If you can only have one blueberry plant in your garden, it should be the Toro Blueberry. These self-pollinating plants are easy to grow for beginners, they are deliciously sweet, and the bushes are known for producing high yields. They grow well in a majority of the United States and are rather drought resistant. Enjoy them raw or cook them in some of your favorite recipes.
Read on to learn more about these delectable berries, and how to add them to your garden.
History of the Toro Blueberry
American scientists were once in charge of the blueberry breeding program. When they bred an Erliblu and Ivanhoe Blueberry together in 1987, it produced the Toro Blueberry.
The ability of these bushes to produce big, juicy-sweet berries instantly made them popular among blueberry lovers. The large crops of berries made them a huge hit among blueberry cultivators.
Characteristics of the Toro Blueberry
Toro Blueberry bushes are a Northern highbush variety with a height of 5-6 feet and a width of approximately 4 feet. These bushes are so beautiful that they are often used for both their delicious fruits and as ornamental bushes. Spring will bring white bulbs and pink flowers. Gorgeous red foliage throughout autumn truly makes these bushes stand out from the crowd as they add a pop of color to your landscape.
These blueberry bushes produce larger yields of up to twenty pounds of blueberries per harvest. They can produce buckets of berries their first year, making them popular among those are adding their first blueberry bushes to their garden.
A Toro Blueberry bush will need 800-1000 hours of chill time in order to fruit.
Toro Blueberrry shrubs will produce a hardy yield of sweet blueberries mid-season in July.
Toro blueberries are best known for their lovely flavor and firm texture. The sweetness of these blue berries will instantly make you want to eat a few more handfuls. Whereas some berries lose their flavor when cooked, that’s not something you’ll have to worry about with this variety of blueberry. These berries taste delicious after being cooked, too!
Typical blueberries of the Toro variety are considered larger berries. You’ll find that you can fit 50-60 blueberries in a standard cup.
Toro bushes grow best in growing zones 4-7.
Size and Spacing
Mature plants can grow up to 6 feet tall and 4 feet wide. Plant them at least 4-5 feet apart for bushes to grow individually. For an ornamental hedge line of berry bushes, provide 2-3 feet of space between these beautiful blueberry bushes.
Toro Blueberry bushes are self-pollinating. That means that you only need one bush for berry production. However, cross-pollinating your Toro bush with another variety of blueberry can increase berry production. To do this, simply plant a cross-pollinating bush, such as an Abundance bush, next to your Toro bush.
Blueberry Shrub Care
We’ll go over the basics of caring for typical blueberries, but check out this blueberry growing guide for in-depth information that will answer all of your questions.
Toro Blueberry bushes appreciate having full or partial sun. Planting your bushes in an area of the garden that receives full sunlight for at least eight hours a day is ideal. Bushes that do not receive enough sunlight will produce smaller crops of berries.
Soil for growing blueberries should be well-draining and acidic. A great way to meet the soil needs of your blueberry bush is to use peat moss in the soil medium when planting your berry bushes.
Blueberries need about one inch of water per week during their growing season. When fruit begins ripening on the bushes, provide your bushes with at least four inches of water.
Bushes that don’t get enough water during ripening will not produce lots of berries. If you want a heavy producer, it’s critical that your Toro Blueberry bush gets enough water.
Fertilizing your blueberries once early in the spring and again before ripening with a fertilizer that is rich in nitrogen will help you produce the best harvest. It’s important to avoid fertilizers that have nitrate because this is toxic to blueberry bushes.
It’s recommended not to prune your Toro Blueberry bushes until they are three years old. When it’s time to start the pruning process, make sure to follow the tips in our comprehensive pruning guide.
Beginner blueberry cultivators often don’t learn about blueberry diseases until it is too late. Spraying a fungicidal on bushes is helpful, but it’s also important to learn about common blueberry diseases before they reduce the size of your crop of blueberries. For more information on both diseases and how to prevent them, check out our guide here.
Toro Blueberries are not typically bothered by a large number of pests. However, we do recommend using flash tape to scare away birds that want to enjoy your berries for brunch. 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 Toro Blueberries
It’s important to harvest Toro blueberries soon after they are ripe in July. Read this article before harvesting fresh berries to make sure that you know the right time to pick blueberries.
Common Uses For Toro Blueberries
These flavorful berries taste exceptional in jams, jellies, raw, and cooked in your favorite dishes. Their sweet flavor makes them a popular choice for eating raw and cooked.
What Does This Blueberry Taste Like?
This gigantic berry is sweet to taste, and never tart.
Cooking these excellent berries in your favorite dishes is a great way to enjoy that blueberry taste that you both know and love. They won’t lose their flavor during the cooking process.
Eating Toro blueberries raw is always a great idea! Their sweet flavor means that you can eat them without having to cook them or add them to a recipe to make them taste delicious. Fans of blueberries will love enjoying a handful of these firm berries for a snack.
Canning / Freezing / Drying
Canning, freezing, and drying are not typically how blueberries are preserved. Usually, those who like to preserve blueberries do so by making them into jams or jellies.
However, that doesn’t mean that canning, freezing, and drying are not options. To can blueberries, simply wash them, put them in a mason jar, and then follow the process with your pressurized canner that you would with other foods.
To freeze blueberries, wash them and allow them ample time to dry. Then, freeze them in a freezer bag.
Drying blueberries involves using a food dehydrator, such as a Ninja Foodi. After you’re done drying your berries, store them in an air-tight container to be eaten within the next month. To preserve them for a longer period of time, use a canning method to can your dehydrated blueberries.
Some mouth watering blueberry recipes to try during your next harvest are:
For more awesome recipes, browse the recipe section of our website.
Health Benefits of Toro Blueberries
Blueberries are considered the king of antioxidants. These powerful berries are packed with antioxidants that help fight the aging process. For more information about the health benefits of blueberries, check out this article. They are packed with nutritional value that you simply don’t find in a lot of other foods.
Where to Buy Toro Blueberry Plants or Seeds
You can buy Toro Blueberry bushes at most online orchards or nurseries (such as Nature Hills Nursery). These same places also sell seeds if you’d like to grow your own high-yield Toro Blueberries.
It’s common to find blueberry plants and seeds available during spring at your local nurseries or garden centers.
Where to Buy Toro Blueberries
You can occasionally find Toro blueberries at your local grocery store. If you want to find fresh Toro blueberries, try your local farmer’s market.
Wrapping Up the Toro Blueberry
The Toro Blueberry bush is known for producing high yields with blueberries the size of nickles. Their self-pollinating ability means that you can have plenty of blueberries for your entire family every July with one bush. You’ll love everything from how easy they are to grow to their ornamental qualities to the deliciously sweet taste of these berries.
Have you ever grown a Toro Blueberry? If so, tell us about your experience with it in the comments section below! To read up on other blueberries, click here for our blueberry blog posts.