Your Guide to Growing and Caring for Rabbiteye Blueberries

Rabbiteye blueberries, scientifically known as Vaccinium virgatum, have a rich history stretching back to the southeastern United States. These resilient plants are celebrated not only for their delicious fruit but also for their adaptability and ornamental value. Whether you're a seasoned gardener or a novice green thumb, growing Rabbiteye blueberries can be a rewarding experience. In this comprehensive guide, we'll delve into the fascinating world of Rabbiteye blueberries, offering insights on how to cultivate and care for these remarkable plants.

The Benefits of Growing Rabbiteye Blueberries

Nutritional Powerhouse

Rabbiteye blueberries are not just a delightful treat for your taste buds; they are also packed with essential nutrients. These berries are rich in vitamins C and K, fiber, and antioxidants. Regular consumption can boost your immune system, support healthy digestion, and contribute to overall well-being. For health-conscious individuals, growing your own blueberries ensures you have a fresh, organic supply right at your fingertips.

Aesthetic Appeal

In addition to their nutritional value, Rabbiteye blueberry plants add a touch of beauty to any garden. Their lush green foliage and clusters of white, bell-shaped flowers in spring are visually appealing. By summer, these flowers give way to vibrant blue berries that contrast beautifully with the green leaves. In autumn, the foliage turns a striking red, offering year-round visual interest.

Environmental Benefits

Rabbiteye blueberries are not only beneficial to humans but also to the environment. These plants support local ecosystems by providing nectar for pollinators like bees and butterflies. Additionally, they can enhance soil health through their deep root systems, which help prevent erosion. By cultivating Rabbiteye blueberries, you're contributing to biodiversity and promoting a healthier environment.

Varieties We Carry

  • Brightwell

  • The Brightwell variety is known for its vigorous growth and high yield. It produces medium to large berries that are firm and flavorful, making them perfect for fresh eating, baking, or preserving. The Brightwell plants are also highly adaptable, thriving in a range of soil types and climates, which makes them a popular choice among gardeners.

  • Premier

  • Premier is an early-season Rabbiteye blueberry variety that sets the standard for exceptional taste and quality. These berries are large and sweet, with a pleasant texture that makes them a favorite for snacking and culinary uses. The Premier plants are robust and hardy, with excellent resistance to diseases, ensuring a bountiful harvest each season.

  • PowderBlue

  • The PowderBlue variety stands out for its distinctive, powdery-blue berries that are as stunning as they are delicious. This late-season producer yields berries that are medium to large, with a slightly tart flavor that compliments a variety of dishes. PowderBlue plants are known for their resilience and lower chilling requirements, making them an excellent choice for warmer climates.

    Preparing for Planting

    Choosing the Right Location

    Selecting the perfect location is crucial for the successful growth of Rabbiteye blueberries. These plants thrive in full sun, requiring at least six hours of direct sunlight each day. Ensure the site has good air circulation to minimize the risk of fungal diseases. Additionally, choose an area with well-drained soil to prevent waterlogging, which can harm the roots.

    Soil Preparation

    Rabbiteye blueberries prefer acidic soil with a pH range of 4.5 to 5.5. Before planting, conduct a soil test to determine the pH level and nutrient content. If necessary, amend the soil with organic matter like compost or peat moss to improve its structure and acidity. Adding sulfur can help lower the pH if the soil is too alkaline. Proper soil preparation sets the foundation for healthy plants.

    Planting Tips

    When planting Rabbiteye blueberries, space the plants about 6 to 8 feet apart to allow for proper air circulation and growth. Dig a hole twice as wide and deep as the root ball, and mix some organic matter into the backfill soil. Place the plant in the hole, ensuring that the root crown is level with the soil surface. Gently firm the soil around the roots and water thoroughly.

    Caring for Rabbiteye Blueberries


    Consistent watering is essential for rabbiteye blueberries, especially during the first two years of growth. These plants have shallow root systems, making them susceptible to drought stress. Water deeply once or twice a week, depending on rainfall and soil moisture levels. Mulching around the base of the plants helps retain moisture and regulate soil temperature.


    Rabbiteye blueberries benefit from regular fertilization to support their growth and fruit production. Use a balanced fertilizer formulated for acid-loving plants, such as those designed for azaleas or rhododendrons. Apply the fertilizer in early spring before new growth begins and again in late spring. Avoid over-fertilizing, as excessive nutrients can harm the plants.

    Pruning Techniques

    Pruning is essential for maintaining the health and productivity of Rabbiteye blueberries. During the first two years, focus on removing any dead or weak branches to encourage strong growth. Once the plants are established, prune annually in late winter or early spring. Remove old, unproductive canes and thin out crowded branches to improve air circulation and light penetration. Proper pruning enhances fruit quality and reduces the risk of disease.

    Harvesting and Storage

    When to Pick

    Rabbiteye blueberries typically ripen from late spring to early summer, depending on the variety and climate. The berries are ready to harvest when they turn a deep blue color and easily detach from the stem with a gentle tug. Taste a few berries to ensure they are sweet and fully ripe before harvesting the entire crop.

    How to Pick

    To harvest Rabbiteye blueberries, gently grasp the base of the berry and twist it off the stem. Use both hands to speed up the process and minimize damage to the plants. Handle the berries with care to avoid bruising, as they are delicate and can spoil quickly. Collect the harvested berries in shallow containers to prevent crushing.

    Preserving the Harvest

    Fresh Rabbiteye blueberries are a delightful treat, but they can also be preserved for later use. Store the freshly picked berries in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. For long-term storage, freeze the berries on a baking sheet before transferring them to airtight containers. Frozen blueberries retain their nutritional value and can be used in smoothies, baked goods, and other recipes year-round.

    Troubleshooting Common Issues


    Several pests can affect Rabbiteye blueberries, including aphids, spider mites, and blueberry maggots. Regularly inspect your plants for signs of infestation, such as distorted leaves or webbing. Use insecticidal soap or neem oil to control minor infestations. For severe cases, consider introducing beneficial insects like ladybugs or lacewings to keep pest populations in check.


    Rabbiteye blueberries are susceptible to various diseases, including powdery mildew, root rot, and mummy berry. To prevent these issues, practice good garden hygiene by removing fallen leaves and debris. Ensure proper spacing and air circulation to reduce humidity levels around the plants. If necessary, apply fungicides according to the manufacturer's instructions to manage fungal infections.

    Environmental Factors

    Environmental factors like extreme temperatures, drought, and poor soil conditions can stress Rabbiteye blueberries. Protect the plants from harsh weather by providing shade during intense heat and covering them during frost. Maintain consistent soil moisture and mulch around the plants to regulate temperature and retain water. Conduct regular soil tests to monitor nutrient levels and adjust fertilization accordingly.

    Growing and caring for Rabbiteye blueberries can be a fulfilling and rewarding experience. These resilient plants offer numerous benefits, from their nutritional value to their environmental contributions. By understanding their needs and providing proper care, you can enjoy bountiful harvests of delicious blueberries year after year.

    Remember, the key to success lies in choosing the right location, preparing the soil, and maintaining consistent care through watering, fertilizing, and pruning. Keep an eye out for common pests and diseases, and take proactive steps to address any issues that arise.

    Ready to embark on your blueberry-growing journey? With dedication and knowledge, you'll soon be savoring the sweet rewards of homegrown Rabbiteye blueberries. Happy gardening!