Blueberries are second only to strawberries in popularity. Not only do they taste good, but they are rich in antioxidants and other healthy components, so you can enjoy them and know they are also good for you. A pink blueberry might sound a bit odd, but in fact the Pink Lemonade Blueberry is a real winner. It crops as well as other blueberry varieties, but the ripe berries retain their pink color, taste great and add terrific visual interest to your dishes. Because it is about twice as sweet as a regular blueberry children love to eat them straight from the bush and they really enjoy the color difference. Adults too love the flavor and the change of pace for a familiar fruit.
Growing Pink Lemonade Blueberry Bushes
The Pink Lemonade Blueberry grows into a rounded bush about 5 feet in height. It has oval shiny green leaves around 2 inches long which turn gold and orange in fall before dropping for the winter. In mid-spring it will bloom with hanging clusters of bell-shaped pale-pink flowers. Over the early summer green fruits form, which turn white, then pale pink and finally a rich pink by the time they are ready to harvest in July. The exact harvest date will vary depending on where you live. The plant is hardy below 00F, so it will grow in all milder regions from zone 6 up. So except for the northern areas of the mid-west and the for north-east, you can grow this fascinating plant in your garden.
Planting and Initial Care
Like all blueberries, Pink Lemonade should be grown in acid soil with a pH of 5.5 or less. If you have that kind of soil, enrich it with some peat moss and plant your bush in a sunny location with at least 6 to 8 hours of sunshine each day. Allow 5 feet of space for your plant, which can be grown with other fruit bushes or planted as an ornamental. Dig the hole twice the diameter of the pot and mix extra peat-moss into the soil you dig out. Place your plant in the hole and put back most of the soil, firming it down around the roots. Fill the hole with water and after it has drained away replace the rest of the soil. Mulch around your Pink Lemonade plant with bark mulch and replenish the mulch as necessary once or twice a year. During the first year water your plant once or twice a week and do not let it become dry. Once established water your plants deeply as soon as the soil becomes a little dry.
Growing in Pots
If you don’t have suitable soil the best approach is to plant your blueberry in a pot. Trying to modify your soil is difficult and doesn’t last long, so pot growing is a good permanent solution. Use potting soil designed for acid-loving plants like azaleas and water with rain-water as much as possible. It is easy to set up a barrel to collect water from your roof. If you have to occasionally use tap water that will not matter.
Use a fertilizer for blueberries or a general fertilizer for acid-loving plants and feed once a month throughout the growing season. You can also grow organically in containers by using cottonseed meal or soybean meal for plants in pots. The same fertilizers are also good for plants growing in the ground.
Maximizing Your Crop
The Pink Lemonade Blueberry is self-fertile and will produce a good crop of berries all by itself, but the harvest will be bigger if you plant a Rabbiteye Blueberry bush nearby. Not only will you have a bigger crop of pink berries, you will get to enjoy the regular blue-colored blueberries from your second bush.
Harvesting Your Blueberries
To harvest your delicious crop of Pink Lemonade Blueberries, hold a container below the bunches of fruit and run your fingers through the berries. The ripe ones will fall into the container, leaving the others to continue their ripening. Do not prune your bush at all for the first three years, as it establishes itself. After that it is only necessary to remove any thin, dead or crowded branches. When the plants are six years old, start removing a few old branches each year, by cutting them down to the ground or to where new, strong shoots are coming low down on the bush. Late winter is the best time for pruning your bush.
History and Origins of the Pink Lemonade Blueberry
Pink Lemonade was the result of a breeding program at the United States Department of Agriculture by plant geneticist Mark K. Ehlenfeldt.at the Chatsworth, New Jersey Research Station. It is a special hybrid between unique forms of the Rabbiteye Blueberry (Vaccinum virgatum). The plant was identified in 1996 but it was not released as ‘Pink Lemonade’ until 2007, so this really is a new plant that is not yet widely grown. The Pink Lemonade Blueberry is a unique variety that must be grown from original parent plants. It cannot be grown from seed, so avoid cheaper seedling plants that will not be the authentic variety and will not give you the special properties you are looking for.
Our Pink Lemonade Blueberry bushes are true to the original form of this unique plant. Since we receive regular shipments of new stock, so that our customers get the freshest plants, shortages can occur, especially with such a unique a sought-after variety. So order now to avoid the disappointment of missing out on this special blueberry.