(vaccinium corymbosum)

Blueberry is a fruit that taste sweet and sour with North America as its country of origin. The most grown variety of these berries in the present time is believed to have originated in the twentieth century.

Types of Blueberries

  • Highbush Blueberry
    Native to eastern North America – shrub and major blueberry producing species in commerce. Over 50 cultivars have been developed. Northern highbush varieties grow in hardiness zones 4-7. Southern varieties grow in hardiness zones 7-10. Highbush blueberries typically grow up to 6-8 feet high (180-240 cm) and yield up to 7 pounds per plant. They meld right into a shrub border or can be used as a hedge by itself.
  • Lowbush Blueberry
    Native to northeastern North America – Lowbush blueberry is a low-growing shrub that ranges from only 6-24 in. tall (15-60 cm) and spreads by means of underground stems to form a dense mat. Hardy to zones 3-7, it yields about 5 to 10 pounds per 100 square feet. The blueberries are generally smaller, sweeter, and less aromatic than those of highbush blueberries, although the flavor varies from plant to plant. Lowbush blueberries are ideal as a ground cover. You may interplant them with small spring bulbs whose dying foliage will be hidden as the leaves of your Lowbush blueberry unfold.
  • Hybrid half high bush
    This variety is commercially cultivated in South America.
    However in North America, the wild variety with many branches i.e. High bush species Vaccinium corymbosum and Vaccinium austral has been cultured to propagate new varieties which can grow in cold temperatures. The commercial plantation of blueberries are not found in India or in Nepal but it’s considered a very lucrative business in farming sector in other parts of the world. The health benefits of these berries have certainly made it one of the most valued among fruits.

Medicinal value of blueberry.

The presence of antioxidant Anthocyanidins which is blue in colour makes this fruit free from threat of getting infected from bacteria and other insects. This fruit has high amount of vitamins and low calorie contents. The presence of vitamin C, vitamin K and dietary fibres make this fruit extremely healthy for consumption. This fruit delays the process of damage of cells hence proves helpful for retaining good health. It helps to fight diabetes. Since this fruit has ample quantity of antioxidants, it helps as anti-ageing component. Besides being an anti-cancerous fruit, it prevents the possibility of cataract, ulcer and many other ailments in human body. Based on one of the experiments conducted by a re-noun University, it was discovered that out of more than fifty fruits and vegetables to check antioxidant quantity, it was discovered that Blueberries top the list with maximum level of antioxidants in it. The following points must be considered for a successful cultivation of blueberries.

Blueberries are perennial plants and also used as an ornamental bush in gardens. These are basically low maintenance plants therefore it’s easy to cultivate commercially.
For a long term benefit from blueberry farming few instrumental methods should be followed. While selecting the cultivable land one has to select a land with adequate exposure to light, ample water for irrigation besides well drainage facility.

The blueberries grow well in any soil type with proper drainage system and mixed with high quality compost. The ph. level of the soil should be between 4 to 5.5. If the ph. level is higher, than a little quantity of sulphur should be added to bring the optimum level enabling high yield.

The land has to be well ploughed and levelled.There shouldn’t be the presence of weeds in the field. Prior to two weeks of planting young berry plants, pits measuring 2 ft. of diameter and 1 ft. depth has to be prepared and place manure in these pits. (Mix with soil in pits) While sowing the young saplings of blueberries the distance between two pits (saplings) should be 80 cm and the distance between each row should be 3 metre.
Normally the plantation is aptly done during spring time but under adequate care and controlled irrigation facility, the cultivation can happen throughout the year.

The seedlings can be propagated from high quality seeds.

Basically these berries are short and bushy kind of plants. Out of many branches it’s viable to keep 9 to 12 branches which gives ample yield and hence productive. Yearly care includes the eradication of dead and infected branches. First two years it’s advisable to prevent fruiting by crushing the flowers so the fruiting doesn’t happen enhancing the quality and productivity of the seeds. There should be removal of all fruiting attempts from the lower branches of the plant which will provide sturdiness to the plant. The first four years doesn’t require the pruning of the bush however in the last days of winters when the saplings show vigorous growth, timely pruning is advisable.

This plant saplings doesn’t easily get infected however care from birds are necessary. It can be done by covering the saplings with net shelters.

The watering part has to begin as soon as the saplings are planted. Weekly soil checking has to be ensured. In dry seasons, checking the moisture level, if necessary, watering has to be regularized.

Weeding has to done time to time depending on the growth in the surrounding of saplings.

Since these fruit in bunches, the ripening happens in batches too. When the fruit turns dark blue, it’s ready to be plucked. When most of the berries ripened, the bunch should be just left for some time and plucked with better taste and fragrance.

The yield however completely depends on the soil condition, irrigation, manure and other environmental elements.
Normally, the first yield from each bush amounts to 1kg.The productivity doubles after the plant reaches to 6 to 7 years. The highest yield may come to 10 kg per bush but in an average each bush wouldn’t yield less than 6 kg after its maturity. The normal fruit yielding period for these berries would be between 20 to 25 years.