Vaccinium corymbosum 'Atlantic'
Common Name: highbush blueberry
Type: Fruit
Family: Ericaceae
Zone: 5 to 8
Height: 6.00 to 8.00 feet
Spread: 6.00 to 8.00 feet
Bloom Time: May
Bloom Description: White
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium to wet
Maintenance: Medium
Suggested Use: Hedge
Flower: Showy
Leaf: Good Fall
Attracts: Birds, Butterflies
Fruit: Showy, Edible

Noteworthy Characteristics

Vaccinium corymbosum, known as highbush blueberry, is native to eastern North America where it typically grows in moist woods, bogs, swamps and low areas. It is an upright, deciduous shrub that typically grows 5-8’ tall.

Genus name comes from an ancient Latin name apparently derived from a prehistoric Mediterranean language.

Specific epithet refers to the flowers and fruits being in a corymb.

'Atlantic' typically grows 5-8' tall (less frequently taller), but is arguably more manageable as a fruit crop when pruned to 6' or less. Dainty, waxy, bell-shaped, white flowers appear in May. Flowers are followed by light blue blueberries (to 1/2" diameter) which ripen in mid-season (mid to late July in USDA Zone 5). Ovate, dark green leaves (to 3.5" long) turn attractive shades of red in fall. Reddish stems can be attractive in winter. 'Atlantic' reportedly grows well in Missouri.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems. Birds love the fruit, so plants may need to be covered with netting as the fruit begins to ripen in order to protect the crop. Chlorosis (yellowing of leaves) may occur in high pH soils. Potential but infrequent disease problems include stem blight, root rot, anthracnose, cane cankers, mildew and botrytis. Blueberry maggot, cherry fruit worm and spotted wing drosophila may attack the fruit. Mummy berry is a fungal disease that causes the berries to shrivel and drop.

Garden Uses

Useful for ornamental purposes (flowers, fruit, quality summer foliage and fall color) as well as for fruit production (blueberries). It is effective in shrub borders or as part of less formal shrub plantings in areas such as native plant gardens or open woodlands. Particularly effective in conjunction with rhododendrons and azaleas which share similar acidic soil requirements. Also makes an excellent hedge with the added benefits of fruit which can be harvested or left for the birds.