Blueberries go so well in muffins, pancakes, and cobblers, but the effect can be disappointing if the blueberries used are too tart. Adding sugar to combat the tartness only makes the pastry less healthy. With the Hardyblue Blueberry, however, overly tart fruit isn’t a concern. As one of the sweetest blueberry varieties, it makes an excellent addition to baked goods. Hardyblues also live up to their name as they flourish in cooler parts of the US than some other berry bushes can handle.
If you thought blueberries weren’t an option because you live in one of the colder parts of the country, the Hardyblue may be the solution. Keep reading to find out if the Hardyblue Blueberry is a good fit for your garden.
History of the Hardyblue Blueberry
The true history of the Hardyblue Blueberry is a mystery. But we can tell from its significant chill hours requirement that it originated in a cold place. It is a prized blueberry variety for its ideal baking qualities, but it’s also delicious raw.
Characteristics of the Hardyblue Blueberry
This highbush blueberry plant produces a large yield of sweet berries every year. It is not a rabbiteye blueberry, so it is still susceptible to some common blueberry diseases. Its fruit is a dark, medium-sized berry.
Blueberry bushes all need a period of winter temperatures in order for their growing cycle to function properly. If they don’t experience this cold season, they won’t produce as well the following spring/summer. The Hardyblue Blueberry requires 800 chill hours (hours under 45F) in order for their growing cycle to work as it should.
Hardyblue blueberries ripen midseason.
These berries are a very dark blue/purple in color and they taste quite sweet. Those with a strong sweet tooth will especially love these berries raw, while those who are more sensitive to sugar may prefer them in baked goods, as they are one of the sweetest of the blueberry types.
The Hardyblue Blueberry produces medium-sized fruits.
The Hardyblue Blueberry grows best in the cooler areas of plantings zones 4-7.
Size and Spacing
These blueberry bushes grow to be 4-6 feet tall and about the same width across. They should be planted 4-6 feet apart in order to have ample room to spread out.
Hardyblue Blueberries are partially self-pollinated, but require cross-pollination with other highbush blueberry bushes to produce a larger, higher-quality berry yield.
Blueberry Shrub Care
The Hardyblue Blueberry thrives in full or partial sunlight.
One of the reasons this blueberry has “hardy” in the name is because it can thrive in a variety of soil types. Thanks to being less picky than most other blueberry varieties, Hardyblue Blueberry bushes can even grow in heavy clay soil.
Keep in mind that it is healthier for blueberries if you water them deeply less often than to water a little bit every day. Throughout most of the year, blueberries should be thoroughly watered two to three times a week. Adding an organic mulch to help retain water will allow you to water less frequently.
Fertilizer should be applied in the area around the roots and not directly to the roots. Because blueberries prefer an acidic soil environment, choose a fertilizer that is marketed for azaleas or that includes iron or sulfur, as these will help keep the soil acidic.
For more about how to grow blueberries, please visit our guide.
The best time to prune Hardyblue Blueberries is in late winter or early spring, such as February or March. For more about how to prune blueberry bushes, please see our blueberry pruning guide.
Hardyblue Blueberries are somewhat disease resistant, which means that they are less likely to contract common blueberry bush diseases thanks to their genetic development. However, it is still possible for Hardyblues to become diseased.
Various types of fungi like to enter the plant through injuries in the stem, leaves, or fruit. Once a fungus spreads through a plant, it will start sucking away all of the nutrients from the leaves and branches, which will result in fewer and poorly formed berries. Eventually, a fungus can take over a plant and kill it as it becomes too weak and starved for nutrients.
Similarly, Algal stem blotch is a nasty disease that is very difficult to get rid of in blueberry bushes. It can enter the plant and spread through it in the same way as a fungus. Orange spots will show up on the leaves and stems where the algae are robbing the plant of its nutrients.
To avoid diseases like these in your blueberries, quarantine new blueberry bushes before planting them with established, healthy bushes. Watch them for a few weeks to ensure that there is no evidence of disease, and then plant them in your garden.
