If you’re a blueberry lover, then you’re in luck because there are dozens of different types of blueberries to choose for your garden — one of them is the Suziblue Blueberry. The Suziblue is one of six southern highbush blueberries and is among the best that the U.S. offers. It is a vigorous and resilient plant, featuring a semi-spreading bush with a medium crown.
Whether you enjoy blueberry pies, muffins, bars, or anything else that you can make with blueberries, the Suziblue won’t let you down. To learn more about the Suziblue Blueberry, you’ve come to the right place.
History of the Suziblue Blueberry
The Suziblue Blueberry is relatively new in the world of blueberries. Its origins are traced back to 2002 at the Georgia Experiment Station in Griffin, Georgia, where it was developed by D.Scott NeSmith. From there, the Suziblue then underwent production at the University of Georgia Blueberry Farm near Alapaha, GA. In the years that followed, the Suziblue outperformed its other southern highbush testing competitors, including the Star Blueberry and the Rebel Blueberry.
In 2009 the Suziblue Blueberry was released to the public from the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and the University of Georgia Agricultural Experiment Stations. As a result, it’s a protected blueberry that can only be sold by those licensed by the University of Georgia.
Characteristics of the Suziblue Blueberry
As previously mentioned, the Suziblue Blueberry is a southern highbush plant similar to the Star and Rebel blueberries. They are also a large, firm, and flavorful blueberry that has gained popularity due to their size and juiciness. The berries often grow in tight clusters and start with an olive green appearance. However, as they ripen in preparation for harvest, they change to a healthy blue color typical of delicious blueberries.
The Suziblue Blueberry is one of the most vigorous blueberry species. According to its creator, D. Scott NeSmith, it has an estimated chill time of about 400 hours. You should maintain a temperature of 45 degrees Fahrenheit during all 400 hours of its chill time.
These blueberries ripen over a two-month period. They start to bloom and flower in early March, which means that fruit ripens for picking in late April or early May. The ripening season varies from grower to grower and from area to area. In warmer regions that don’t experience a freezing season, the Suziblue Blueberry can be harvested slightly earlier or later in the year.
Suziblue blueberries are somewhat of a happy medium for taste and sweetness. They are sweeter than similar southern highbush blueberries like Rebel, but not overwhelmingly so. Overall, the Suziblue is relatively sweet, but not to the point of other southern highbush fruit such as Legacy or Bluegold.
Suziblues are coveted and loved for their large and firm berries. They have some of the best overall cropping and flavor for berries of their size.
The Suziblue Blueberry is a southern highbush plant that will achieve the best results when planted in zones 7a to 8a.
Size and Spacing
The Suziblue Blueberry shrub grows and produces more fruit as it matures. You should make sure that they have ample space to grow and leave 4 to 5 feet between each plant. You should also leave around 8 to 10 feet between each row of plants. Blueberry bushes grow from 6 to 12 feet tall and spread out in all directions if they have the room and space to grow.
A Suziblue Blueberry is an asexual self-plant that can survive well on its own. However, cross-pollination can help and enhance the quality of your plant. Here are a few suggestions for cross-pollination.
- Dwarf blueberry plants
Blueberry Shrub Care
If you’re interested in growing your own Suziblue Blueberries, this is the section for you. Let’s take a look at the most important things to keep in mind when planting and cultivating your blueberry shrubs. For more in-depth information about how to grow the best blueberry crop, check out our blog post on how to grow blueberries.
The Suziblue Blueberry should get around 6 to 8 hours of sunlight per day.
You should plant blueberries in organic soil with a pH level of between 4.5 and 5.5. It’s important that they have great drainage because blueberry plants need lots of water.
Suziblues require at least one inch of water per week, which means that rainfall might not be sufficient depending on where you live. A soaker hose on a timer may be a good idea for keeping the top inch of soil moist at all times.
Southern highbush blueberries such as the Suziblue Blueberry should be pruned annually. Annual pruning will keep them from overbearing fruit and will help maintain their strength and vigor. Pruning should be done during the dormant season, especially in the late winter months of January and February. Remember, they start to bloom in March, so you’ll want to have them ready to go.
For more information about how to prune blueberry shrubs, read our blog post on pruning blueberries.
