Blueberries are now grown all over Australia

The warmer areas of Australia grow Southern Highbush and Rabbiteye (low chill) varieties while the cooler areas and areas that experience frost grow Northern Highbush (high chill) varieties.

Blueberry varieties require differing amounts of chill hours for flower and fruit development. Chill hours are the cumulative number of hours where the temperature is below 7 degrees C. Some varieties are self-fertile yet all benefit from being planted nearby another cultivar from the same variety.

Evergreen varieties retain their leaves year round while deciduous varieties leaves will fall off over the winter months. Northern Highbush varieties are deciduous while Southern Highbush and Rabbiteye varieties are semi or fully evergreen.

Understanding Plant Breeders Rights (PBR)

Many newer blueberry varieties are covered by intellectual property protection known as Plant Breeders’ Rights (PBR) and can only be propagated or planted under licence from the owner of the PBR.

Huge investments of time, resources and expertise go into breeding new varieties of any plant and there is a legal protection mechanism available that protects your ‘invention’ so that it cannot be stolen and used by others outside of your licensing arranegments.


With firmer berries and thicker skin, the Rabbiteye variety is a hardy plant which can tolerate a multitude of climate conditions unlike the Northern and Southern Highbush. The Rabbiteye is a low chill, late season variety that requires 450-600 chill hours.

The name ‘Rabbiteye‘ comes from the resemblance of the ripening pink berries to a rabbit’s eyes.

NameBush descriptionFruit descriptionNotesRelated varieties
BrightwellVigorous, upright bush. Excellent bush shapeLarge fruit with reasonable flavour and good scar but has gritty texture and tough skin. Fruits with Premier several weeks earlier than Tifblue. Berries tend to have a gritty texturePlant with Premier Premier
CenturionNice shaped bush showing moderate vigourMedium sized, tasty, well displayed berries. The fruit is not as gritty as some rabbiteye but is inclined to be a little dark in colourGood yields
MaruBushes are upright with berries well exposedBerries are dark with a gritty texture and obvious calyx scar. Extremely late cropper with large very typical rabbiteye fruitNot recommended for cooler districtsNui
Powder BlueModerate vigourSmall/medium light blue fruit. Very similar in looks to Tifblue but slightly smallerPlant with TifblueTifblue
PremierModerate vigourMedium/ large fruit with excellent colour, taste and scarOne of the best eating rabbiteye blueberries. Plant with BrightwellBrightwell
RahiVigorous, upright growth habitA moderate cropper with outstanding fruit quality. Loose clusters of firm, very light blue fruit. Berries are prone to splitting after heavy rainMost notable feature is the keeping ability of fruit with good retention of fresh market quality after 4-6 weeks storageMaru
T102Vigorous spreading bushLarge firm fruit, good flavour. Berry is dark and somewhat flat with very big calyx. Can split after heavy rain. Ripens a week or so after TifblueVery heavy yields
TifblueBushy upright vigorous growthMedium/large light blue fruitReleased in America in 1955. Still widely grown and accepted as the benchmark for all rabbiteye varieties
Plant with Powderblue

Southern Highbush – Vaccinium corymbosum hybrid

These low chill varieties are specially bred for heat tolerance and low winter chilling. They produce unique foliage, bloom and plant characteristics to that of the Northern Highbush.

Southern Highbush varieties require between 250-600 chill hours and do not survive frosts. Plants live around 10 years.

NameBush descriptionFruit descriptionNotesRelated varieties
BiloxiBiloxi should be planted near Misty when possible for pollinationFruit is light blue and medium to largePlant with Misty

Biloxi has a habit of producing late spring flowering and a second harvest

LegacyBush is upright and open vigorousFruit is large, light blue and picks wellLegacy is a late season variety and performs best when receiving the maximum amount of chill hours for a Southern Highbush
MistyFruit is light blue, medium to large and has an excellent flavourMisty is best grown under the evergreen system with attention paid to leaf disease

Misty is an early season cultivar that has been shown to grow successfully in heavier soils

O’NealBush has medium vigour and a slightly spreading habit.Berries are of medium size, are firm and very sweet with an excellent scar O’Neal likes a pH value below 5.5

Very low chill requirement and seems to tolerate excessive heat

Sharpe BlueBush is tough and vigorousFruit has a pleasant flavour tailored to the Australian marketLow chill requirement yet berries may become soft in hot weather

Northern Highbush – Vaccinium corymbosum

Northern Highbush varieties are the most commonly grown around the world. They require between 750-1000 chill hours to satisfy dormancy.

These high chill plants are tolerant to frost. Bushes vary in height and density and are long lived; up to 30 years.

This deciduous shrub has brilliantly coloured fall foliage which is lost over the winter months.

NameBush descriptionFruit descriptionNotesRelated varieties
BluecropModerate vigour, but very productive, height to 2.1m. Bush requires excellent drainageFruit is light blue, very large and firm with good flavour. Flavour is best with the first few picks and deteriorates over the season. Flavour also better when warm days are followed by cool nightsHeavy yields of big, attractive berries, makes this variety very popular with some growers

BrigittaTall vigorous upright bush to 2.4mVery large, medium blue, firm fruit with good flavour. Excellent picking scar and keeping quality. Clusters can be tight and the bloom damaged easily. Fruit can drop easily so care when hand harvesting is required. High production

For pollination purposes it is best if planted near another variety

Ripens two weeks after Bluecrop with similar size berries.

High production An Australian developed variety Brigitta is now being widely grown world wide

Probably the best keeping and shipping variety available. A favourite with exporters

CarolineMedium size plant. Moderate vigour with good bush shapeFruits a week to 10 days after Brigitta with distinctive aromatic flavoured fruit. Fruit is large with the first few picks best and deteriorating as the season progressesAn Australian developed variety
DeniseMedium vigour and height to 1.5m, with slightly spreading growth habitFruit is very large and round, medium blue with red around stem end. Berries usually delicious but can lose flavour once very ripe. Also can tear at picking scarHeavy yields of big, attractive berries, makes this variety very popular with some growers
ElliottMedium vigour, semi upright bushSmall to medium, powder blue, firm, slightly tart berries. Berries come off in just a few picks. Berries soften with extreme temperatureExtremely heavy yields

Suits cooler districts

NorthlandSpreading, vigorous bush to 1.5mFruit hangs without dropping and gets progressively sweeter

Very productive with medium size, dark, sweet fruit

Northland performs exceptionally well in areas of extreme summer and winter temperatures

Large picking scar makes fruit unsuitable for wholesale market sales, but is an excellent variety for U-pick, local sales, and for processing

NuiThe spreading bush is slow to establish. Likes humus rich soils.Berries are extremely large, light blue, firm, outstanding flavour and superior keeping qualityModerate yieldsMaru
PuruUpright, sturdy bush of moderate vigourFruit is Bluecrop size, light blue, small recessed scar with exceptional highly aromatic flavourA favourite variety in JapanNui
RekaUpright vigorous growthMedium sized good flavoured firm berries. Ripening between Earliblue and BluecropHigh yields

Introduced from N.Z. Reka has displayed exceptional vigour under a wide range of soil conditions overseas, suggesting it should do well in most high chill areas of Australia

Suitable for the fresh market, U-pick and processing