How Big Do Blueberry Bushes Actually Get?

Looking to find out how big blueberry bushes get before you add them to your garden this season? While they can range in size depending on the plant, there are some size consistencies you can rely on. In this article, gardening expert Liessa Bowen looks at how big blueberry shrubs can get to help you properly plan for the space you'll need.

A large blueberry bush grows in the garden. It is full sized, around 2 feet in total height. The image is focused on the plant, the fruits, and the green foliage grown by the shrub.

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Blueberries are an easy fruiting shrub to grow in a home garden, edible landscape, and even in a large container. If you have never tried growing a fruit-bearing tree or shrub before, blueberries are a great place to start. With some advance preparation and a little regular maintenance, you can have blueberry success and enjoy sweet fruits every summer.

Before you start planting, it’s important to understand just how big blueberry bushes can get. Their size can vary based on a number of factors. Where you plan to place them will also matter. To make matters even more confusing, there are different varieties that also grow to different sizes.

Whether you are landscaping with blueberry shrubs, or are creating an edible hedge, blueberry bushes are extremely versatile and their size can match their versatility. Read on to find out how big blueberry shrubs will get, and how to pick the right variety for your garden space!

The Short Answer

Blueberries come in different varieties, and each will typically reach a different size. As a general rule, you can expect the following:

  • Lowbush Varieties: 6 inches up to 2 feet tall
  • Highbush Varieties: 5 to 9 feet tall
  • Hybrid Half-High Varieties: 3 to 6 feet tall
  • Rabbiteye Varieties: 6 and 12 feet tall

Keep in mind that pruning matters, and some larger varieties can be pruned to be smaller, you’ll just need to be more aggressive with your pruning schedule.

The Long Answer

There are many factors which will help determine how tall your blueberry bushes will be. The biggest determining factor will be which variety of blueberry bush you have. Each variety grows to a different height.

Other factors that influence plant height and width will be environmental conditions, overall plant health, and how you maintain the plant. We will look at some of these factors below and see how they affect plant growth and, ultimately, plant height. If pruned regularly, plants tend to be approximately as wide as they are tall.

Different Varieties & Their Sizes

Blueberries are native to eastern and central North America. Over the years, many varieties have been selectively bred and cultivated to perform well in the home garden as well as for commercial production.

There are many different cultivars, but I will focus here on the four main types of blueberries that you are most likely to encounter. Each type has a characteristic height range, and there will be several cultivars within each type.

Highbush Blueberry

An image of a highbush blueberry variety shrub. The shrub's branch is extending to the center of the image. On the shrub, you can see flowers blooming, of small white and small pink flowers.
This variety is divided into two groups: Northern Highbush, which reaches 6 to 12 feet, and Southern Haybush, which reaches 2 to 4 feet in height.

Highbush Blueberries are typically the most common commercially available blueberry plants. They are divided into two groups. Northern Highbush, which grows best in the northern United States and into Canada, and can grow to between 6 and 12 feet tall.

Southern Highbush, which grows best in the central and southern United States, can grow to between 2 to 4 feet tall.

Lowbush Blueberry

An image of a Lowbush variety growing in a field. You can see the green foliage is healthy, and there is a bowl of freshly picked fruits sitting in the middle of the field. The fruit is blue, and is fresh.
This type of blueberry is also called wild blueberry as it can grow up to 2 feet tall and prefers to grow in cooler climates.

Lowbush Blueberries are much smaller plants. They can be quite diminutive at just 6 inches tall, but can grow to between 1.5 and 2 feet tall.

If you have ever encountered blueberries growing in the wild, these are most likely a native Lowbush Blueberry. These plants tend to do best in cooler climates.

Rabbiteye Blueberry

An image of a Rabbiteye Blueberry growing in a garden. There is one branch of a shrub as the focal point of the picture. You can see the green leaves, surrounded by the early fruit that's pink in color.
This type of blueberry reaches 6 to 10 feet in height and prefers to grow in warmer climates.

Rabbiteye Blueberries can grow to be quite large. If left to grow freely, they can reach 6 to 10 feet in height. These blueberries are native to the southeastern United States and are, therefore, best suited to warmer climates.

