The blueberry is one of those fruits that seem so versatile; as long as your soil has the right pH to make the plant happy, a wide range of zone compatibilities mean that most gardeners can find a cultivar that works for their region. If you’ve ever looked into growing blueberries but the plethora of options seems daunting, don’t panic. Researching the ins and outs of every cultivar is a LOT of work, but there are many options that are cold-hardy to zone 4 and colder! I’ve grown many different blueberry types over the years, but below are the 5 types I’ve liked best in my blueberry garden.

Growing the Patriot Blueberry

I consider the Patriot Blueberry the gold standard (the blue standard?) in blueberries. The Patriot was one of the first three blueberry plants I ever bought, and I absolutely loved the plant. It survived even through deer browsing; high weed competition, and struggled along even while I was learning the ropes of blueberry plant care (achieving the proper soil acidity for blueberry plants is still a downfall of mine… finding high-acid soil amendments is such a pain).

At the end of the day, the Patriot is just an all-around great fruit. It’s big, its flavorful, and it’s a hardy shrub that won’t give up on you if you don’t quite know what you’re doing yet.

Furthermore, the Patriot Blueberry is extremely popular, easy to find in all different sizes both online and in brick-and-mortar local nurseries, and due to that popularity is relatively cheap! Can’t beat that!

Growing the Jersey Blueberry

Tough and hardy, I originally bought the Jersey as a pollinator companion to my Patriot Plants – and I was very impressed at how durable the plant was. It dealt with all the same pressures that the Patriot did, and on top of that, it was VERY heavily chewed back by deer before I could get the area fenced in.

You’d be amazed how many years I was able to procrastinate on that fence. I got very creative with buckets and barrels as deer browsing barriers in the meantime).

The Jersey was a great buy, and although I wouldn’t rate it quite as highly as the Patriot – I don’t personally think it is quite as prolific, and the berries maybe not quite so large – but it’s a great plant and I strongly recommend it. With the blueberry, there’s no need to get a “throwaway” pollinator plant – buy a pollinator that is of value in and of itself!

Growing the Razz Blueberry

I bought my first one of these from Jung and absolutely adored it. Billed as a more flavorful cultivar of blueberry than is commonly available, the story behind the Razz’s limited popularity is its inability to stand heavy processing. Since the berries are reportedly slightly softer than most other types, the Razz just isn’t suited commercial production. It won’t tolerate rough handling, and it consequently doesn’t make it to factory or supermarket shelves.

For the backyard gardener, commercial production just plain isn’t a concern! This highly flavorful (and yet very hardy) blueberry plant is a great addition to your blueberry stand. I you are looking to get into growing blueberries, let the Razz remind you of all the reasons you wanted to go homegrown instead of hyper-processed to begin with.

Growing the Chandler Blueberry

The biggest draw for me with the Chandler is definitely the size of the berry. I am not going to lie – sometimes the best-tasting fruits come in small packages, and the bigger fruits just tend to be watered-down and bloated versions of the smaller, more flavorful varieties. Not so with the Chandler. This is a nice, BIG berry, with a good flavor to go along with it.

Bigger berries mean less time to pick, destem if necessary, and process into pies, jams, jellies, and so much more. For the blueberry – which, at least in my climate, tends to ripen during the absolute hottest days of the summer – the ability to cut time out of harvesting is an absolute lifesaver.

The Chandler isn’t always guaranteed to zone four climates, but I’ve often seen it advertised in a few nursery catalogs as hardy to this zone. ALWAYS buy from a nursery that guarantees the cultivar to the zone you plan to grow it in. It’s not fair to request a refund if the plant isn’t able to survive in a zone it was never rated for.

Growing the “Pink Lemonade” Blueberry

I know, it’s weird. Blueberries ought to be blue, right? Well, ladies and gentlemen, there is no longer a color requirement to be called a blueberry. (Pinkberry just doesn’t have the same ring to it.)

The pink lemonade blueberry produces – you guessed it – pink berries. Treat it the same as you would a blueberry, and you’ll end up with a beautiful conversation piece that is thoroughly unique. 

You don’t need to buy a second pink blueberry to pollinate. The Pink Lemonade is self-pollinating (and if you want a pollinator to improve yields, the second bush doesn’t have to be pink). 

