Bluejay Blueberry BushVaccinium corymbosum 'Bluejay'
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Vaccinium corymbosum 'Bluejay'
Outdoor Growing zone
Full Sun, Partial Sun
The Bluejay Blueberry is renowned for holding its ripe berries for a long time, so you can harvest just what you need, leaving the rest for later. With a delicious sweet flavor the large berries are richly blue, and they ripen in June, ready for eating or baking. This bush grows to about 6 feet tall, and it has unusually attractive foliage and excellent fall colors, so it’s ideal for garden beds as well as a fruit garden. Perfect as a dividing hedge in your garden.
Full sun will give you the best results with your Bluejay Blueberry plants, but a little partial shade won’t hurt. The soil should have a pH value below 5.0, and be moist but well-drained. If you don’t have suitable soil, plant in a large tub or pot, using a mix of soil, peat and pine bark. This vigorous bush is hardy in zone 4 and usually free of pest or disease problems.
Slap bang in the middle of the blueberry season, it’s great to drop by your local blueberry stand and pick up some fresh berries for breakfast or dessert. What’s that? You don’t have a local stand? Well, when you grow the Bluejay Blueberry you will, because this outstanding bush holds its ripened berries longer than just about any other, so they are always there, staying fresh and ready to pick in a moment. Blueberries are always welcome, and everyone will love the sparkling blue color, firm texture and delicious flavor that has made the Bluejay Blueberry such a popular variety. The berries won’t crack when they ripen, or fall prematurely, so as long as you get there before the birds do (throwing a simple net over your bushes will make that easy) you can expect to harvest a bumper crop. This upright bush is handsome too, with attractive glossy summer leaves, and brilliant fall tones of reds, purples and oranges, fitting well into your beds alongside flowering shrubs.
The Bluejay Blueberry is a northern highbush blueberry growing up to 6 feet tall, and no more than 4 feet wide. Blueberry bushes are not fast-growing, but this variety is an exception, and grows about twice the rate of most other varieties. That means within a couple of years you will have bushes of a size that it would take another blueberry five years to become. The leaves are smooth, glossy and dark green, a little larger than normal, at about 3½ inches long. This makes the bush fuller and more attractive, so it’s ideal for planting among garden shrubs, or as an attractive hedge. It looks stunning in fall, when the leaves turn brilliant reds, purples and oranges – it’s so lovely it would be worth growing just for that fall display alone.
You should see the first blooms on your bush within a couple of years of planting, and the blooms come a little later than is common, which gives good protection from late frosts. They develop quickly though, and by June you will be harvesting your first berries. You might read that this variety needs two pollinators, but we have it from the experts that in fact it is one of the top self-pollinating varieties around, so just one bush will give you a good crop – and that means 10 pounds per bush within a few years, and up to 20 pounds on a fully-grown plant. Plenty to put straight into the freezer – don’t wash them first – for winter treats.
This attractive variety is perfect for growing out in the garden as a dual-purpose ornamental shrub. Plant it in shrub beds, or as a low hedge separating one part of the garden from another. The beautiful bell-shaped flowers, amazing crop of blueberries, and those brilliant fall colors all combine to give this shrub lots of ‘garden value’ – and that’s before even considering all those delicious berries.
The best zones for the Bluejay Blueberry are between zone 5 and 7, but it will grow in zone 4 in a sheltered location, and in zone 8 in areas where summer humidity and heat is not extreme.
Full sun is best for your Bluejay Blueberry, but it can handle a couple of hours of shade each day too – this is a tough and vigorous bush, ideal for ‘less than perfect’ conditions. It does need moist soil, but don’t plant in wet, flooded areas. The most important thing is to have acidic soil, with a pH of less than 5.0. If it is not quite that low you can improve things by adding plenty of peat moss, or pine needles, or shredded pine bark. If your soil is not acidic at all, don’t worry, because you can grow your bush in a large tub or box – blueberries have fibrous roots and do well in pots. Make sure your planter has drainage holes, and fill it with a mixture of one-part lime-free potting soil, such as is used for azaleas; one-part shredded pine bark; and one-part sphagnum peat moss. Use more bark to mulch the pot, and you are set for good harvests in any garden – or even with no garden at all.
Blueberries are not drought resistant, so water regularly, especially when the crop is developing. Mulch in spring and again in fall, with materials like pine bark, peat moss, oak leaves or pine needles. After a few years growing you can begin to prune, in early spring. Remove any weak or spindly growth and branches over 6 years old (they will be gray, with peeling bark), to make room for new, vigorous young stems. In suitable soil you are unlikely to have any serious pest or disease problems with this vigorous variety.
The northern highbush blueberry, Vaccinium corymbosum, grows wild all across the north-eastern states, and it was first grown as a crop early last century. It was of course harvested from wild plants by Native Americans for centuries before that, and by settlers too. Frederick Vernon Coville, the chief botanist at the US Department of Agriculture at the time, helped develop early new varieties, and governments and universities have always been involved in breeding. Growing in Michigan was pioneered in the 1950s and 60s by Stanley Johnson of Michigan State University, who worked to breed plants with higher cold tolerance. Work continued until 1978, and that was the year that several of his best varieties were released, including ‘Bluejay’. Many of his plants had genes from the cold-hardy Canadian low-bush species, Vaccinium angustifolium, but ‘Bluejay’ is an almost pure northern highbush variety.
You are going to love the thrill of seeing this vigorous bush soon start to bloom, and after eagerly waiting a few weeks after that you will be eating your first home-grown blueberries. Nothing beats it, but order this top-rated variety now, because we ship them out faster than we can bring them in.