Author Topic: Blueberries in warmer climates  (Read 851 times)

eez0

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Blueberries in warmer climates
« on: August 29, 2022, 06:33:24 AM »
I know there are some low chill blueberries, but are they low enough that you can grow them in South Florida or Hawaii? Which are the climate most similar to the one where I live.

skhan

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Re: Blueberries in warmer climates
« Reply #1 on: August 29, 2022, 08:20:09 AM »
I grew blueberries in a pot and got a few.
Didn't really seem to have a problem here.
The only reason why I stopped was because of the raccoons pulling out the drip irrigation in the middle of the summer.

pagnr

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Re: Blueberries in warmer climates
« Reply #2 on: August 29, 2022, 10:16:52 AM »
There is a big area of Blueberries in Subtropical NSW , Coffs Harbour area. This was previously a major Banana growing area.
I think they mainly grow Southern Highbush varieties.
"These low chill varieties are specially bred for heat tolerance and low winter chilling. They produce unique foliage, bloom and plant characteristics to that of the Northern Highbush. Southern Highbush varieties require between 250-600 chill hours and do not survive frosts. Plants live around 10 years."
Not sure how well that area matches yours ? Probably has subtropical summers but some colder winter nights ?

Fygee

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Re: Blueberries in warmer climates
« Reply #3 on: August 29, 2022, 12:41:50 PM »
Experimentally growing some here in Vegas. Two most important things are low chill, southern varieties that are listed as Zone 9 compatible, and also making sure the soil pH stays in the 5.5 - 6.5 range. Grow it in a pot if your native soil is more alkaline (for Florida and Hawaii that's not much of an issue, but it definitely is southwest desert). You'll also want to keep an eye out on sun tolerance. Probably best to give morning sun and afternoon shade.
Continuing my journey to disprove those who say "You can't grow that in the desert" since 2013.

Aiptasia904

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Re: Blueberries in warmer climates
« Reply #4 on: August 29, 2022, 12:59:06 PM »
We have a lot of blueberry farms around us in zone 9b/9a in Central and North Florida. Miller Blueberry Farm in Interlachen, FL is about an hour drive south of us. They plant their blueberries in elevated rows of mixed organic and sandy loamy soil at about five foot distance between the plants and use a rain sequestering pond for irrigation. The key here in the heat is to keep them watered about two to three times a week with a minimum of five gallons of water each watering per plant if we haven't gotten 1" of rain lately. That usually means running a sprinkler setup for 30-40 minutes. The soil pH needs to be on the acidic side from 5.0 to 6.0 with 5.5 being the sweet spot, so use a lot of organics. They do fine in full sun in rows or containers either is fine and feed them organic fertilizers every two months. Fish emulsion, kelp meal and chicken poop are excellent choices.

The biggest problems you'll have are birds and other critters raiding the bushes for berries. It's funny. at Miller's farm they have motion detection air cannons all over the orchards that will fire whenever they sense movement which scares the crap out of birds and other varmints. U-pick is always hilarious as it sounds like a Vietnam flashback with the air cannons going off while you pick.

Aiptasia904

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Re: Blueberries in warmer climates
« Reply #5 on: August 29, 2022, 01:00:11 PM »
We have a lot of blueberry farms around us in zone 9b/9a in Central and North Florida. Miller Blueberry Farm in Interlachen, FL is about an hour drive south of us. They plant their blueberries in elevated rows of mixed organic and sandy loamy soil at about five foot distance between the plants and use a rain sequestering pond and pumps to sprinklers for irrigation. The key here in the heat is to keep them watered about two to three times a week with a minimum of five gallons of water each watering per plant if we haven't gotten 1" of rain lately. That usually means running a sprinkler setup for 30-40 minutes. The soil pH needs to be on the acidic side from 5.0 to 6.0 with 5.5 being the sweet spot, so use a lot of organics. They do fine in full sun in rows or containers either is fine and feed them organic fertilizers every two months. Fish emulsion, kelp meal and chicken poop are excellent choices.

The biggest problems you'll have are birds and other critters raiding the bushes for berries. It's funny. at Miller's farm they have motion detection air cannons all over the orchards that will fire whenever they sense movement which scares the crap out of birds and other varmints. U-pick is always hilarious as it sounds like a Vietnam flashback with the air cannons going off while you pick.


Galatians522

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Re: Blueberries in warmer climates
« Reply #7 on: August 29, 2022, 11:38:30 PM »
Some southern high bush varieties will produce small amounts of fruit even with 0 chill. When we had a blueberry field, there were always some berries that came ripe around Thanksgiving. These bushes would have bloomed in September to ripen fruits at that time, so there would have been no possibility for chill in this area. The majority of our fruit came ripe in April, however, after the winter dormancy period. I believe you posted earlier about apples producing in your area. If Anna apples will fruit, so will southern high bush blueberries. Sharpe Blue was one of the ones we used to grow that was pretty low chill and seemed to have good flavor with fewer disease problems. Its probably an "heirloom" cultivar by now since commercial growers have moved on to newer varieties with better harvesting and shipping qualities.

The Herb Swamp

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Re: Blueberries in warmer climates
« Reply #8 on: August 30, 2022, 05:21:58 AM »
I also recommend mulberries instead. I tried to grow the following varieties and they succumbed to extreme rust and root rot except one, here in Florida: Biloxi, Sunshine Blue, Sharp Blue, Emerald and Pink Lemonade. These are all low chill varieties but the only one I have left is Biloxi and this is a tough plant. I even transplanted it mid summer and it grew immediately afterward with no shock. Most blueberry bushes would have croaked so Id probably never grow another variety here aside from that one.
« Last Edit: August 30, 2022, 05:34:16 AM by The Herb Swamp »

fruit nerd

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Re: Blueberries in warmer climates
« Reply #9 on: August 30, 2022, 06:31:34 AM »
I have one under our house in a pot that is fruiting now (not much fruit but hey)

Galatians522

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Re: Blueberries in warmer climates
« Reply #10 on: August 30, 2022, 08:32:31 AM »
I also recommend mulberries instead. I tried to grow the following varieties and they succumbed to extreme rust and root rot except one, here in Florida: Biloxi, Sunshine Blue, Sharp Blue, Emerald and Pink Lemonade. These are all low chill varieties but the only one I have left is Biloxi and this is a tough plant. I even transplanted it mid summer and it grew immediately afterward with no shock. Most blueberry bushes would have croaked so Id probably never grow another variety here aside from that one.

We never grew Biloxi, but Gulf Coast came out of the same USDA breeding program (in contrast to most other varieties that came from UF). It was very disease resistant for us and would probably be similar to Biloxi.
« Last Edit: August 30, 2022, 06:59:50 PM by Galatians522 »

fruitnut1944

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Re: Blueberries in warmer climates
« Reply #11 on: August 30, 2022, 12:07:16 PM »
Fall creek nursery lists some varieties as no chill. And even some that are called low chill have worked in Hawaii with no temps below 60F

https://www.fallcreeknursery.com/commercial-fruit-growers/varieties

Florida has many varieties that are nearly no chill.

http://www.ffsp.net/varieties/blueberry/


CherimoyaDude

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Re: Blueberries in warmer climates
« Reply #12 on: August 30, 2022, 01:16:00 PM »
You could try a Neotropical blueberry ala something in Cavendishia genus

eez0

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Re: Blueberries in warmer climates
« Reply #13 on: September 11, 2022, 08:51:34 AM »
Just today visited a nursery and they had Biloxi for sale, some bearing fruit already, so I got one.

It looks like it doesn't have any chill requirements.

 

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