Blueberry varieties: the best types of blueberries for the garden


With a passion for growing installed at an early age, I have always been happiest outdoors in nature. After training as a professional gardener and horticultural therapist, I currently run horticultural therapy and community kitchen gardens in the UK, helping others access the many physical and mental health benefits of growing vegetables, fruit and plants.

Favourite fruit: apples and pears
Favourite vegetable: asparagus

With their sweet and juicy nature, blueberries are one of the best treats of summer. However, with so many different types of blueberries available it can be difficult to know which variety is best for your garden.

Blueberries growing on a bush
With recent breeding programs, there are now many blueberry varieties to choose from [Photo: Nadya So/]

Not only are blueberries (Vaccinium) mouth-wateringly delicious, but they are also full of antioxidants and are a perfect way of helping you achieve one of your five a day. Retailers commonly break down blueberries for sale into early, mid and late-season types. However, some blueberry types are also self-pollinating, which makes them ideal for growing on their own and others are more suitable for growing in containers. Read on to learn more about the best blueberry varieties for growing in your garden.

What types of blueberries are there?

Although native to North America, it was not until the early 20th century that blueberries began to be cultivated for mass production. Today there are many types of blueberry plants available for both commercial and domestic cultivation including the highbush, half-high, lowbush, Rabbiteye and southern highbush. Here in the UK, the highbush blueberry (Vaccinium corymbosum) is perhaps the most widely grown, as it is more suitable for colder climates. Interestingly, a new consortium of European countries has recently come together to breed new blueberry plants that will be more appropriate for our European growing conditions.

Blueberries being picked by hand
The most commonly grown blueberry is the highbush type, which is better suited to colder climates [Photo: Stone36/]

The best blueberry varieties

Even the best blueberry cultivars will struggle if grown in the wrong conditions or soil. Whether grown directly in the ground or containers, blueberries are ericaceous plants and require an acidic and free-draining soil with a pH of 4.5 to 5.5 to thrive. If your garden’s soil is neutral, you can add sulphur several months before planting blueberries to lower the soil’s pH or grow them in specifically ericaceous compost. For example, you can use our Plantura Organic Ericaceous Compost for growing blueberries as it has the correct pH for them, is nutrient-rich and is low in peat.

Tip: with a mixture of early, mid and late-season varieties, you could be picking your own blueberries all season long from early July until the end of August or even into September.

Organic Ericaceous Compost, 40L
Organic Ericaceous Compost, 40L
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  • Perfect for acid-loving plants such as hydrangeas, rhododendrons, blueberry bushes, azaleas & more
  • Ensures all-round healthy plants with lush blooms and aromatic berries
  • Peat-reduced & organic soil: CO2-saving composition

Early-season blueberry varieties

Early-season blueberries tend to crop from early July and include:

  • ‘Bluetta’: one of the earliest highbush blueberries to ripen, harvestable in July. Compact growth with large berries and a superb flavour.
  • ‘Duke’: widely grown for commercial purposes. Flowers later than most blueberries, but ripens early in July or August, making it ideal for colder areas. Consistently heavy yields of light blueberries with a semi-sweet flavour.
‘Duke’ blueberries on a bush
‘Duke’ is an early fruiting blueberry that can often be found in supermarkets [Photo: Ritvars/]
  • ‘Grover’: a new variety with a medium-sized habit. Large dark blueberries are ready to pick in early August. Heavy cropping.
  • ‘Patriot’: a tall and hardy variety with vigorous growth. High-quality dark blue fruits ripen in mid to late July. Good disease resistance against root rot.
  • ‘Sunshine Blue’: this compact dwarf blueberry is ideal for growing in containers. Heavy yields of small, yet flavoursome berries from mid-July. Self-fertile.
  • ‘Weymouth’: a vigorous and high-yielding blueberry. Medium to large dark blueberries are produced in early August. Sweet tasting.

Mid-season blueberry varieties

With berries ripening around the beginning of August, mid-season blueberry types include:

  • ‘Berkley’: a large and vigorous cultivar with an upright form. Large light blueberries with a sweet flavour. Ripens in early August.
  • ‘Blue crop’: an upright bush with strong growth. Firm blueberries with an excellent flavour, ripening from early to mid-August. High yielding, often used in commercial production.
Ripe ‘Blue crop’ blueberries
’Blue crop’ blueberries are large with an excellent flavour [Photo: Algirdas Gelazius/]
  • ‘Collins’: compact habit suitable for container-growing. Impressive yields with an excellent flavour. Good autumnal foliage colour.
  • ‘Ivanhoe’: vigorous growth with an upright habit. High yields of medium size dark blueberries that are firm. Ripens around mid-August.
  • ‘Spartan’: upright habit and large dark blueberries with a sweet and tangy flavour. Late flowering. Ripens over a long period from late July into August. Impressive yields of good quality berries.

Late-season blueberry varieties

Late-season blueberries tend to ripen late in the summer and produce fruits ready to harvest from August to September. Read our article on picking blueberries to find out more on when to harvest the fruits and their health benefits.

  • ‘Brigitta’: a large blueberry with an upright form. Light blue firm fruits ripen from the middle of August onwards. Ideal for freezing as well as eating fresh.
  • ‘Chandler’: vigorous and upright habit. Impressive harvests from August until September of very large fruits with an excellent flavour.
Freshly picked ‘Chandler’ blueberries
Blueberry ‘Chandler’ is known for its very large fruits that ripen later in the season [Photo: vladdon/]
  • ‘Dixi’: a mid to late-season variety that ripens from August to September. Medium-sized and suitable for container growing. Heavy yields of light blue medium-sized fruits. Intense flavour. 
  • ‘Goldtraube’: a vigorous and upright blueberry plant with berries that ripen in late August. Large and firm dark blue fruits. Great flavour.
  • ‘Jersey’: an older variety that is widely grown. Very large dark blueberries ripen from late August. Good cold tolerance. Attractive foliage in the autumn.
  • ‘Pink Lemonade’: an unusual blueberry bred in America. Medium-sized sweet berries that are pink in colour rather than the typical blue. Ripens in August. Self-fertile.

Tip: fertilising blueberry plants is key to ensuring the best harvests. Discover more about how and when to fertilise blueberries in our specialist article.

Some blueberries are listed as self-fertile. However, ‘Sunshine Blue’ is often regarded as the only truly self-fertile plant that regularly produces a good crop when grown on its own. Other blueberries will often produce a poor crop if grown individually, to ensure the best harvests it is advisable to grow two or more varieties together.

Goldtraube blueberries on a bush
Blueberry ‘Goldtraube’ is a late-season variety that ripens around late August [Photo: Nahhana/]

With their often vigorous growth, you should prune blueberries annually to keep them healthy and productive. Find out more in our article on when and how to prune blueberries.