For more information about common blueberry diseases and how to combat them, please see our blueberry diseases guide.
There are a number of pests to be aware of that target berries. It pays to be vigilant throughout the growing season so that you, and not the pests, get to enjoy your blueberry crop at harvest time.
For information about how to identify, eliminate, and deter pests, read our blog post on the 9 common pests you’ll encounter with blueberries.
Aphids love to munch on the undersides of blueberry leaves. They come in large groups and devour a plant, leaf by leaf, with uncanny speed. Without the leaves, the berries lose protection from direct sunlight and the plant isn’t able to absorb the nutrients from the sun that it needs. One way to deal with aphids is to release ladybugs in your garden, as aphids are a favorite treat of theirs.
Blueberry Gall Midges
The blueberry gall midge is another threat to your Hardyblue Blueberries. In its adult form, it resembles a mosquito in size and shape. And each adult female can lay twenty eggs at a time. Those eggs hatch into larvae, which burrow into the blueberries themselves and eat away at the fruit from the inside.
Because they live inside the fruit, pesticides aren’t able to reach them at this life stage, making them one of the more challenging pests to get rid of. Careful timing of pesticide application when most midges are at their adult fly stage will help wipe them out before they can cause more damage.
Birds present another problem. Because blueberries are such small fruit, they’re easy for birds to snap up and fly away with. Adding a cage of netting around your blueberries can help keep the birds away from them.
When to Harvest Hardyblue Blueberries
Late spring through mid-summer is the best time to harvest blueberries. Visit our blueberry picking guide for more information.
Common Uses For Hardyblue Blueberries
Sweet Hardyblues can be used in a number of recipes, raw and cooked. Because they are quite a sweet variety of blueberry, you might not want to pile them onto your salads, cereal, or yogurt the way you might a less-sweet blueberry.
What Does This Blueberry Taste Like?
Hardyblue blueberries are one of the sweetest blueberry varieties. They are so sweet that they are especially good for baking, where they add strong sweetness and flavor to the baked goods.
These blueberries are wonderful to cook with thanks to their notable sweetness. For an interesting taste contrast, try using Hardyblues in a savory dish.
For those of us with a sweet tooth, these berries are perfect raw.
Canning / Freezing / Drying
All of these methods work well for preserving Hardyblue blueberries.
Health Benefits of Hardyblue Blueberries
Blueberries, in general, are a low-sugar fruit compared to most others. This makes most blueberries a good natural sweet snack for those with diabetes who really have to watch their sugar intake. It is unclear whether the extra sweet taste in Hardyblue blueberries means that it contains more sugar than others, but there may be a less sweet blueberry option for those who are concerned.
The antioxidants in Hardyblue blueberries are a huge asset as they can help reduce the effects of oxidative stress in brain tissue and muscle tissue. This may help with brain function and memory health as well as decreasing the soreness that comes after a workout.
For further information about the health benefits of blueberries, please read our blog posts on blueberry health benefits and blueberry nutrition.
Where to Buy Hardyblue Blueberry Plants or Seeds
You can find plants and seeds on Amazon.
Where to Buy Hardyblue Blueberries
Hardyblue blueberries aren’t as common at grocery stores, so check with your local farmer’s market or produce co-op Facebook group to find Hardyblue blueberries available for purchase.
Wrapping Up the Hardyblue Blueberry
Truly a hardy blueberry in every sense of the word, the Hardyblue Blueberry is an excellent choice for gardeners living in cooler climates, as it thrives in climates that have real winters. Cool climate gardeners who thought they’d never be able to grow their own blueberries will love this blueberry that rewards them with extra sweet fruit that’s ideal for baking and preserves.
Do you have Hardyblue Blueberries in your garden or know a great place to buy fresh Hardyblues? Tell us about it in the comments section below! Excited for more blueberry content? Then check out our blueberry page to learn all about how to grow, care for, and harvest this delicious fruit!