Read more about other uniquely colored fruits you can grow yourself (white blackberries? Yes!).

Growing the Top Hat Blueberry

Gardening in small spaces? Try the Top Hat blueberry! This dwarfing type is ideally suited to growth in containers. It’s tiny, and can be kept at just two feet high.

Like any other container-grown fruit plant, you don’t want to leave the pot exposed to subfreezing temperatures without any protection through the winter.

Why? Roots planted in the ground get the benefit of latent ground heat, plus a thick insulating blanket of snow on the ground to keep their roots from getting destroyed by the cold.

However, roots trapped above-ground in a pot are vulnerable, so make sure you have a tested, protected location to overwinter any container-grown blueberry bushes.

Growing the Perpetua Blueberry

Like the Top Hat, the Perpetua Blueberry bush will easily adapt to container growing – but unlike the Top Hat, the Perpetua will produce two crops of blueberries each year!

The two crops will ripen in summer and fall. If you are looking for a spring blueberry, this isn’t it; blueberries just plain aren’t that early. Try switching to growing honeyberries instead if you are looking for an early-spring fruit.

The Perpetua is nowhere near as small as the Top Hat is, so be prepared to replant into a larger pot as time goes on. The plant is a member of the “Bushel and Berry” product line, like the Baby Cakes dwarf blackberry and the Raspberry Shortcake dwarf red raspberry.

Growing the Duke Blueberry

Honestly, the Duke blueberry kind of gets lost in the shuffle. It’s an entirely decent bush – maybe not quite so large as the Chandler or so flavorful as the Razz – but it’s absolutely serviceable and steady. In fact, the sheer dependability of the Duke may be my favorite aspect.

I have literally planted and forgotten about the Duke; bought small, discounted rooted cuttings on a great sale, planted them in a section of the blueberry patch that maybe wasn’t quite ready for prime time… and then got distracted with my other fruit trees, bushes and brambles.

To my surprise, the Duke is a survivor. Despite the weeds, the poor soil readiness (blueberries are lovers of highly acidic soil), and some significant pest pressure, those unprepared, scrubby little plants were just fine at the end of the year. Win for me. Win for the plant. Win for everybody!

Growing the Bluecrop Blueberry

The Bluecrop doesn’t seem to enjoy the same popularity that some of the other varieties do (Patriot and Jersey seem to get the lion’s share of advertising space), and I really don’t understand why. It’s a great, tough shrub that produces very well in comparison to other varieties.

Bonus points? Because the Bluecrop isn’t as popular as some of the others, you are more likely to find it on sale towards the end of the season as clearance pricing starts to kick in. At least, that’s how it has worked for me!

Growing the Sweetheart Blueberry

The Sweetheart is not a dwarf variety – but like the Perpetua, you may get a second crop after the first summer-season blueberries are through.

The first crop ripens relatively early in the year for a blueberry, so when coupled with the late-season fruit, this is a great variety to extend the fruiting season on both ends.

Fair warning – a second crop is not guaranteed, and colder-climate gardeners are less likely to see a double crop than a warm-zone gardener is.

Growing the BlueRay Blueberry

The Blueray Blueberry isn’t all that different from the BlueCrop, except that the berries – although firm when first picked – tend to go soft faster than some other varieties (source: Indiana Berry as per 2023). This makes it less popular for commercial production and shipping across country.

This obviously is not an issue for the home gardener, so the Blueray blueberry is a great choice for backyard growing. Indiana Berry also notes that the Blueray is “more forgiving” of soil types than other blueberries, which is fantastic if your soil isn’t very acidic. Less remediation needed is a good thing!

Growing Other Cold-Hardy Blueberries

There are several other blueberry cultivars I’ve grown (Bluecrop, etc.), and each type has its own positives and minuses. However, for overall versatility and production power, these 5 blueberry cultivars are my hands-down favorites. If you are interested in growing blueberries, you can’t go wrong with one of the varieties above – and don’t forget you’ll need two for cross-pollination and a heavier fruit load!

Note: Keep in mind that even though a plant is rated cold-hardy enough to survive your zone’s temperature, it may still be damaged by heavy snow. Check out my article on how heavy snow can affect your fruit garden in both positive and negative ways.

This post was originally published in 2023. The post has since been updated to keep information and links current.

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