Vaccinium / blueberry
Common Name: Blueberry
Blueberry flowers are attractive to many spring bees, including mining bees, bumble bees, mason bees, sweat bees and digger bees. The southeast blueberry bee (Habropoda laboriosa) is a digger bee, which specializes on blueberry.
The fruit provides important summer and fall forage for numerous species of game birds, songbirds and mammals.
For maximum flower and fruit, it is best to plant several cultivars (to allow for cross-pollination) in evenly moist, well-drained, acidic soil.
Eastern United States and Canada, and the Pacific Northwest
Many cultivars of blueberry (particularly of lowbush blueberry, V. corymbosum) are commercially available, and can be grown in most parts of North America, under adequately moist, acidic soil conditions.
3 to 8 feet, depending upon species
Full sun to partial shade
Wet to average
V. corymbosum (highbush blueberry) is a native North American shrub, widespread in eastern North America, which has been introduced extensively outside of its range for commercial blueberry production. It is the major blueberry producing species in commerce - more than 50 cultivars of this plant have been developed and are widely available in nurseries. Highbush blueberry is an upright, 6-12 foot tall shrub, whose common name refers to its relatively tall stature. White and pink, urn-shaped flowers typically appear April to June, depending upon region. The lovely red fall foliage of this plant makes it ideal for garden landscaping. As with other blueberry species, this plant is pollinated primarily by bees. It is visited by the southeast blueberry bee, as well as many species of Andrena (mining bees), sweat bees, mason bees and long-tongued bumble bees.
V. angustifolium (lowbush blueberry) is a low, straggling shrub, usually 6 inches to 2 feet tall and wide, and native to eastern Canada and the northeastern regions of the U.S. Small white, pink-tinged, bell-shaped flowers in spring are followed by edible blue fruit, relished by both wildlife and humans. This plant prefers moist, acidic soils, though in its native range it can occur in drier, open, conifer woods and sandy or rocky fields. It is pollinated primarily by digger bees, mason bees, mining bees and long-tongued bumble bees. Lowbush blueberry is commercially available and can be an attractive garden plant, producing glossy leaves in summer and deep maroon fall foliage.