The Powder Blue Blueberry is named for the color of its blueberries. Native to the southern United States, it is a rabbiteye variety of blueberry characterized by the fact that the blueberries themselves are pink before they ripen to their distinctive blue color. Powder Blue Blueberry shrubs are exceptionally popular as they are easy to grow, and they happen to be beautiful to look at too. These blueberry plants have red and gold foliage in the fall, and their berries add a splash of color to your garden.
In this article you’ll learn all about the Powder Blue Blueberry and how to grow and care for it so you can enjoy blueberries picked from your home garden.
History of the Powder Blue Blueberry
The Powder Blue Blueberry was released jointly in 1978 by North Carolina State University and the US Department of Agriculture. Previously, its Latin name was Vaccinium Ashei, and this was changed to Vaccinium Virgatum in recent years.
Characteristics of the Powder Blue Blueberry
The Powder Blue Blueberry is suitable for home and commercial use but requires cross-pollination to yield fruit. The fruit is medium-sized and has a unique powder blue color with a slightly thicker and waxier skin. Rabbiteye varieties of blueberry are the most adaptable of the blueberry plant types.
The Powder Blue Blueberry is the most attractive of the rabbit eye varieties. It blooms with white bell-shaped flowers, color-changing berries as you enter the ripening season, and red and yellow foliage in fall before they drop. This plant is a veritable feast for the eyes throughout the year.
Powder Blue Blueberry plants require 550 to 650 chilling hours to break dormancy.
Powder Blue blueberries ripen mid to late season (June – July) and offer extended harvesting, making them suitable for pick-your-own operations. Be aware if you pick them too early, they will be tart. If you want to know more about when to pick your blueberries, then click here.
These blueberries are sweet and juicy with moderate firmness and hang in clusters. The unique blueness for which they are named makes them stand out from other blueberries.
Powder Blue blueberries are medium-sized and weigh in at 2.4g per 10 berries, making them smaller than many other blueberries.
Planting Zones of the Powder Blue Blueberry Bush
Powder Blue blueberries are suitable for growing in hardiness zones 7 to 9. In zone 7, the average minimum temperature is between 0° and 10° F, and in zone 9, the average minimum temperature is between 20° and 30°. The powder blue blueberry tree blooms in late spring to early summer, meaning they are more protected from late freezes than other varieties of blueberry plants.
Size and Spacing
At maturity, the Powder Blue Blueberry reaches 6 – 10 feet in height and 8 – 10 feet in width with a moderate growth rate. This is not a small blueberry bush, and you will need a larger garden to accommodate this plant.
For a hedge, you should plant your Powder Blue Blueberry shrubs approximately 5 to 6 feet apart, and for individual plants, you should plant them 8 to 10 feet apart.
The Powder Blue Blueberry needs to be cross-pollinated and should be paired, in your garden, with other rabbiteye varieties like Tifblue or Brightwell Blueberry bushes.
Blueberry Shrub Care
Powder Blue Blueberry shrubs are extremely hardy, but still, they should be cared for thoughtfully. It would be best to plan where you would like to place your blueberry to show its ornamental looks to advantage while also maximizing its fruit-bearing capabilities. Remember, blueberries like acidic soil, and the Powder Blue Blueberry is no different, thriving in soil with a pH of between 4 and 5.5. Blueberry plants respond favorably to mulching to protect the roots and prevent the ground from drying out.
The Powder Blue Blueberry likes sunshine, and it will need 6 to 8 hours of full sun per day to thrive. If there is shade, plant your blueberry shrub in an area that only has shade early in the morning or late in the afternoon.
The Powder Blue Blueberry is not a drought tolerant variety and should be regularly watered in well-drained, sandy soil. Without adequate moisture during fruit production, your berries will not be juicy.
Powder Blue Blueberry shrubs do not need to be pruned much, making them low maintenance. You may prune lightly for size and shape in late winter and more regularly after the third year to remove weaker branches. Read more about pruning your blueberry plants here.
Diseases & Pests
One of the Powder Blue Blueberry’s best traits is that it is highly resistant to pests and diseases. The only real annoyance will be the possibility of birds trying to eat your blueberries before you harvest them! If this becomes an issue, you can put a net over your plant to protect the blueberries. Read more about common blueberry plant diseases here.
Common Uses for The Powder Blue Blueberry
Powder Blue blueberries are for eating. They have a lovely sweet flavor, and their color is eye-catching in cold desserts and puddings. Blueberries are eaten both for their taste and their nutritional benefits. For more about their nutritional benefits, follow this link.
Powder Blue blueberries add sweetness to your cooking. Blueberries and baking go hand in hand, as you’ll see with the Blueberry Coffee Cake and these Lemon Blueberry Muffins. Who can resist one of these fresh out of the oven?
Powder Blue blueberries may be overlooked for eating raw because of their size profile, but they are as suitable as any other blueberry. Mix them with other berries for a colorful and tasty snack. Blueberries, dark chocolate, and a spoonful of yogurt make a lovely and fuss-free after-dinner treat without the guilt.
Canning / Freezing / Drying
Blueberries do not continue to ripen after they are picked, but do not let them linger in your fridge for too long. They are a notoriously short-lived fruit and can only last about a week in the refrigerator.
You can freeze Powder Blue blueberries by tossing them in a Ziploc bag and into the freezer to be used later in cooking or for a smoothie. When you’re ready to use your blueberries, just take the bag out of the freezer and use them as you would freshly picked blueberries.
If you’re interested in drying blueberries for granola or other culinary uses, here’s an easy way to dry blueberries in your oven.
Health Benefits of the Powder Blue Blueberry
Blueberries have amazing health benefits, and these fruits are small but mighty. They are immune-boosting and anti-oxidant rich. Powder Blue blueberries are high in fiber and low in calories. There is so much to learn about the health benefits of blueberries, and I encourage you to click here to read more!
Where To Buy The Powder Blue Blueberry Shrub?
You can order your very own Powder Blue Blueberry on the Nature Hills Nursery site by clicking here.
Where To Buy Powder Blue Blueberries
Powder Blue Blueberry bushes are native to the Southeastern United States. If you live in East Texas or Georgia, you will be able to buy your blueberries commercially. Powder Blue blueberries are also available at pick-your-own farms.
Wrapping up The Powder Blue Blueberry Tree
If you have a large garden in need of an attractive shrub capable of providing you with the bonus of some fruit, look no further than the Powder Blue Blueberry. It is a relatively easy to grow blueberry bush that is pretty throughout the year. The sizable fruits are plump and sweet and are sure to be a harvest you look forwards to year after year.