The Friendship blueberry has been dubbed so because the wild blueberry heather where this variety originated was located near Friendship, Wisconsin. This blueberry is a great plant for your garden. The fruit is sweet, juicy, and delicious, making a terrific addition to your cooking or baking. This guide will provide you with all the information you need about Friendship blueberries so that you can plant a Friendship blueberry shrub in your garden!
History of the Blueberry
Blueberries are native to North America and have been around for 13,000 years, but they didn’t always exist as we know them today. They have only been successfully cultivated and commercially grown since the early 1900s. In 1893, Elizabeth White saw the use of cultivating blueberries and in 1911 she joined with Franklin Coleville, who had been experimenting on them, to join her on her farm for more study. They produced a way to cultivate blueberries and they’ve been around ever since!
The Friendship Blueberry is a highbush-lowbush hybrid blueberry that has qualities from both sides of its parentage.
Planting Friendship Blueberry Plants
Friendship blueberries are hardy plants that do well when planted in the right location. They requires soil that contains a lot of organic material like compost or manure mixed with it before planting. They also need a good amount of sunlight, so be sure to take both the soil conditions and sunlight pattern in your garden when selecting a spot to plant your blueberry shrub.
Size and Spacing
The Friendship blueberry will grow up to five feet wide when full grown. Typically, you’ll plant your blueberries about 4-5 feet apart when in the same row, and at least twelve feet apart between rows. This is to give you room to move about the shrubs and provide space for each blueberry to reach its maximum growth.
Friendship blueberry plants will pollinate themselves when they flower, but if you allow any other types of blueberry bushes in your garden to grow around them, then your Friendship blueberry yield will be higher and the fruit itself will taste even better.
Maintenance and Care
Once you have Friendship blueberries growing in your garden, the only thing they will need is water. They require little of it and can suffer if overwatered. The Friendship blueberry likes to be watered regularly, but make sure that this watering does not occur all at once. Water them slowly on a weekly basis, with just enough watering to keep the soil moist but not wet or dry.
Sunlight is especially important for blueberry plants. Make sure they receive between four to five hours of direct sunlight every day for optimal growth.
Once you have Friendship blueberry shrubs growing in your garden, the only thing they will need is water. Friendship blueberries like to be watered regularly, but make sure that this watering does not occur all at once. Water them slowly on a weekly basis, just enough to keep the soil moist but not wet or dry!
Friendship blueberries need to be pruned at least once a year while they’re dormant. The best way to prune them is by using hand shears. Remove any dead branches you find, since those are invitations for diseases to infect your blueberry.
We have a complete guide on pruning blueberries to walk you though the process and help you prune like a pro!
Friendship blueberry bushes are susceptible to a variety of diseases. The most common is gray mold, which you can treat by removing the affected branches and destroying them immediately to stop it from spreading further.
Stem blight is another disease that you need to watch for. If your Friendship blueberry bush wilts, turns yellow, and dies back, you’ll need to immediately remove the affected growth. Too much nitrogen in the soil around blueberries usually causes stem blight.
It’s not just people who love blueberries and, chances are, you’ll end up dealing with a pest or two. For information about how to identify, eliminate, and deter pests, read our blog post on the 9 common pests you’ll encounter with blueberries.
Common Uses For the Friendship Blueberry
Since Friendship blueberries are so delicious, they’re commonly used in pies or just eaten fresh. You can also mix them with other fruits for delicious recipes!
What Does the Friendship Blueberry Taste Like?
Friendship blueberries are sweet, juicy, and delicious! They’re the perfect size for snacking on or using in recipes to make delicious pies or jams to enjoy all year.
Cooking and Baking
Cooking with blueberries is a wonderful way to enjoy them. Blueberries can actually be used in savory dishes when they’re paired with meat, such as fish or pork. You can also use them in recipes such as ambrosia with a twist (throw in some blueberries!).
Of course, blueberries are often used in baked good such as pie and cobbler, as well as breakfast classics like blueberry pancakes, blueberry coffee cake, and blueberry muffins.
Any variety of blueberry is great for snacking on — grab a handful and enjoy! You can even mix them with yogurt or cereal for a healthy and delicious breakfast.
Blueberries have a notoriously short shelf-life. At room temperature, they only last a few days — in refrigerated storage blueberries only last 1-2 weeks. If you have a bumper crop of blueberries, consider canning them to make delicious jams or preserves that will keep for the rest of the winter.
Freezing blueberries is another option you’ll want to consider if you have a large crop (or find a great sale on blueberries). Simply wash your blueberries , dry them by blotting with paper towels, and place them on a cookie sheet for the night in your freezer. Put them in freezer bags or an airtight container and store them in your freezer until ready to use.
Blueberries that have been frozen will have a slightly different texture than fresh blueberries, but this won’t be noticeable if you cook or bake with them.
Drying blueberries is another wonderful way to preserve them for the rest of winter. Wash your blueberries and place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper in the oven at 225 degrees for 3 hours, then transfer into airtight bags or containers until ready to eat.
Health Benefits of the Friendship Blueberry
Quite a few health benefits come from eating blueberries regularly. If there’s a con to blueberries, it’s that you can overeat them because they’re so delicious! Just a few of the benefits of eating blueberries are:
- Bone health
- Great antioxidants
- Reduce DNA damage
- Helps lower cholesterol
- Helps prevent heart disease
- Reduces high blood pressure
- Improved memory and cognitive function
If you’d like to know more about how blueberries can keep you healthy, check out this link for more information.
Where Can I Buy a Friendship Blueberry Shrub?
Friendship blueberry shrubs can be bought from several online retailers. A Google search will give you information to help you shop for your very own Friendship blueberry.
Wrapping Up the Friendship Blueberry
Friendship blueberries are an easy-to-grow addition to any garden. In addition to yielding crops of nutritious and delicious fruit, their orange/red foliage provides beautiful fall color.
If this article has inspired you to plant some Friendship blueberries (or another blueberry variety), visit this link to our comprehensive guide on planting and growing blueberries. It will give you everything you need to have healthy blueberry shrubs.
Have a tip to share about growing or enjoying the fruit of the Friendship blueberry? Let us know in the comments section below! (And if you want even more information about all things blueberry, click here for our other blueberry-related blog articles.)