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Darrow’s Blueberry

​​​​​​​​Darrow’s Blueberry

  • Common name: Darrow’s Blueberry, evergreen blueberry, scrub blueberry, southern highbush blueberry
  • Scientific name: Vaccinium darrowii
  • Family name: Ericaceae
  • Origin: Southeastern United States, including Florida
  • Height: 1 to 4 ft, average 2 ft
  • Width: 1 to 4 ft, average 2 ft
  • Growth: Moderate
  • Zone: USDA zones 8-10
  • Light needs: Full sun to part shade, preferably full sun
  • Salt tolerance: Low
  • Soil/pH/Texture: Well-drained, sandy soils. Requires acidic soil (pH less than 7)
  • Moisture: Mesic water needs. Soil should be kept somewhat moist, but Vaccinium darrowii can also tolerate dry soil.
  • Drought tolerance: Moderate, can handle periods of drought.
  • Pests/Diseases: Generally pest and disease free. Caterpillars and deer may chew on the leaves.
  • Growing conditions: It should ideally be grown in a sunny area with sandy, well-drained soil. Since it is native to the pine flatwoods of the southeast United States, it can handle periods of dryness. It requires acidic soil like that of its native environment. Although the bush itself is relatively small, it spreads and creates new bushes through rhizomes, which may form thickets up to 50 ft wide. Keep the area around it clear if you wish to have more bushes, or place other plants around it to limit its spread. It requires little maintenance or pruning. Fertilize only a little bit (if at all) because large amounts of fertilizer can damage it.
  • Characteristics: A small, round bush, its height may vary widely depending on the cultivar, with some varieties only reaching 1 ft tall while others may reach 4 ft. Leaves are small, lanceolate, and grow in whorls up the stem. The leaves have a unique coloration: leaves at the base of the stem are green, but the leaves near stem tips are a distinct, bright pinkish-purple. Flowers are pinkish-white and bell-shaped, growing on the ends of stems in bunches. Berries are round, blue-black, and edible.
  • Propagation: By stem cuttings and seeds.
  • Wildlife: Deer and caterpillars may eat the leaves. The flowers attract many varieties of pollinators. Many species of birds and mammals feed on the berries.
  • Facts: This plant is native to pine flatwood forests along the southeast coast of the United States. Many commercial blueberries that you may buy in grocery stores are hybrids between this species and the Northern Highbush Blueberry (Vaccinium corymbosum), along with other species. Darrow’s blueberry is one of the best blueberry species to grow in the southeast United States due to its heat and drought tolerance.
  • Designer considerations: It’s commonly used as a low hedge plant due to its short, compact stature and colorful foliage. It’s an excellent choice for wildflower or pollinator gardens, as its foliage, flowers, and fruit add color to the landscape while also attracting a variety of pollinators.


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