Varieties of Rabbiteye Blueberries

Rabbiteye blueberries (Vaccinium spp.) are indigenous to the warm and humid south-eastern United States but are adapted to Sunset’s Environment Zones 8, 9 and 14 through 24. Named for the resemblance of the form of the flower scar to the eye of a rabbit, these shrubs have better drought resistance than blueberries and need time. Unlike the usually self- blueberries, although, two types are needed for cross pollination. Select varieties that can thrive in your problems.

Choosing Types

Rabbiteyes behave differently in various climates, therefore it’s essential to consider aspects such as when the fruits will ripen in your region and when certain types will bloom. Like, “Powder Blue” is an older range detailed as a mid-season berry in the south-east, where it originated. University of Oregon scientists B. C. Strik and C. E. It is highly recommended by Finn for home gardens in the north-west as a late-season variety. When “Powder Blue” was incorporated as a berry for late-season harvest in check plots in the Kearney Agricultural Research and Extension Center in California’s San Joaquin Valley, nevertheless, the berries tended to shrivel in the August heat.

Older Types

Although College of Georgia horticulturalists working with breeding rabbiteye types tout the advancements in current introductions, University of California Cooperative Extension personnel Don Merhaut and Kathie Carter suggest an older range, “Climax.” An early-season range in the south-east, “Climax” ripens in June and July to the central California coastline. Its great fall shade in hotter climates is an advantage for home gardeners, notes Jennifer Trehane in her guide, “Blueberries, Cranberries and Other Vacciniums.” For pollination, pair “Climax” with other early-season types.

Recent American Introductions

Of the newer, patented rabbiteye introductions in the U.S. south-east, Drop Creek Nursery, the accredited nationwide distributor, suggests “Vernon” for California gardeners. For big berries in July and August, plant “Vernon” with other early bloomers. Although Drop Creek suggests another current introduction, “Alapaha,” the older range “Climax” should act as a cross-pollinator, as well.

New Zealand Introductions

Blueberry types were released to New Zealand, where several new types have been developed by breeders. Merhaut and Carter suggest a 1990 New Zealand introduction, “Maru,” for berries in July and August. Another 1990 Newzealand introduction, “Rahi,” fared nicely in the KARE Middle late-time trials. These two huge-berried kinds could be planted together for crosspollination.

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