Who doesn’t love a good blueberry? A good, ripe blueberry fresh off a blueberry bush will transport you back to fond memories of blue stained fingers, eating every other blueberry you pick, and going home to make treats with the blueberries you picked with the ones you love. There’s just something about fresh blueberries that is special.
You may not know this yet, but blueberries can be a tricky thing to grow yourself. They require a lot of care and attention. If that makes you nervous, the Springhigh Blueberry is for you!
The Springhigh Blueberry is a variety of southern highbush plant that is known for being a hardy plant that can survive and produce large, high-quality berries just about anywhere.
Read on to find out more information about the Springhigh Blueberry!
History of the Springhigh Blueberry
Historically, blueberry bushes have needed at least 1,000 chill hours (cumulative time plants need to spend at or below 45°F in order to produce good fruit) to grow well, which means they couldn’t grow in many places in the United States. In the 1990s, the University of Florida set to work to breed new varieties of blueberries that could flourish in warmer environments. These trials and errors eventually led to what we now know as Southern Highbush blueberries.
The Springhigh Blueberry was first grown in a greenhouse in Florida in 1993. It was transplanted, evaluated, propagated, rooted, and finally planted in central and south-central Florida in January 1997. By 2003, the Springhigh Blueberry plants were finally bearing fruit. The most attractive feature of this variety was its strong, upright bush and its early fruit ripening.
Characteristics of the Springhigh Blueberry
The Springhigh Blueberry is a Southern Highbush blueberry. The bushes can grow anywhere from 6″-16″ feet, which means they take the phrase “upright bush” very seriously! These vigorous plants have an excellent frame with beautiful white flowers. Springhigh bushes produce very large, dark berries with excellent flavor.
This variety of blueberries only requires 200 hours of chill time, which means you’ll have ripe berries very early on in the season, typically in April.
As previously mentioned, these blueberries ripen early in the season. Part of researchers goal at University of Florida was to cultivate a blueberry that would ripen early in the season so that they would be ready and available to take to early markets, when blueberry prices are still higher. They’re typically ready to start harvesting by mid-April.
These berries have a pleasant, sweet, quintessential blueberry flavor, making them a great blueberry to choose for any of your blueberry treat recipes! They are considered soft berries, but just because they’re a soft fruit doesn’t mean they’re missing anything in flavor!
Springhigh blueberries can be very large. Some of them can even grow to be the size of a quarter!
If you live in the south, this is going to be a great blueberry bush option for you! Remember, it was created all the way down in Central and South-Central Florida! The Springhigh Blueberry variety is a Southern Highbush, which means it grows very well in the warm, southern temperatures. This variety of blueberries grows best in zones 7-10.
Size and Spacing
Anywhere you’re thinking of putting a hedge, you should think about blueberry bushes! The Springhigh Blueberry bush will fill out the space you’re looking to fill nicely all while providing a delicious treat to enjoy! Each bush needs to be planted 4′-5′ apart because they grow to be at least 6′ tall and typically 3′-4′ wide.
The Springhigh Blueberry is pretty good at self-pollinating, but it’s always a good idea to plant other mid-season varieties nearby to promote cross pollination and provide you with a longer blueberry harvesting season.
Blueberry Shrub Care
In this next section, we’ll go over the basic care your blueberry shrubs will need. For a more in-depth and detailed read, click the link to our guide, How To Grow Blueberries. This resource will walk you through the entire process of planting, growing, harvesting, and maintaining your blueberry shrubs.
Blueberry bushes do best in full, direct sun. They may do ok in partial shade, but full sun is going to give you the best yield potential.
Soil is very important to the health of your blueberry bushes. To set your plants up for years of success, mix together soil that is 90% sphagnum peat moss and 10% perlite. Put this mixture in the hole you’ve dug (remember, 4′-5′ apart!), plant your Springhigh blueberries, and fill it in with the soil. Blueberries also like more acidic soil and the pH should be between 4.9-5.5.
Initially after planting, give your new blueberry plants at least 1″ of water during growing season, and then bump it up to 4″ per week while the fruit is ripening. Blueberries need soil that is moist, but not soggy, so keep it moist to a depth of 1″.