Fertilization of the Suziblue Blueberry is what will make or break your shrub. While the Suziblue is heartier than many of its counterparts you should adhere to the following recommendations.
1. Don’t use excess fertilizer.
2. Wait to fertilize your planted shrub until the first leaves have reached full size.
3. In year two, you can double the first year’s fertilization rate.
Unfortunately, blueberry bushes aren’t immune to disease and sickness and the Suziblue Blueberry is no exception. In fact, there are more than ten different diseases that target blueberry shrubs and it’s important to be on the lookout for them. Bacterial canker, crown gall, and armillaria root rot are just a few of the many diseases to be on the lookout for.
For information on identifying and treating diseases, read our blog post on the 10 most common blueberry diseases.
Suziblue blueberries aren’t just loved by humans, they’re also devoured by pests when they’re given the chance. Insects such as flea beetles, Japanese beetles, and flower thrips are just a few of the many pests that enjoy gorging themselves on suziblue blueberries. Worms, maggots, and mites are also a constant threat to your blueberry shrubs. But insects aren’t the only blueberry predators to be on guard against — birds, deer, and even rodents have a taste for your blueberries, if they can get to them before you do.
It’s important to incorporate some form of natural or chemical pest control with your blueberry shrubs. While chemical control is effective, natural forms of pest control are healthier for the plant and for human consumption.
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 Suziblue Blueberries
Early May to late June is the ideal harvesting period for a Suziblue Blueberry. You’ll know your berries are ready for picking once they’re a solid blue color. You might have to return to your shrub several times when you think that the harvest time is near since the fruit won’t all ripen at the same time.
Once the berries are ripe, you should pick them and store them in an airtight container. Make sure that they’re completely dry before sealing them and put them in a refrigerator for storage up to about a week.
Follow this link for more information about harvesting your Suziblue blueberries.
Common Uses For Suziblue Blueberries
Suziblue blueberries can be used for anything from desserts to cocktails to main courses.
What Does This Blueberry Taste Like?
The Suziblue has a fairly sweet and acidic taste. They’re a firm berry that explodes in your mouth with a crunch when you bite into them.
Suziblues are great for cooking things such as pies, muffins, and cupcakes.
They’re just as good to pick and eat raw without cooking. It’s always wise to wash and dry blueberries before eating them.
Canning / Freezing / Drying
Because of how large and firm they are, Suziblues are excellent candidates for canning, freezing, and drying.
If you’re on the hunt for delicious ways to implement Suziblue blueberries, here are some tasty recipes! (If the original recipe uses another kind of fruit, just substitute blueberries instead.)
Simple Blueberry Jam (only three ingredients!)
Health Benefits of Suziblue Blueberries
Blueberries are great treats not only because they’re delicious, but also because they’re extremely healthy. They’re absolutely packed with Vitamin C, vitamin K, antioxidants, and potassium, among other nutrients.
Here are a few health conditions that blueberries help prevent and improve.
- Reduce the risk of cancer.
- Have anti-aging properties.
- Help lower your cholesterol and blood pressure.
- Reduce the risk of heart disease.
Where to Buy Suziblue Blueberry Plants or Seeds
The Suziblue Blueberry is a protected plant that can only be sold by specially licensed individuals. Suziblues are especially popular in southern states such as Georgia, Florida, and California. Contact your local nurseries to inquire about the availability of Suziblue seeds and plants.
Where to Buy Suziblue Blueberries
Because only specially licensed growers can buy and sell Suziblue plants and seeds, the same restrictions apply to finding Suziblue Blueberry fruit for sale. You’ll have the best luck in states where the plants are grown, such as Georgia and California. Contact your local nursery and fruit markets to find out if they ever carry Suziblue blueberries in season.
Wrapping Up the Suziblue Blueberry
If you live in the south and love blueberries, it will be worth the work trying to get your hands on the Suziblue Blueberry. Their firmness, size, taste, and overall quality make them the envy of blueberries everywhere. Take some time and make a few phone calls to see if you can get your hands on some Suziblue blueberries.
Have you been lucky enough to grow or eat Suziblue blueberries? Tell us about it in the comments section below! To read more about blueberries, click this link for other blueberry blog posts.