If you love large, delicious, juicy blueberries, then the Patriot Blueberry is definitely worth a look. The Patriot has beautiful foliage and highly productive yields. They are a bit shorter in height than other varieties with a widespread growth pattern, making them an excellent choice for pot or garden growing. The Patriot is also cold-hardy and highly adaptive, with consistently proven performance year after year.
Let’s take a closer look at this interesting blueberry.
History of the Patriot Blueberry
The Patriot Blueberry was developed at the University of Maine in 1976. It has highbush and partial lowbush parentage that includes US3 (Michigan LB-1 x Dixi) and Earliblue (Weymouth x Stanley).
Patriot Blueberry / Fruit Characteristics
The Patriot is a perennial vigorous upright northern highbush that’s open spreading, resistant to some forms of soil fungus (such as root rot), and cold hardy. It’s known for its small size, spreading growth, and beautiful foliage that changes colors in the fall and produces beautiful snowy bell-shaped blossoms starting around May.
Patriot Blueberries require 1,000+ chill hours.
Patriot blueberries ripen early-mid season, usually in June one to three years after transplanting your bush in April. They intermittently give you multiple harvests throughout the seasons. It’s possible to bring in yields between 10-20 pounds!
Patriot bushes produce very large-sized, soft berries that are light blue when fully ripened and are flavorful and sweet. To give you a better idea of their potential size, Patriot blueberries can grow as big as a quarter!
The best USDA Hardiness Zones to grow Patriot Blueberries are zones 3-7.
Size and Spacing
Patriot bushes are comparatively shorter than other varieties and can grow between 4-6 feet high with a spread between 4-6 feet wide. These bushes are rather leggy and require a lot of room which is why you want to plant them between 4-6 feet apart from your other bushes.
This variety is partially self-pollinating, and we recommend also planting one or two other highbush varieties to promote faster fruiting with better yields and quality fruit. Two varieties we recommend are AtlasBlue and Abundance.
Patriot Blueberry Bush Care
Now, one thing you need to be aware of with Patriot Blueberries is while they do very well in moist conditions, they do not tolerate standing water. They are also pretty fussy regarding soil conditions and intolerant to urban pollution, so it’s not the ideal choice for urban residents.
Patriot Blueberries require very acidic soil with a pH level between 4.5 and 5.0. If you have soil with a pH of 6.1-6.2, you can take steps to lower it by adding sulfur. You should also add lots of organic matter to your soil, such as aged compost-enriched soil. Mix it into the top six inches of your native soil.
Peat moss and pine fines are more organic matter that’s good to mix into your native soil.
Your soil should be well-drained, and the best soil is loamy. However, this variety is known to tolerate clay soil better than most varieties.
Blueberry bushes require fertilizer that has high levels of nitrogen. There are several types of ammonium forms you should look for, such as urea, cottonseed meal, ammonium sulfate, and sulfur-coated urea.
Avoid any fertilizer with nitrate because this form of nitrogen is toxic to blueberries.
It’s best to fertilize during early spring and again in late spring. Blood meal and Cottonseed are considered excellent organic fertilizer alternatives.
Patriot Blueberry bushes need at least 6 hours of daily direct sunlight for climates ranging from cold to warm). For hotter summer temperatures, you’ll need to give them partial shade.
Since blueberries have shallow root systems, watering your bushes every day is vital. Patriot bushes are especially thirsty plants that thrive in moist soil, but once again, you don’t want to have standing water around your bushes.
Here’s a helpful video with tips on how to best water your blueberry bushes.
Patriots are relatively low-maintenance shrubs when it comes to pruning and doesn’t require a lot of constant attention. It’s best to prune off dead or non-productive branches during the winter and leave productive branches alone.
Diseases & Care
Patriot Blueberry bushes are highly resistant to many soil diseases, but it’s still prudent to be use best practices when it comes to diseases. We have a handy guide that details common disease threats to blueberries.