The best time to fertilize your blueberry bushes will be in the spring, before the leaves grow in or the plants flower. It gives the fertilizer a chance to get deep into the soil before it enters active growth. Once they’re established, you shouldn’t need to fertilize more than once a year. Find a fertilizer with high acid that contain ammonium sulfate or sulfer-coated urea. Also look for fertilizers higher in nitrogen, but not nitrates such as calcium nitrate or chloride. Nitrates can kill some blueberries. Nitrogen helps.
Pruning is essential for the best berry yield. Prune heavily while the plant is getting established and then you can ease up as it matures. Cutting off unnecessary growth will help the plants put all of their energy into growing better fruit instead of more and more branches.
For more information or for any pruning questions, read our guide, How to Prune Blueberries.
Southern highbush variety blueberries are naturally pretty disease resistant. They do experience stem blight sometimes, so if you notice a branch on your Springhigh Blueberry bush suddenly turn red or brownish, cut it off 6″-8″ below the affected part in order to stop it from spreading.
Our guide, 10 Blueberry Bush Diseases and How To Treat Them, will provide even more information about identifying, treating, and preventing the most common blueberry bush diseases.
The Springhigh Blueberry doesn’t have any major issues with pests. Still…it’s best to know your potential enemy to make sure that you — not critters — enjoy the fruits of your labors. 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 Springhigh Blueberries
You’ll know your Sprighigh blueberries are ready to pick when they’re a deep blue with a white-ish film (also called waxy bloom) on them. They are naturally softer than a lot of other blueberries, but don’t let them get too soft.
To be sure that you know just when to pick your blueberries, read our blog post, When Is the Right Time To Pick Blueberries?
Common Uses For Springhigh Blueberries
The extra large size of these berries makes them a great choice eating fresh or adding to a sweet treat. Imagine biting into a blueberry muffin and it being filled with big, juicy, sweet blueberries!
What Does This Blueberry Taste Like?
The Springhigh Blueberry has a “pleasant,” sweet flavor.
These berries would go really well in a muffin, pie, crumble, or even pancakes. If you want something more savory, you could pair them with beef. They go well in or with hamburgers, roast beef, or even steaks.
As mentioned before, this berry is great to enjoy all on its own! Eat them by the handful, toss them in a yummy mixed drink, or even top your salad with some.
Canning / Freezing / Drying
If you’re looking to make your berries last longer, canning, freezing, and/or drying could be your answer. If you’re thinking about canning, think about changing up how you are using them. Plain blueberries aren’t a great candidate for canning, but syrups and jellies are!
If you want to freeze your berries (which would make a great addition to your morning smoothie!), follow these simple steps:
1. Wash the berries and lay them out to dry. If you grew them yourself organically, you can skip this step.
2. Spread out in a single layer on a cookie sheet and freeze until solid, typically 12 hours to overnight.
3. Transfer frozen berries into a freezer bag or container and return to your freezer to store up to 2 years!
You can dry your blueberries in a food dehydrator and enjoy them in a trail mix or some homemade granola.
Health Benefits of Springhigh Blueberries
Blueberries are known to be a superfruit and the Spinghigh variety is no exception. These berries are filled with antioxidants, which fight free radicals in your body. They are also a fantastic source of fiber, vitamin C, vitamin K, manganese, and potassium. Even a handful of these berries will give these health benefits!
Where to Buy Springhigh Blueberry Plants
You can always check your local nurseries to see if they have any Springhigh Blueberry plants or if they could get some for you (always good to support local businesses!), but if you can’t find them locally, you can buy them from Southern Berries USA. At that link, you’ll be able to choose if you want a 1 year old plant or a 2 year old plant.
Where to Buy Springhigh Blueberries
You may be able to find Springhigh blueberries at your local farmers market, especially if you live in a zone where they grow well! Ask the farmers at the market if they’ve got any or know anyone who does. It would be worth hunting them down to enjoy their plump, juicy flavors! If all else fails, grow your own!
Wrapping Up the Springhigh Blueberry
The Springhigh Blueberry is a great option to add to your yard or garden if you live in the south. It’s a hardy, vigorous plant, that will give you a considerable fruit yield and leave you with plenty of berries to eat, share, and save for later!
Let us know in the comments if you’ve got any experience with this blueberry. We can’t wait to hear from you! And to read up on other varieties of blueberries, click this link for our other blueberry-related blog posts.