The lifecycle of blueberries

27 Jul

I’ve done a lot of wacky things in life so far, but this is my first year as a blueberry farmer. I’m a bit of an amateur one, and I’m learning on the job.

My blueberry plants (two of them, quite small) started flowering in early May. I was confused but elated, blueberries being a summer crop and all. They eventually started forming beautiful bell-shaped flowers, which then shriveled up and fell off. My disappointment was bitter, and I almost cried.

To cut a long story short, they are meant to fall off. And in order to protect the delicate feelings of all amateur blueberry farmers everywhere, I’d like to go through the sequence of blueberry formation, illustrated in full colour.

The blueberries start forming their flowers at different times, depending on the variety. Mine are Sunshine Blue (Nellie Kelly brand), so they started in late Autumn. The flowers tend to form at the end of the branches. At first I thought they were just new leaves.

Slowly the flowers fill out and become very pale, maturing into beautiful, white bell-shaped flowers. This is what threw me – these flowers look like they would just turn blue, and voila – blueberries!

But instead, they shrivel and die. The flowers blow off in the wind, leaving a naked stalk. These once-proud beauties look suddenly undignified. A bit like a wet cat.

Then slowly (very, very slowly), the blueberries start to form at the end of the stalk where the flower used to be.

I’ve been inspecting my blueberries almost daily for quite a while, looking for any sign that they are forming. I really had my doubts, thinking that it was possible that they just hadn’t pollinated. It has really only been this week that they have started looking vaguely blueberry-ish.

Except this last one. I think he’s a goner.

5 Responses to “The lifecycle of blueberries”

  1. ali July 27, 2011 at 7:30 pm #

    Oh I am so glad that you told me the flowers fall off – you know I would have had heart failure!

    So are those little cup-like things with no flowers where the blueberries will come from?? How long does it take, do you know??

  2. L July 27, 2011 at 8:07 pm #

    In the second last picture you can see some of the cups filling up and starting to take on a blueberry shape. They will continue to get fatter, then eventually turn blue.

  3. Leanne Cole July 28, 2011 at 7:33 am #

    Blueberries sound exacting the same as Lilly Pilly’s form their berries the same way. Seems to take ages. Though I have to admit the berries on the Lilly Pilly are very pretty.

  4. Jen - Ava Pot Pie June 1, 2013 at 9:04 am #

    I know this an older post but I’m so glad I found it! It’s May, my new blueberry bush it’s flowering like crazy and I’m freaking out because they’re meant to be a summer fruit. Thanks for the reassurance 🙂


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