Birds can be considered a pest. If you don’t wish to attract them, you can take steps to deter them, such as using mylar flash tape. You can also cover your crop with netting.
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 Patriot Blueberries
Your Patriot blueberries will be ready for picking starting in June. To know exactly when blueberries are at optimal ripeness and for best storage practices, consult our guide “When Is the Right Time To Pick Blueberries?“
Common Uses For the Patriot Blueberry
Patriot blueberries are amazing in all kinds of recipes, from cakes to meat dishes. However, many people like them as decorative plants since they are relatively smaller, bloom beautiful flowers in the spring, and have gorgeous orange and red leaves in the fall.
What Do Patriot Blueberries Taste Like?
Patriot blueberries have a mild to sweet taste.
These blueberries are fantastic in pies and cakes and dinner meat-based recipes that use fish, chicken, duck, beef, and pork.
Vine-ripened Patriot blueberries are sweet, plump, and juicy. They are delicious in salads and as dessert and breakfast toppings.
We can not recommend ever trying to can blueberries as this isn’t the best way to preserve them. However, if you’re interested in making delicious blueberry preserves and jams, here are two guides that can help you get started: Blueberry preserves and Blueberry jams.
Freezing is by far the best way to preserve whole blueberries. To begin, wash and rinse the blueberries.
Then, take a cookie sheet and line it with a couple of sheets of paper towels. Place the blueberries on the paper towels and carefully dry the berries. Be careful not to press too hard, or you will rupture the berries. This is especially true when it comes to softer berries such as the Patriot.
Once dry, place your berries one by one on another cookie sheet, ensuring there’s a bit of space between the berries, so their skins don’t freeze together. Freezing in a deep freezer should take between 4 and 8 hours.
A food dehydrator is the most recommended method for drying blueberries. However, you can also dry them in an oven.
First, put your blueberries on a parchment paper-lined cookie pan—Bake at 225 degrees Fahrenheit for approximately three hours.
Before removing the berries, check to make sure they are cooked thoroughly. Allow them to cool for a few minutes before you put them in ziplock bags or containers for long-term storage.
Recipes for Patriot Blueberries
On our Minneopa Orchard website, you can find lots of fun recipes for blueberries. You can also substitute them in recipes that use other berries. Here are just a few tasty examples.
- Easy Muffins
- Rustic Fruit Tart (Galette)
- Blueberry Coffee Cake
- Almond Fruit Cheesecake
- One-Bowl Fruit Bread
Health Benefits of the Patriot Blueberry
Blueberries are a fantastic sweet snack for when you’re craving sugar. They are also considered a superfood because they are loaded with nutrients.
They contain high vitamin C, B, and K levels, fiber, potassium, and tons of antioxidants.
Blueberries are also rich in nutraceuticals credited for providing numerous health benefits such as:
- Aiding weight loss
- Preventing high blood pressure
- Assisting recovery from stroke
- Combating colon cancer
- Improving cognitive function and symptoms of dementia
Where To Buy Patriot Blueberry Bushes
Many local nurseries and some retailers such as Lowes and Homedepot sell Patriot Blueberry plug plants that you can transplant into your garden. These plugs can vary in age, and those that are about a year or so old can produce fruit the following year.
Where To Buy Patriot Blueberries
You’re more likely to run into Patriot blueberries at farmer’s markets or at local grocery stores in zones where they are grown. If you live outside of zones where these berries are grown, you may want to contact a farmer’s market in their zone to inquire about having some shipped.
The Last Word On the Patriot Blueberry
The big and beautiful Patriot Blueberry is an outstanding berry that’s soft and sweet but tough where it counts — in the garden. It’s also a gorgeous blueberry bush that many folks also use to beautify their landscaping.
Do you an experience growing Patriot Blueberries in your garden or using them in your kitchen? If so, let us know about it in the comments section below! To learn more about other blueberry varieties, click here to read our blueberry-related blog pots.