Two new blueberries added: O’Neal & GulfCoast

by Lala

It is a bit late in the season to be planting spring and summer fruiting things, but I could never pass up on adding new blueberry varieties to my collection. A good friend of mine happened upon a small nursery in Pretoria (Kilnerpark Nursery) that is crammed full of rare and exotic fruiting plants. He brought me an O’Neal & a GulfCoast blueberry, along with a custard apple tree / White Sapote (Casimiroa edulis) and a Bearss lime. I’ll make some posts about those later.

I am particularly excited about the O’Neal & a GulfCoast blueberries because they are well suited to warm climates, being Southern Highbush varieties. SO’Neal is said to be one of the best tasting Southern Highbush blueberries. I’m very happy about this because my Legacy blueberries seem to have shrunk while the Centurion blueberry I’ve planted between them shot up like a week with a ton of new growth. The GulfCoast berry is also said to produce large, great tasting berries. Both of these are early varieties so they’ll be able to pollinate each other.

In the United States, gardeners the warm states of California and Florida have great success with these varieties. Whenever I want to grow something I’ve read about on American forums, I always check if CA & FL gardeners are growing it too. We have similar zones and climates in certain areas, although Gauteng is not nearly as humid as coastal Florida. I think Florida is a good benchmark for SA gardeners in KwaZulu-Natal.

I now have the following blueberries:

Early season:

O’Neal (x1 – Southern Highbush)

GulfCoast (x1 – Southern Highbush)

Mid-season:

Legacy (x2 – Northern Highbush)

Tifblue (x1 – Rabbiteye)

Centurion (x1 – Rabbiteye)

Late season:

Brigitta (x2 -Northern Highbush )

I don’t think I will add more blueberries, unless I can find a Misty somewhere. Below are the two new plants with one of the established Brigittas.

In case you missed it in the previous posts about blueberries, check out my video on how to plant and grow blueberries in South Africa.

In the video I talk about the type of soil you need to grow blueberries, fertilizers and do a demonstration of how I re-pot my blueberry plants from a small nursery container, into a large terracotta pot that is its permanent home. Have fun.

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