Patriot BlueberryVaccinium corymbosum 'Patriot'
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Vaccinium corymbosum 'Patriot'
Outdoor Growing zone
Full Sun, Partial Sun
The Patriot Blueberry is the ideal choice if you want a dual-purpose shrub in your beds, that is both attractive and edible. It grows to just 4 or 5 feet tall, with good foliage and excellent fall colors of orange and red. The spring flower display is great too, but let’s not forget the heavy crop of very large blueberries, ripening in June, making this one of the earliest varieties you can grow. In the garden or in pots, it is sure to please both the eye and the mouth.
Grow your Patriot Blueberry bushes in full sun, and it is hardy even in zone 3. It should have moist, well-drained soil, which is acidic, with a pH value below 5.0. If you don’t have suitable soil it is perfect for growing in pots and planters, using lime-free potting soil mixtures. Resistant to root-rot diseases, it rarely has any pests, and needs no pruning. Just water regularly and pick those berries.
The only downside to growing your own berries is the waiting – when will those first delicious berries be ready? Every day you check the green bunches, and then one day . . . Well, the biggest upside of growing the Patriot Blueberry is that the wait won’t be too long. This early variety is ready for harvesting in June. S summer is just getting going, and already you are harvesting fresh berries for the table. Combined with other varieties, like our Chippewa and Jersey blueberries, you can have fresh berries all the way from June into August, and life doesn’t get any better than that. The Patriot Blueberry is a medium-sized bush, growing to no more than 5 feet tall, so it’s perfect for a modern small garden. The berries are the size of quarters – by far the biggest of any early-ripening variety, and they have the superb flavor that only the best varieties – grown and ripened in your own garden – can achieve. Blueberries may not be the easiest of the berry fruits to grow, but they are without doubt the best, and you can expect yields of 10 pounds or more from a mature bush.
The Patriot Blueberry is a medium-sized deciduous shrub, reaching no more than 5 feet tall and 4 feet wide. It is long-lived, maturing after about 8 years of growth, and living for more than 20 years, continuing to produce big crops each summer. This is one of the most attractive blueberry varieties, so it’s perfect in the garden, with glossy, dark-green leaves almost 2 inches long, which turn brilliant shades of purple-red, bright red, orange and yellow, looking simply wonderful. It has showy clusters of small flowers in spring that are equally decorative. These are pink in bud and white when open, and carried in clusters all along the stems. After blooming you will see tiny green berries forming, which quickly grow large, as much as the size of a quarter. By mid-June the first will have turned a glorious deep blue, and be ready to eat, and over the next few weeks you will bring in basket after basket of delicious fruit. This is a very flavorful variety, with the perfect balance of sweet and tart, and ideal for baking as well as eating fresh. Pop any left-over berries into the freezer, without washing them, and they are ready whenever you want them through the winter months.
The Patriot Blueberry is considered one of the most attractive forms for landscaping, so plant it in a shrub bed anywhere in your garden. It can of course also be grown in your vegetable garden, or in a dedicated fruit-growing area. If you don’t have suitable soil, and maybe not even a garden, you can grow it in a pot, an ideal way to grow blueberries anywhere. This self-pollinating variety crops well all on its own, but the biggest yields come when you grow two or three varieties together. This variety is perfect as a pollinator for the Jersey Blueberry, a wonderful late variety ready to harvest in August. It’s a perfect partnership. Add in a Chippewa Blueberry which ripens in between them, and it’s fresh blueberries from June to the end of August – berry heaven.
The Patriot Blueberry is very hardy, and grows well everywhere from zone 4 into zone 7.
The Patriot Blueberry will grow best in full sun, but it will easily take a couple of hours of shade each day too. It needs moist but well-drained soil, and it will tolerate wetter soils, including heavy clays, better than many other blueberry varieties. The soil must be acidic, with a pH value between 4.0 and 5.0, for good results. You can reduce the pH of your soil a little, if it is already acidic, but the best solution, if you don’t have a suitable soil, is to grow your bushes in pots. Blueberries adapt well to pots, with their fibrous root systems, and this compact bush is a perfect choice for pot-growing. Use a container with drainage holes, and plant in a mixture of 1-part lime-free potting soil, 1-part shredded pine bark, and 1-part sphagnum peat moss. Mulch the top of the pot with more shredded bark.
Water plants in pots or in the ground regularly, as blueberries are not drought resistant. Mulch in spring and fall with any of the following, alone or mixed together: shredded pine bark; peat moss; oak leaves, or pine needles. Pruning is not needed, beyond removing any damaged or dead small branches. This variety is resistant to root rots (Phytophthora) and pests are rarely serious, although rabbits will eat young shoots if they can.
The northern highbush blueberry, Vaccinium corymbosum, was the first blueberry to be grown as a crop, at the beginning of the last century, but of course Native Americans harvested them for centuries as a valuable food, and used controlled burning to encourage natural patches to give bigger crops. The first crops were grown with the guidance of Frederick Vernon Coville, the chief botanist at the US Department of Agriculture. He also selected and bred plants, and one of his early varieties was ‘Stanley’, named after his son, who was himself a blueberry farmer, released in 1921. George Darrow, a breeder with the USDA, took another heirloom bush called ‘Weymouth’ and in 1952 crossed it with ‘Stanley’ to create a new variety called ‘Earliblue’. Then, in 1954, Dr P. Hepler, at the University of Maine Agricultural Experimental Station, crossed ‘Earliblue’ with a hybrid plant of his own, called ‘US-3’, that was probably at least in part a lowbush blueberry (Vaccinium angustifolium), to create ‘Patriot’. This variety was not officially released until 1976.
The Patriot Blueberry has it all – huge, tasty berries combined with cold resistance and a compact form that makes it a dual bush attractive in a flower garden. This variety is hugely popular, so order your bushes now, before they are all sold out.