Blueberry plants vary widely in size depending on which blueberry varieties you’re growing. Dwarf varieties can grow up to 24 inches tall (60 cm) while the largest type of blueberries can grow up to 12 feet tall (3.5 meters). The width of a blueberry bush can vary as well. They range from only a few inches wide to several feet wide depends on the type. It’s important to know what variety of blueberry bush you are growing. This crucial information lets you know how much room to give to each plant in your blueberry patch. In this article, we will cover the most common types of blueberry cultivars and how high each can grow.
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What Size Do Blueberry Bushes Grow To?
Because blueberry cultivars grow to such different heights, it’s easiest to break them down by categories. Keep in mind that blueberry bushes only reach their peak height if planted in acidic soil with plenty of soil moisture, nutrients, and organic matter. With the right care, your blueberry bush can reach full size and live for a surprisingly long time. With that in mind, let’s dive into heights by variety.
Lowbush blueberries are one of the smaller varieties. These smaller bushes will rarely grow beyond a few inches tall, up to a single foot in height (30 cm) at their peak. This small size means it will never produce a spectacular blueberry harvest, but it makes efficient use of space. Lowbush varieties are ideal if you have limited gardening room. They can even work as a potted plant in an apartment.
Northern highbush blueberries are a hardy variety that reaches 6 to 7 feet tall at maturity (2 meters). This type of blueberry bush can withstand a cold winter or two. This makes northern highbush cultivars well-prized by berry growers in colder berry regions like Central Oregon. This cultivar also contains one of the most popular sub-cultivar types: bluecrop blueberries. A bluecrop blueberry bush grows to a large size and produces great all-purpose blueberries with larger yields than many other cultivars.
Southern highbush blueberries grow to about 6 feet in height (1.8 meters). These types of blueberries need milder winter weather compared to their northern counterparts. Consequently, they typically are grown in the South and Mid-Atlantic berry regions of North America.
Rabbiteye blueberries can grow to a stunning 9 feet tall (2.75 meters). Rabbiteye varieties are known for their excellent flavor. Plus, they resist common pests. Berry growers prize them because their resistance to insect pests makes care of the blueberry bushes much simpler.
Half-high blueberries are named because they grow roughly half as tall as highbush varieties. Sizes for these bushes will average between 2 and 4 feet tall (about 1 meter). Half-highs are fairly cold tolerant and are a good compromise between dwarf varieties and giant varieties. If your garden is short on cubic feet for rows of blueberry bushes, half-highs are an excellent pick.
How Long Does it Take for a Blueberry Bush to Grow to Full Size?
Blueberry bushes vary in growth time by cultivar. However, most cultivars take between 6 and 10 years to reach full size. This can change drastically in some cases. Lowbush blueberry varieties only take 2 to 3 years to mature because of their small size.
- Lowbush Blueberry: 2–3 years
- Northern Highbush: 6–8 years
- Southern Highbush: 6–8 years
- Half-High Blueberry: 6–8 years
- Rabbiteye Blueberry: 8–10 years
Northern highbush, southern highbush, and half-high varieties all take 6 to 8 years to reach full size. Rabbiteye varieties take a bit longer, needing 8 to 10 years to reach full size. If you’re not sure how long your cultivar needs, be sure to consult your local gardening center for advice.
How Much Space Does a Blueberry Bush Need?
Some blueberries need hardly any space at all. Some berry growers with limited space grow smaller blueberries in pots indoors. This can be done with small varieties like the lowbush cultivar. However, most blueberry types will need a bit more space than a pot can provide. Blueberry planting tips for spacing are as follows:
- If you’re forming a hedge, plant individual bushes 2.5 feet apart (75 cm).
- If you want the bushes separate, plant individual bushes 6 feet apart (1.8 meters).
- If you’re planting rows, plant bushes 6 feet apart and allow 8 to 10 feet between rows (3 meters).
These tips will help keep root growth and cane growth manageable. Hedges can be nice for privacy but can make harvesting harder. Individualized bushes work better for harvesting but require a lot of space. If you have enough space for multiple rows, you’re quite lucky and other berry growers will envy your garden.
How Long Does it Take to Get Blueberries From a Blueberry Bush?
The overwhelming majority of blueberry bushes will need 2 to 3 years before they start bearing fruit. The first year is spent on growing buds and it’s recommended to pinch off these buds in that first year. In the second year, many bushes will begin to grow berries from their buds. However, once again, it’s recommended to pinch off the buds this year. By doing this, you ensure that all of your bush’s energy goes into maturing. Thus your first harvest in the third year will be especially good. After that, it takes a few more years for blueberry bushes to hit full fruit production.
How Many Blueberries Will One Plant Produce?
Larger cultivars will produce between 5 and 7 pints (2 to 3 liters) of blueberries each year. Smaller cultivars will not produce nearly that much. You’ll be lucky to get a few cups (half a liter) of blueberries off a lowbush type. If you want a large harvest of this delicious fruit, go for the bigger cultivars if they work for your region.
- 5–7 pints (2–3 liters) per year for large blueberry cultivars.
- 2–3 cups (500–700 ml) for lowbush blueberries.
- Lowbush blueberries produce less fruit, but the berries are sweeter.
Keep in mind, smaller harvests aren’t necessarily worse. Though small cultivars produce small harvests, they’re also known for especially delicious berries. More flavor gets concentrated in smaller berries. Lowbush blueberries have been described as almost candy-sweet as a result. So it may be worth growing smaller berry bushes.
How Big Do Blueberry Plants Get?
Blueberry plants grow in different sizes depending on variety (also known as cultivar). Heights can vary from 1 foot to 12 feet but the five main varieties of blueberry bush break down like this:
- Lowbush blueberries – 1 foot (30 cm)
- Northern highbush blueberries – 7 feet (2 meters)
- Southern highbush blueberries – 6 feet (1.8 meters)
- Rabbiteye blueberries – 9 feet (2.75 meters)
- Half-high blueberries – 4 feet (1.2 meters)
Be sure to research your region to find out what variety grows best where you live. Then, be sure to be well informed on possible sizes for your blueberry bush. There’s nothing worse than expecting a 9-foot rabbiteye and unexpectedly getting a 1 foot lowbush by mistake.