The Legacy Blueberry is a highly adaptable variety that produces consistent quality fruit for home and commercial growers. While this variety is a bit slower than others when it comes to producing fruits in the first couple of years, it more than makes up for this drawback in high yields once they become established. The Legacy blueberry is also considered one of the best-flavored blueberries in USDA trials.
Let’s learn more about the Legacy Blueberry.
History of the Legacy Blueberry
The Legacy Blueberry ( Vaccinium corymbosum ‘Legacy’) was cultivated by A.D Draper and selected by the Atlantic Blueberry Company on their farm in Weymouth, New Jersey, in 1976. The Legacy is a result of crossing “Elizabeth” with “US 75” (“Florida 4B” and “Bluecrop“) at a research farm in Beltsville, Maryland.
Legacy Blueberry / Fruit Characteristics
Legacy Blueberries are upright, vigorous, productive perennial Northern highbush plants with a moderate growth rate. This bush has glossy green foliage that changes to orange in the fall. The plant also retains most of its leaves throughout the winter season. Growers can expect yields from 8-20 pounds per bush if adequately maintained.
The Legacy Blueberry is a low-chill variety of the V. darrowi species, which is native to native to the Southwestern US. The required chill hours range between 800-1,000+ hours—Hardy to -20 degrees Fahrenheit.
These berries ripen late season. Productivity is very high due to an extended five-week harvest season. These bushes typically begin bearing fruit 1-2 years after being planted.
Legacy bushes produce firm medium-large-sized blueberries with medium blue flesh and a small scar. The berries have a very sweet flavor when ripened on the bush.
The ideal USDA Hardiness Zones for growing Legacy Blueberries are zones 5-8, with zones 7-8 being the most ideal.
Size and Spacing
The Legacy Blueberry bush grows between 4-6 feet with a mature spread of 3-4 feet.
Spacing between plants should be 2-3 feet.
Legacy Blueberry Bush Care
The Legacy Blueberry does not have any special requirements aside from standard blueberry maintenance best practices. However, this bush does need lots of space. You can learn more about handy blueberry plant maintenance tips in this guide.
All blueberry bushes need fertilizer that has rich concentrations of nitrogen. These fertilizers should have ammonium forms such as cottonseed meal, urea, sulfur-coated urea, and ammonium sulfate.
But you don’t want to use fertilizers with nitrate since this type of nitrogen is toxic to your blueberries.
You’ll need to fertilize at least once in early spring and once more in late spring. Cottonseed and blood meal are also good organic fertilizer alternatives.
Fertilize your plant in early spring using liquid acid or granular fertilizer.
Highbush blueberries such as Legacy need soil with a pH level between 4.5-6.8.
It would be best to consider adding rich organic matter to your soil. One good choice is aged, compost-enriched soil mixed into the top six inches of native soil.
Pine fines and peat moss are also excellent choices to mix into the native soil. The rule of thumb is to use a bale of peat moss with four bags of pine bark fines for every ten bushes.
Legacy Blueberries really thrive in sunlight (at least 6 hours daily for cold, cool, and warm temperatures). For warm to hot temperatures, they may require partial shade.
Blueberries have very shallow root systems, and Legacy Blueberry roots tend to develop even slower than other varieties. Because of this, it’s important that you water bushes deeply and routinely. This will ensure maximum production and growth.
You’ll also need to ensure your soil is receiving even moisture if using a drip irrigation system.
Legacy Blueberries require annual pruning to ensure the growth habit remains upright, especially since the weight of the fruits can make its branches “weepy.” For the best fruiting results, prune the oldest lower branches sometime in late winter. Learn more about best practices for pruning blueberry bushes for a larger harvest by visiting our guide to pruning blueberries.
Diseases & Pests
Thankfully, your Legacy Blueberry bushes are disease-resistant. However, it’s still prudent to take steps to keep your blueberries at their healthiest to avoid disease. Our guide on common blueberry diseases will give you a better idea of the threats to your harvest.
