The Star Blueberry takes its name from the five-pointed petals that are found on the fruit of this plant. One of the great things about the Star Blueberry is that it can be grown as a shrub or as a small tree.The berry itself is very similar to other varieties of blueberries in terms of shape and size.
Let’s take a deeper look at the Star Blueberry to learn if it’s right for your garden.
History of the Star Blueberry
In 1996, the University of Florida produced an early highbush blueberry called “Star” that is widely cultivated today. The scientific name is Vaccinium corymbosum ‘Star’ or Vaccinium hybrid.
Star Blueberry Characteristics
Each spring you’ll look forward to a beautiful show of blue-green to yellow foliage, in addition to lovely white flowers. The Star Blueberry is a low, mat-forming shrub that can grow almost anywhere. It will tolerate full sun to partial shade and both acidic and non-acidic soils.
After an April bloom, the ripening season of this fruit is during the early season – around mid-July. Harvest time is usually early summer as well. These berries have a long post-harvest life.
Fruit tends to be firm and sweet. The blueberries’ size are large with excellent scar and firmness.
Chilling Level – a low chill southern highbush cultivar, the Star Blueberry requires 300-600 chill hours. It may be produced as far south as Gainesville, Florida, with no delay in spring bud break, thanks to the chill factor.
This scrub grows best in US Planting Zones 6-9. This variety grows well in the Northwest, as well as California and other areas with mild winters.
Size and Spacing
One of the benefits of a Star Blueberry is that it is very easy to plant. The average height of the plant is 5 to 8 feet, with a spread of 3 to 5 feet. The width of the shrub is 4 to 6 feet.
Shrubs should be spaced 4 to 5 feet apart.
Star Blueberries are partially self-fertile. If a pollinator is needed, another cultivar may be planted close by for cross-pollination.
These long-lasting blooms pollinate many other varieties. The shrub will produce a large number of tart-tasting berries during the early summer.
Blueberry Shrub Care
This is very easy to grow shrub. This plant needs fast-draining soil rich with organic matter, and it tolerates both acidic and alkaline soils – but prefers acidic soil. Plant in acidic soil in the ground, containers or grow bags.
A Star Blueberry needs six or more hours of sun each day. Full sun or partial shade is ideal.
Star Blueberries grow well in a wide range of soils. The soil should drain well, and a pH near 5.5 is recommended. Although blueberries are tolerant to heat/drought conditions, they produce best when watered frequently so that the soil is kept moist.
A Star grows well with watering 3 to 4 times a week, but only water enough to keep the top inch of soil moist.
Remove the thickest, oldest stems in the early spring. Leave the most productive of the thin young stems.
More info about pruning blueberries is on Minneopa Orchards.
Diseases & Care
Blueberry lovers may be pleased to hear that Star Blueberries are highly resistant to disease and pests. But it always pays to take the necessary precautions. For information about the most common blueberry bush diseases, visit our guide on the website.
For information about identifying, eradicating, and deterring blueberry pests, read our blog post on the 9 common pests you’ll encounter with blueberries
Common Uses For Star Blueberries
Once you have harvested these delicious blueberries, you must decide what to do with them. Fortunately, there are lots of options!
The berry can be used for healthy snacks or for decadent desserts. The berries make tasty baked goods for breakfasts, jams, and jellies. Blueberries even make delicious savory dishes — pork and fish (like salmon) are wonderful meat pairings for blueberries.
Of course, homemade ice cream and smoothies are seasonal treats when you make them with freshly picked blueberries!
What Does This Fruit Taste Like?
The Star Blueberry is a very sweet fruit that is perfect for snacking. Kids will love them.
Canning / Freezing / Drying / Preserving
Blueberries are suitable for canning. You’ll want to follow safe canning procedures and this article will walk you through each step of the process.
Drying blueberries is a great option for preserving your harvest and it doesn’t require a special food dehydrator. If you have an oven, you can make your own dried blueberries.
Freezing is probably the easiest method there is for storing your blueberry bounty. Freeze blueberries in pint quantities, since that’s what many blueberry recipes call for. You’ll be enjoying the taste of blueberries well into the winter months!
Here are just a few blueberry recipe ideas you can find on our website:
You can even substitute blueberries in this recipe for Cherry Turnovers.
Health Benefits of that Fruit
Blueberries don’t just taste good — they also have some wonderful health benefits. The Star blueberry has been studied extensively for its nutritional value, as well as possible medicinal qualities.
Berries contain many antioxidants and flavonoids. Antioxidants slow down the aging process and could prevent cancer cells from growing.
This fruit may be able to help those who suffer from certain disorders such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, and cataracts.
For more health benefits of the fruit, check out The Health Benefits of Blueberries.
Where To Buy the Star Blueberry
Be sure to visit Nature Hills Nursery to buy your Star Blueberry plants.
Where To Buy Star Blueberries
Star blueberries aren’t likely to be in your local grocery store’s produce section. Your best bet for finding the fruit for sale is to check out local farmer’s markets, roadside stands, or contact local blueberry farms in your area.
Fruit Facts / FAQs
How do I know when my plant is producing fruit?
You may notice that your plant begins to produce fruit after about 3 years. The flowers will be white, and the berries should turn blue in time.
The leaves will start to wilt and fall off. Then the plant will die. You can cut it out and use the plant as compost after the berries have been harvested.
When is the fruit ready to harvest?
Blueberries are ready to be harvested when they are fully blue. They are soft at first but will harden as they continue to ripen.
What is the best way to prepare the fruit?
You can cook, can, dry, or freeze them. They’ll taste good no matter what method you choose.
When should I plant a new variety of blueberry?
It is best to plant a new variety about three years before you plan on harvesting fruit. Make sure to research the plant you are purchasing because some plants need a colder climate than others.
Wrapping Up The Star Blueberry
The Star blueberry is a sweet and delicious berry that is sure to add great flavor to all your favorite blueberry recipes. But the fruit isn’t the only reason you’ll love this shrub — the spring blooms and foliage colors throughout the year will make the Star an attractive landscape feature in your garden.
Do you have a Star Blueberry in your garden? If so, we’d love to hear about your experiences with it in the comments section below! To read about other blueberries that may be suitable for your garden, visit this link for our blueberry blog posts.