Sweet northern highbush blueberry varieties - need recommendations


#1

Background info. I grew Duke, Patriot, Elliot, Toro, Bluejay, Blueray and Chandler in ground for about five years before I gave up two years ago. Only Chandler produced a decent amount of tasty berries for me.

Duke and Patriot produced a lot of small, tart berries. The rest produced sparingly. I had a very difficult time lowering my soil ph (even when planting in 100% peat moss) and very high ph water. Such factors affected growth, productivity and possibly taste of the berries.

I like sweet blueberries. It does not have to be totally sweet but the berries I like should have more sweetness than tartness. I don’t want to use the word “well-balanced” here because that can be subjective. I know a lot of forum member like blueberries that are more tart/sour. Not me.

Of all the varieties I grew, Chandler was the one l like. It’s large and not tart. I can’t remember the taste of Toro, Bluejay or Blueray.

I’d like to try growing a few northern highbush varieties again this year. This time they will be pots and watered with more acidic water.

Do you have sweet blueberry varieties that you’d like to recommend, please? Thank you for your help.


#2

Toro is the sweetest i grow, and I grow Chandler, which i don’t think is particularly sweet. One thing I don’t like about Toro, a big thing is it has no firmness. Cara’s Choice is not as sweet but has a more complex flavor, and is firmer. I have a few I have not tasted yet.
Toro is so sweet the green berries are sweet.


#3

What blueberries are the most flavorful, as in sweet/tart? We pick Huckleberries in the mountains, but would love to grow something approching that flavor at home. I have seen Rubel mentioned but don’t know where to start.


#4

Tart blueberries would be best for baking. Sweet ones for eating fresh. (In my view, anyhow.)
And many of the tart ones would have been sweet if not picked for another 3 to 5 days.

Sunshine blue, which I have planted many times in zone 6, will take a 6 pH and clay soils pretty good in Central Kentucky…but the crop is a bit erratic, and matures over 3 weeks or longer. BlueGold is the opposite, getting ripe all at once…and 3 feet tall and sweet berries getting ripe all at once.

I think Elliott is the only one I’ve tried that I won’t try again.


#5

Thank, Drew. When I had Toro, it did not give me many fruit. I could not recall how it tasted. A couple of them were sweet. I just did not remember which ones.

I also agree that Chandler is not very sweet but it is sweet enough and is not tart so it makes a cut.

@ChrisL, I like the taste of Maine’s wild blueberries. We don’t have the kind of soil for it.


#6

I’m following this thread as I’m thinking about putting in couple of blue berry plants.
Mamuang: wouldn’t rabbiteyes work for you in your area? Are they not as sweet as NHB?


#7

Many places sell huckleberries. The half highs are more tart, also a few regular plants taste a lot like wilds, but the name escapes me? I might be thinking of Rubel?


#8

I’ve never pay attention to Rabbiteye. Some southern high bush varieties like sweet crisp, O’ Neal interest me a lot. Growing in pots, I may be tempted to grow them.


#9

try using sulfur to acidify your soil. it stays acidic longer than adding peat or pine needles. follow the package directions. i use about 1/4 cup sprinkled around my blueberries/ lingonberries, then mulch w/ 4in. of pine needles. my well water is 6.5 to 7. i have north blue which is my sweetest blueberry and great producer too. have north sky and patriot which are tarter. putting in Razz this spring , which is supposed to have a raspberry undertone taste. we’ll see in a few years. I’m also adding some wild bog blueberries and native Maine low bush blueberries planted around my high bush varieties. used to pick them with the family and they are by far the best tasting blueberry you will find. not as big berries or as prolific but they spread thru rhizomes and make a big patch. they make the best blueberry pie and worth planting.


#10

I like highbush blueberries, but never had any that I qualified as sweet, other than the ones coming from Peru (and maybe Mexico). All the highbush varieties I had from around here (Bluegold, Northblue, Northland, Chippewa, the ones you mentionned, etc.) were tart, no matter how they were grown or where they came from. I would love to grow sweet blueberries as well !!


#11

try dedicating a patch to wild blueberries. they’re small but the sweetest you can get in a blueberry.


#12

I don’t think a person could go wrong with Spartan. Brady


#13

I know that a couple of the varieties I grew were sweet enough for me. I just could not remember which ones.

@Bradybb, will look into Spartan.

Also, we have a local Upick blueberry farm here. I know some varieties are sweet, some are tart. They don’t have labels on those trees so I do not know. The gals who collect our money don’t know, either. Definitely, there is hope :smile:


#14

Thank you for sharing your experience, Mamuang. I’ve been thinking about growing blueberries and it’s useful to have your perspective, considering we’re in similar conditions.

This is not first-hand experience, so take it for what it’s worth, but when I was going through Nourse Farm’s offerings I noticed that they describe Jersey as being “very sweet”. Sold out for this year, though. (Blueray is the only other variety that NF specifically describes as “sweet”, so reading between the lines it sounds like they consider Jersey to be the sweetest blueberry that they grow.)


#15

I bought one last year and it grew a lot, it should fruit this year. It’s a big plant, and survived just fine in a fabric root pouch outside all year. Looks like a very good grower, happy so far with it.

If you got these by mail order where? I would not mind trying some.


#16

good to hear! I’ve heard good things about that cultivar. Fedco has the wild blueberries. i think i got mine from Hartmann’s. got the bog blueberry from a small nursery online but don’t remember the name.


#17

its listed under ground cover blueberry on Hartmann’s website. the bog blueberry i got from garden plants nursery which i also got a deer berry bush. they have low bush blueberry and huckleberry also.


#18

James,
I think you will have better success than me re. growing blueberries. I live in a small subdivision that our builder filled the area up with cheap fill. My soil lacks nutrient and has neutral ph. I could tell by my several hydrengea having whitish colors if I don’t add lime or sulfur to change ph and their colors.

To make matter worse, our town water is well water and very alkaline. I don’t have enough rain water to use. I got tired of fighting to lower ph of soil and water so I gave up blueberries.

I gave all my blueberries to my dear friend who lives the next town over. Her land is filled with pine trees. Her soil is acidic without any additives. The plants I gave her have thrived in her soil.

This is why this time I will plant blueberries in pots.

If your hydrengeas turn blue without much effort, you are ready for blueberry growing.


#19

Yes, thanks, funny I just ordered from them, thimbleberries, white flowered ones to go along with my red flowered ones. I also ordered the raspberry ground cover. Interesting plants, not the same as creeping raspberry, these arctic raspberries are very productive. I want to use them around my blueberries instead of strawberries, well at least in one bed.
I will probably order the ground cover blues next year. I have space for one more raised bed, they can have it. I have to build it yet.


#20

How often do you add the sulfur and what time of the year? Sounds like an easy method.