blueberries are use for frozen market only – and where you get blueberries in yogurt, jams, juices, etc,…
Low-bush blueberries in Nova Scotia, Canada
5. Half-High blueberries – these are obviously a cross between highbush & lowbush – these are compact plants with high fruit to vegetation ratio – no one is trying these on tabletop production under greenhouse – but i’m sure it will happen soon as there is potential with these in intense production.
“Sunshine” – half-high blueberry bush in table-top production.
Keep in mind, some varieties are early, mid-season & late season bearing – it is very important to decide what gap in the market you are going to supply so that you get decent returns – as EVERYONE around the globe are putting in berries and prices will come down & it will become a commodity so peaks in the price for shoulder production is what everyone is aiming for.
In summary blueberries can be grown in many climates, even extremes for example we’ve seen well grown Darrow (Northern Highbush) blueberries grown by Ross Mitchell in far north Scotland.