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A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Thursday - April 15, 2010

From: Round Rock , TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Edible Plants
Title: What blueberry cultivar is best for Austin, TX.
Answered by: Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

How do I know what blueberry bush to purchase for the best tasting variety that will grow in the Austin, TX area?

ANSWER:

Most of the commercially produced blueberries (Vaccinium spp.) known ot American consumers are grown on plants native to the eastern 1/3 of the US.  Parts of the Rocky Mountain states, the Pacific Northwest and most of Canada are also known for their own beloved indigenous species of blueberries and the closely-related huckleberries. 

 

No blueberrry species are native to nor suitable for Austin.  Unfortunately, the soil and climate in Austin, Texas is not conducive to growing blueberries.  One characteristic that every species of North American Vacciniums has in common, whether it's blueberries, huckleberries, cranberries, lingonberries or bilberries is its requirement for acid soil.  The soil in Austin, being very, very alkaline is nearly impossible for blueberries.  It is possible to amend the soil to make it more acid, but keeping the soil from reverting to its natural, basic state requires ongoing effort that you will probably find to be too much trouble.

 

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