Bushel and Berry® Perpetua BlueberryVaccinium hybrid 'Perpetua' (PP# 24,209)
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Vaccinium hybrid 'Perpetua' (PP# 24,209)
Outdoor Growing zone
The Bushel & Berry® Perpetua Blueberry is a breakthrough development, and the first blueberry bush to carry a second crop in the same year. A compact bush eventually reaching 4 or 5 feet tall, it has two heavy crops of delicious small berries, ideal for eating fresh or baking. It has berries in June, and again in September, continuing through October until cold weather arrives. The attractive green foliage, flushed pink in spring and bright red in fall, makes this plant ideal for growing among your flowering shrubs. If you don’t have suitable soil, grow it in a planter box or pot right outside the kitchen door.
Grow your Bushel & Berry® Perpetua Blueberry in full sun, as this will give you the biggest crop and the best fall production. Grow it in rich, moist, acidic soil with a pH value of 5.5 or lower. If you don’t have suitable soil, grow it in a pot, using soil blended for acid-loving plants. Water regularly, as blueberries are not drought resistant. Fertilize plants in spring and again in mid-summer for the best results. No fancy pruning is needed, and this variety has good disease resistance.
Everyone knows that blueberry bushes carry a single crop in summer, and we must wait a whole year for that wonderful season to roll around again. If only they would come again . . . Well now they do, with a major breakthrough in blueberry growing. The Bushel & Berry® Perpetua Blueberry carries not one crop a year, but two, bouncing back after its summer bounty to give us berries in fall that keep coming and coming until they are stopped by winter’s chill. Many of our best new plants come from the intensive efforts and skills of plant breeders, but this time it is Mother Nature herself who has stepped in and gifted us this wonderful new variety. It is also a tribute to our dedicated Federal scientists, who stored seed collected almost 60 years ago in Maine, which when finally tested miraculously produced this natural hybrid plant with a double crop. Not only is the Perpetua Blueberry bush overflowing with berries, it has a dense, neat form; colorful red new leaves and bright red fall leaves, and garden value as an ornamental shrub.
The Perpetua Blueberry is a compact, vase-shaped bush that grows steadily to be 4 or perhaps 5 feet tall, with a spread of about 3 feet. The leaves are 2½ inches long and a rich dark green all summer. They are glossy and oval, tapering to a pointed tip. New leaves in spring are flushed with attractive pink tones, and in late fall they turn bright red, bringing a splash of color to your garden. Although deciduous the leaves are held very late into the winter months.
In spring the Perpetua Blueberry bush behaves like a regular blueberry. The flowers open around the middle of April, and they are white, in hanging clusters of about 12 blooms. They have an attractive urn-like shape and a soft fragrance. This variety is entirely self-pollinating, and no other blueberry bushes are needed for a full crop to develop. The spring blooms ripen around the middle of June, when you can start harvesting and enjoying your bounty. But the season is not over yet. During the spring and summer new shoots develop, and by early July there are more blooms opening. These develop into a whole new crop of berries. By mid-September, and continuing into October, until the weather in your area closes in, you will enjoy a bumper second harvest, often larger than the first. Within 3 years of planting you will be harvesting from just one bush about 4 pounds of delicious fruit in total, with more as your bush grows and matures. The berries are small, abundant and delicious, with a sweet flavor and that perfect blueberry balance of sweet and tart that we all love.
Grow the Perpetua Blueberry as a regular berry crop, planting a row in your vegetable and fruit garden. Grow it as an ornamental bush among your flowering shrubs. Grow it in containers and planters, even decorative ones on your terrace or patio. Wherever you grow it you will love how this plant brings you berries to pick twice a year.
The Perpetua Blueberry bush grows everywhere from zone 4 to zone 8. For a summer crop it needs about 1,000 hours of winter temperatures below 45 degrees, but the beauty of this plant is that it needs no chilling period for the fall crop, so even in warmer zones, without enough winter cold, you will have the thrill of fresh September blueberries.
Full sun is the best location for the Perpetua Blueberry bush, and there it will give you the biggest harvest and the best growth. For growing in your garden the soil should be rich and moist, and it must be acidic, with a pH value of 5.5 or less. If you don’t have suitable soil this plant is ideal for growing in planters or boxes. Use a soil that has been blended for acid-loving plants, like azaleas or rhododendrons, and add some shredded pine bark, both mixed into the soil and used as mulch on top.
Regular watering is needed for good crops. Don’t allow your plants to become dry, but make sure planters have drainage holes and don’t leave pots standing in water. This plant has good resistance to diseases and blueberries are rarely bothered by pests. On older plants remove longer stems that have carried crops and are no longer vigorous.
In 1963 a botanist was walking on Mount Pisgah, near Monmouth, Maine. He spotted an unusual-looking blueberry and collected seed. That seed, tagged as PI 296412, sat in special storage facilities to preserve unique genetic material for breeding until the 1990’s when Chad Finn and his associates at Corvallis, Oregon sowed the seeds. There the Agricultural Research Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture maintains a Horticultural Crops Research Unit, breeding new berry crop varieties. In 2000 seeds were collected from that original sowing, and Chad was amazed to see that some of those seedlings flowered again in summer and produced a fall berry crop. It seems that the plant was a natural hybrid between the lowbush blueberry, Vaccinium angustifolium and the northern highbush blueberry, Vaccinium corymbosum, both of which were growing in the area. The team tested and developed these seedlings further, and the best became a new variety they called ‘Perpetua’. This plant was patented in 2014, and production was licensed to the commercial blueberry breeders Fall Creek Farm and Nursery, Inc., in Lowell Oregon. This exciting new plant is now being made available to home gardeners in the Bushel & Berry® range of fruit bushes developed by Star® Roses and Plants.
We are really thrilled to be able to offer you this breakthrough blueberry, the first to have not one but two crops a season. Everyone is excited about growing this plant, and enjoying those fresh September berries, so order your bushes now, because we almost certainly won’t have stock available when you come back again.