The name “Rabbiteye” refers to the berries turning pink, like the eyes of a white albino rabbit, before they fully ripen and turn blue.

Hybrid Half-High Blueberry

A Hybrid Half-High Blueberry in the garden. The foliage is green, and the blueberries are just starting to fruit. They are green, and not yet ripe.
It is a medium sized plant that reaches 3 to 4 feet tall and is hardy in colder climates.

The Half-High Blueberry is a hybrid cross between Highbush and Lowbush Blueberries. As you might guess, they are a medium-sized plant, growing between 3 and 4 feet tall. They tend to be tolerant of colder climate conditions and are hardy even through harsh northern winters.

Sunlight

A fruiting blueberry shrub growing in sunlight. The fruits are the focal point, with some being blue, and some being green that are not yet ripe. They are sitting in the sunlight, casting a bright light on all of the fruit.
Blueberries can tolerate partial shade, but in full sun the berries will be much larger and juicier.

Blueberries love full sun. A plant grown in a sunny spot, with no competition from surrounding trees, will grow to its full height. Blueberries grown in shade will generally have fewer flowers, fewer fruits, and simply won’t thrive.

Blueberries will tolerate partial shade, but plants grown in full sun will be larger, fuller, and healthier. Similarly, don’t try to grow them in crowded conditions. Blueberries do well when planted in the same vicinity as other blueberries, but they don’t want to directly compete for space, light, water, or nutrients.

Nutrients

A gardener is holding some fertilizer in her hand and getting ready to put it on the base of a  shrub in the garden. The shrub is surrounded by mulch, which can help the fertilizer integrate into the plant and make it bloom.
It is recommended to apply an organic fertilizer to blueberries from time to time.

Nutrients affect the overall condition of a plant, which in turn affects the size of the plant. Blueberries benefit from some occasional gentle fertilization, but they do not like heavy feeding. A plant with either too few nutrients, or too much fertilization, will suffer.

Too few nutrients in the soil will cause a general failure to thrive. Overfertilization can burn the roots, which then causes the shoots and leaves to turn brown and die back. For your plant to reach full size and full production, you will need to focus on a light fertilizer application.

Soil Conditions

A gardener planting bushes in a small hole that is about one foot deep by one foot in width and height. The gardener is wearing gray cloth gloves, and is pulling the plant out of a black plastic pot.
Blueberries require well-drained soil with a pH of 4 to 5 that retains moisture.

Blueberries need the right soil conditions. Fertilizer is important, but general soil conditions are critical. Blueberries have a shallow root system. They need soil that is well-drained because they don’t like to stay wet. But they need a soil that retains some moisture because they also don’t like to be dry for extended periods.

Blueberries are also particular about soil acidity. They like acidic soils, with a pH between 4 and 5. In addition to low pH levels, soil should be loose and loamy and high in organic matter. It will be worth the time to prepare your soil well in advance of planting. Blueberries in ideal conditions will grow quickly and produce bigger and more abundant fruits.

Pruning and Trimming Practices

A gardener is pruning the dry and dead growth of a shrub in the garden. It appears to be a woman's hand, holding a pair of pruning shears getting ready to prune off the limbs of a dying shrub. The shears have yellow rubber or plastic around the base.
It is recommended to prune weak branches to focus energy on the healthiest branches for more fruit.

Environmental conditions aside, you can directly control the shape and size of your bushes by pruning. Not only does pruning keep your blueberry looking nice and tidy, you can also use it to increase berry production.

In general, trim off flower buds for the first two years to encourage the plant to establish strong roots and stems. After the first two years, prune during each dormant season. Pruning should remove all but the healthiest strongest stems.

This will temporarily reduce the overall size of your plant, but also generates a stronger fruiting response as fruits are concentrated on the healthiest branches.

Final Thoughts

Blueberries are wonderful fruiting shrubs for the home gardener. They do require some work for proper establishment and maintenance, but your efforts will be worth the effort when you are harvesting your own homegrown blueberries.

Now that you understand a little more about the different varieties, you’ll know how much room to plant for each type. Be sure to give each variety enough space to let them grow to their full potential.

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