These days, when you hear the word “blueray,” your mind probably goes straight to a DVD player. Maybe. Are those obsolete yet? Doesn’t everyone stream things these days? Anyways… we’re not talking DVDs. We’re talking about Blueray Blueberries, some of the largest, sweetest berries out there! With gorgeous pink flowers in the spring and crimson foliage in the fall, this variety of blueberries is an amazing addition to any yard or garden!
Read ahead to find out more details and care information on the Blueray Blueberry.
History of the Blueray Blueberry
The Blueray Blueberry (Vaccinium corymbosum ‘Blueray’) is a northern Highbush blueberry variety. Northern highbush blueberries have been around for thousands of years and domesticated since the early 1900s. This specific variety was developed by Michigan State University in the late 1970s.
Characteristics of the Blueray Blueberry
Blueray blueberries are a highbush blueberry variety, which means they’ll typically grow to be fairly tall and wide. In the spring, Blueray blueberry bushes have cute bell shaped blossoms that turn a rosy shade of pink before turning white and then becoming juicy, delicious berries. In the fall, the foliage will turn to a deep scarlet or crimson color. The berries produced on these plants are considered extra large berries, making them all the better for fresh eating right off the bush, right?!
A Blueray Blueberry requires at least 800 chill hours. Chill hours are the amount of hours these plants need to be at 45°F or cooler in order to produce fruit well. 800 hours is still considered “low chill hours,” but it’s on the highest side of the spectrum, so keep that in mind when deciding if these are the right berries for you to grow at home.
Blueray blueberries will be ready to harvest midseason, typically in July. Harvest will last several weeks and should give you pounds of larger berries off of each bush.
These blueberries are firm with a very sweet, high quality flavor, perfect for desserts!
Blueray blueberries are extra large! Five to six of them will fill up the palm of your hand.
This variety of blueberries grow best in zones 4, 5, 6, and 7. They can handle cold winters and warm summers.
Size and Spacing
When fully matured, Blueray blueberry bushes will be between 4-6 feet tall and 3-4 feet wide. Leave 3-4 feet between each planting when planting them to leave room for the growth.
Blueray Blueberry shrubs are technically self-pollinating, but like with all blueberries, they like to be cross pollinated by other varieties of bushes. Cross – pollination helps each bush produce a better quality and larger yield of berries.
Blueberry Shrub Care
This variety of blueberries is actually pretty hardy and low maintenance. We’ll touch on the basics in this post, but if you’d like a resource with more details, check out our guide on How to Grow Blueberries.
These plants thrive in full sun, meaning at least 8 hours of full, direct sunlight. They can manage in partial shade if necessary, but do best in full sun.
Like most other blueberries, Blueray blueberries need acidic soil to really grow well. Plant it with lots of mulch and peat moss, somewhere the soil is moist to wet.
The soil moisture level is important for any blueberry plant. They need to be watered regularly their first year after being planted and then given a good, extra watering when it is especially hot and dry.
Fertilizing isn’t critical with this variety of blueberries, but if you decide to, once a year should do the trick.
Blueray Blueberry shrubs need to be lightly pruned in late winter, around the beginning of February. If the idea of cutting off parts of a plant you’ve worked so hard to grow is intimidating to you like it was me at first, make sure to look at our guide on How to Prune Blueberries!
A Blueray Blueberry plant doesn’t struggle with many specific diseases. It’s considered to be hardy and low maintenance! If you’d like to educate yourself on different blueberry diseases to be on the lookout for anyways, check out our article, Blueberry Bush Diseases.
Blueray blueberries aren’t susceptible to many pests, but they are a favorite of birds since the berries are so large and easy to grab. To help prevent birds from nabbing ripe berries before you get a chance, toss some netting over the bushes once the pollinating is all done. Don’t do it too early because you don’t want to prevent pollinators like butterflies and bees from getting to all of the flowers! Our blog post on 9 common blueberry pests is a informative article you can refer to if you’re discovering pests to be an issue for you.
When to Harvest Blueray Blueberries
You’ll know it’s time to harvest when your plants are full of firm, large, dark-blue berries. If you’d like more specifics so that you can be extra sure it’s the right time to harvest, check out our guide on the Right Time to Pick Blueberries!
Common Uses For Blueray Blueberries
Blueray blueberries are an excellent choice of berry for anything where blueberries are the star. They’re large, plump, and full of sweet flavor.
What Does This Blueberry Taste Like?
This berry is the quintessential blueberry flavor—the perfect combination of sweetness and tartness.
Blueray blueberries basically beg to be used in baked goods. Their extra large size makes them the perfect addition to your blueberry pancakes, blueberry muffins, or some blueberry banana bread. They’d also be fantastic as a blueberry pie or chutney.
There’s no doubt these delicious, massive berries are a fantastic choice to enjoy raw. You can put them in some yogurt with granola for a fresh parfait, or toss them on a salad for a sweetly tart topping.
Canning / Freezing / Drying
Storing blueberries is a great way to stretch the amount of time you can enjoy your harvest!
Canning blueberries as pie filling, jam/jelly, or syrup means you’re ready to enhance a sweet treat at the drop of a hat for up to a year. Simply Canning has a great tutorial on canning blueberries and other types of berries!
Freezing blueberries is also a great way to enjoy them for up to two additional years. Simply spread them out on a baking sheet, put them in a freezer overnight to flash freeze, and then transfer them to a freezer safe container. Frozen blueberries are great to use in smoothies or mix up in cool whip or whipped cream for a sweet treat on the lighter side.
Drying Blueray blueberries means you can eat them like raisins or add them to some trail mix instead of other dried fruit. Martha Stewart has a tutorial for oven-drying blueberries so you don’t have to have any sort of dehydrator or other kitchen equipment.
Health Benefits of Blueberries
Blueberries are a power food. They’re full of vitamins and antioxidants that help your body function more efficiently. We have some additional resources available here on Minnetonka Orchards for you to check out about the benefits of blueberries
Where to Buy Blueray Blueberry Plants
Checking your local nurseries or farmers market is always a great first place to check for Blueray Blueberry plants. Shopping local is the way to go! If you can’t find any locally, there are several options to buy online.
Where to Buy Blueray Blueberries
These blueberries aren’t typically available in an average grocery store. If you live in the right planting zone, there may be some at your farmer’s markets. Honestly, the best bet to enjoy these big blue beauties is to grow them yourself!
Wrapping Up the Blueray Blueberry
I hope by now you feel confident in growing this beautiful plant in your own garden. The Blueray Blueberry is a fantastic addition to any yard looking to landscape with their garden.
Have you tried a Blueray Blueberry? Are you planning on growing some soon? Let us know in the comments! We love hearing from you!