If you know anything about different blueberry varieties, you might have heard of the Brightwell blueberry. This is a popular choice for commercial growers and home gardeners alike. No matter where you are growing blueberries, you will love tending to this hardy fruit bush.
Read on to find everything you need to know about the Brightwell blueberry.
History of the Brightwell Blueberry Bush
The Brightwell blueberry is a rabbiteye blueberry, meaning that it is native to the Southeastern United States. You will find rabbiteye blueberries grown everywhere from North Carolina to Texas. In the 1920s, rabbiteye blueberries of many varieties began to be studied by experts in Florida. They were developed into their modern form by the University of Georgia and are now one of the most popular commercial varieties thanks to their hardiness and excellent taste.
Brightwell Blueberry Bush/Fruit Characteristics
The Brightwell blueberry plant is characterized by a hardy, medium quick-growing bush that thrives almost anywhere. It produces large, deep blue fruit in extremely large yields. In fact, you may find yourself wondering what to do with all the fruit, as some gardeners have reported getting 10 lbs. of berries from a single bush.
Brightwell blueberry bushes can get very large, reaching a height of as much as 10 ft.
Brightwell blueberries are moderately cold hardy with 350 to 400 chilling hours. They can also handle the occasional late frost without sustaining crop damage.
Brightwell blueberries are an early season variety, ready to be harvested in the first half of June and enjoyed all summer long.
Brightwell blueberries are deep blue, sweet, and juicy.
Brightwell blueberries are known for their medium to large size.
Though unbothered by late frosts, Brightwell blueberries are particularly known for being highly tolerant to warm and humid regions. They grow naturally in USDA zones 7 through 9.
Size and Spacing
The Brightwell blueberry bush is very large, with a mature height of 8 to 10 ft. and a mature spread of 6 to 10 ft. To allow for maximum healthy spread, plant each individual bush 8 to 10 ft. apart.
The Brightwell blueberry bush is considered semi-fertile. This means that it will produce fruit without a nearby pollinator, but you can drastically increase your fruit yield by planting another rabbiteye variety nearby.
This blueberry variety is known for being hardy and easy to care for. As long as its basic needs are met, you can be sure you will get an abundance of berries. Make sure to protect your bushes with netting, as birds love blueberries.
The Brightwell blueberry prefers full sun to partial shade. Make sure to plant it in acidic soil, as this is one of the most important needs of this blueberry variety.
You will need to water your Brightwell blueberry bush frequently as it’s getting established. Water deeply two or three times a week for the first three months after planting. Also water frequently during the growing season. Many gardeners recommend adding mulch to help retain moisture in the soil.
The Brightwell blueberry has moderate pruning needs, which can be a challenge for anyone who is used to growing trees rather than bushes. To learn more about pruning the Brightwell blueberry bush, check out our post on pruning blueberry plants.
Diseases & Care
Brightwell blueberry bushes, like many other blueberry varieties, are subject to a number of pests and diseases. To learn more about the most common diseases affecting the Brightwell blueberry, check out our post on blueberry diseases.
Sadly, it’s not just people who love blueberries and, chances are, you’ll end up dealing with a pest or two. For information about how to identify, eliminate, and deter pests, read our blog post on the 9 common pests you’ll encounter with blueberries.
Common Uses For The Brightwell Blueberry
Brightwell blueberries are ideal not only for eating raw, but for canning, baking, and preserving. It is good that they are so versatile, since these heavy producers will provide plenty of fruit every year!
What Does the Brightwell Blueberry Taste Like?
The Brightwell blueberry is known for its sweet, mild flavor that contains just a hint of tartness. Thanks in part to its large size, this variety is extremely juicy, making it perfect in almost any application, from jams to baking or eating raw.
Brightwell blueberries are a great choice for cooking and baking. Blueberries are popularly used in baked goods such as pies, cakes, tarts, sweet bread, and muffins. If you use Brightwell blueberries in a cake or bread, be sure to cut them into halves or quarters and then squeeze the excess moisture out using a kitchen cloth or paper towel.
Brightwell blueberries are perfect for eating raw, and you might find yourself snacking on them right off the bush. With their mild sweet flavor, Brightwell blueberries are also delicious incorporated raw into yogurt, blended in smoothies, or sprinkled onto cereal, oatmeal, or even ice cream.
Canning / Freezing / Drying
Blueberries are a classic choice for preserving and canning. Blueberry jam and jelly are a classic treat and taste amazing smothered on toast along with butter or added as a filling in cakes, doughnuts, or other pastries.
Blueberries freeze very well, but the method for freezing them might seem unusual. Though you should always rinse fresh fruit before eating it, it is best to avoid washing fresh blueberries before you place them in the freezer. Instead, freeze them in a plastic bag or container and rinse them after thawing. For best results, use frozen blueberries within six months.
Dried blueberries are tasty and perfect for adding to cereal, oatmeal, or trail mix. If you have a food dehydrator, you can make them easily at home.
There are simply countless ways to use Brightwell blueberries. For some ideas, check out our post on blueberry recipes and get started in your kitchen at home!
Health Benefits of the Brightwell Blueberry
Blueberries are some of the most nutritious fruits you can eat. Packed with essential vitamins and minerals, they have gained a reputation as a superfood. One of the most important health benefits of Brightwell blueberries is the high levels of antioxidants. These are compounds that fight the formation of free radicals, which are cells thought to cause certain serious diseases including cancer, heart disease, and type II diabetes.
To learn more about the amazing health benefits of this fruit, check out our post here.
Where To Buy Brightwell Blueberry Bushes
You can find Brightwell blueberry bushes for sale through online nurseries such as Nature Hills. If you live in the Southeastern United States, you may be able to find a local grower who will sell you a Brightwell blueberry bush!
Where To Buy Brightwell Blueberries
Brightwell blueberries are widely grown commercially, so you may very well be able to find them at your local grocery store. If not, check at a nearby farmers’ market or nursery to see if they have them available. If you are buying locally, you will have the best luck making inquiries in the early summer when Brightwell berries are ready to harvest.
What Are Good Pollinators For Brightwell Blueberries?
Brightwell blueberries are self-fertile, meaning that they will produce fruit without a pollination partner. However, you can drastically increase the fruit yield by planting another rabbiteye variety nearby to encourage cross-pollination. For this reason they are generally classified as semi-fertile. Good pollinators for Brightwell blueberries include Tifblue, Climax, Premier, Powder Blue, and Austin.
When Should You Pick Brightwell Blueberries?
The right time to pick blueberries varies from one cultivar to the next. Brightwell blueberries are generally ready to be harvested in June.
Wrapping up The Brightwell Blueberry
The Brightwell blueberry is one of the most popular varieties in the United States, and it’s not hard to see why. This cultivar is easy to care for and almost guarantees an excellent fruit crop year after year.
Have you planted this variety in your garden? Tell us in the comments section below!
Excited for more blueberry content? Then check out our blueberry page to learn all about how to grow, care for, and harvest this delicious fruit!
- About the Author
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Bree is a wife, mom to a silly pitbull, and a writer for Minneopa Orchards. She lives in Oregon where she works as a freelancer and spends her free time cooking or crafting.
She began gardening when she became a homeowner — whenever she moved into a new home, a garden was one of her first priorities. She enjoyed creating beautiful outdoor spaces in whatever growing zone she lived in and says her southwest gardens were the most challenging!
Bree currently lives in a downtown urban setting, so she’s making good use of indoor gardening methods. Writing for Minneopa Orchards also inspires her to experiment in the kitchen with fresh herbs and seasonal produce. Infused oils, fruit syrups, and dried fruits are some of her recent successes.