However, there are still a few problems to look out for, such as pests. Birds are perhaps the most common pest, but using a bit of Mylar Flash tape or covering your crop with netting can help deter them.
For information about how to identify, eliminate, and deter pests, read our blog post on the 9 common pests you’ll encounter with blueberries.
When To Harvest Your Legacy Blueberries
Legacy is a late-season blueberry, so berries will be ready for picking in August or September (depending on the area where you live). For everything you need to know about picking blueberries, click here for our harvesting guide.
Common Uses For the Legacy Blueberry
Legacy blueberries are perfect for baking, cooking, or just eating plain. However, the bushes are also wonderful for landscaping as their leaves turn beautiful shades of red and orange in the fall.
What Do Legacy Blueberries Taste Like?
There’s a good reason the USDA selected Legacy blueberries for having the best overall flavor when compared to other selections. This blueberry has a superior sweetness, firmness, and crispness that makes it one of the most popular commercial blueberries on the market.
While blueberries are amazing in many desserts, such as pies and cakes, they can also take many non-dessert dishes to the next level.
These blueberries pair well with many types of meat such as poultry, beef, fish, and pork.
Legacy blueberries are one of those varieties you can snack on right off the bush — something you can’t say for every blueberry variety. They are excellent in salads or eaten plain.
The best method for preserving whole blueberries is freezing. To start, wash and rinse your blueberries.
Next, line a cookie sheet using a few layers of paper towels and place the wet blueberries onto it.
Gently blot your blueberries as dry as possible, taking care not to smash or break them.
Finally, place your blueberries on another cookie sheet, and ensure that each berry has a bit of space between them. Put the cookie sheet into a freezer. If your berries touch, it’s possible the freezing process could alter the shape of your berries (think, berry blob).
To dry your blueberries, the best method is to use a food dehydrator. But, you can also dry them in the oven.
Just place your berries on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Then bake them for no less than three hours at 225 degrees Fahrenheit.
You want to make sure the berries are thoroughly cooked before removing them, then give them a couple of minutes to cool before placing them into containers or ziplock bags for storage.
Recipes for Legacy Blueberries
You can find lots of fun recipes on the Minneopa Orchard website. You can also substitute blueberries for other fruits in different recipes. Here are a couple of examples.
- Blueberry Coffee Cake
- Vanilla Almond Cake
- Easy Muffins
- Almond Fruit Cheesecake
- Easy Crumble Recipe
- Rustic Fruit Tart (Galette)
- One-Bowl Fruit Bread
Health Benefits of the Legacy Blueberry
Blueberries are not only a great alternative to sugary snacks like candies, but they are also a superfood bursting with nutritional value as well as flavor.
Blueberries contain high vitamin K and C levels, potassium, fiber, and a ton of antioxidants.
These berries also have numerous health benefits such as:
- Controlling high blood pressure
- Assisting weight control
- Stroke recovery
- Improving dementia and cognitive function
- Fighting colon cancer
Where To Buy Legacy Blueberry Bushes
You can purchase Legacy Blueberry shrubs online at Nature Hills Nursery or you may be able to find them at your local garden centers.
Where To Buy Legacy Blueberries
While Legacy blueberries are grown commercially, most grocery stores don’t do a great job labeling the variety of blueberries they sell. So it may not be immediately apparent if you are getting Legacy or another variety. The best way to ensure access to Legacy blueberries is to grow your own or visit your local farmers markets.
The Last Word On the Legacy Blueberry
The Legacy blueberry is a berry that comes in a bit later than many varieties but always delivers when it comes to taste and quality. These highbush blueberries can withstand cold temps better than most and deliver massive yields. What more could you ask for?
Have you grown Legacy Blueberries? Share your experiences with us in the comments section below! To read about other kinds of blueberries, click here for our blueberry blog posts.