How to Grow and Care for Pink Lemonade Blueberry Shrubs

Welcome this vibrant, sweet, bright pink fruit to your garden

Pink lemonade blueberries in a garden

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The Pink Lemonade (Vaccinium 'Pink Lemonade') is a unique blueberry bush hybrid called rabbiteye. There are four types of blueberry plants: northern highbush, southern highbush, rabbiteye, and lowbush. Northern highbush blueberries are hardy in USDA Zones 4 through 7 and bear large fruits. Southern highbush blueberries bear large fruits while hardy in Zones 7 through 10. Lowbush blueberries, bearing smaller fruits, have more of a groundcover growth habit and are popular in colder zones. Rabbiteye varieties are more compact and can be grown in most zones except those with extreme temperatures.

Hardy in Zones 4 through 8 and sometimes 9, pink lemonade blueberry bushes produce well in cold climates and areas with mild winters. In spring, pinkish white, bell-shaped flowers attract butterflies and form pale green berries. While all "blueberries" are actually pale pink before they ripen, this variety matures a pinkish-red in mid-summer. The larger crop typically comes mid to late summer, followed by a smaller crop steadily through October. Many gardeners and fruit lovers say the pink lemonade blueberries taste twice as sweet as regular blueberries, both of which are high in antioxidants. Glossy foliage turns golden yellow to bright orange to deep burgundy color in fall, giving way to reddish-brown twigs in winter. It grows 4 to 5 feet tall and wide.

Botanical Names Vaccinium 'Pink Lemonade', Blueberry 'Pink Lemonade', Pinkberry, Vaccinium 'Pink Sapphire', Vaccinium 'Pink Fizz'
Common Name  Pink lemonade blueberry shrub
Plant Type Hybrid blueberry cultivar, semi-evergreen
Mature Size  4 to 5 ft. tall, 4 to 5 ft. wide
Sun Exposure  Full Sun, Partial Sun
Soil Type  Sand, Loam
Soil pH  Acidic (pH 4.5-5.5)
Bloom Time  Late spring
Flower Color  Pinkish white
Hardiness Zones  4-9, USDA
Native Area  North America

Pink Lemonade Blueberry Shrub Care

Pink Lemonade Blueberry can be grown as a hedge, as a specimen in containers, or as a less formal shrub in native plant gardens or woodlands. Plant in mixed shrub borders among Rhododendrons and Azaleas, which share similar needs for acidic soil, It grows well in city gardens, cottage gardens, or coastal gardens. While blueberries are self-fertile, cross-pollination produces larger berries and larger yields. If possible, plant more than one variety that will bloom at the same time.

Light

Give this shrub full sun to part shade.

Soil

Pink lemonade blueberry bushes prefer well-drained, organically rich, acidic soil. with a ph of 4.5 to 5.5. Plant in a sheltered site and add four to six inches of good organic mulch to retain moisture and cool the roots. Pine needles, oak leaves, and cotton seed meal are all good choices to help acidify the soil. Avoid areas where water might collect after rain, or plant the shrub on a mound to encourage the good drainage needed by the plant's shallow, fibrous roots. If the soil is not naturally acidic, mix one cubic foot of peat moss into the planting site.

If you plan to grow your shrub in a pot, choose a good size pot starting out to allow room for the roots. Use a high quality soiless mix and add sand and/or peat moss. You can also add compost right into the potting mix. You can bring the pots indoors or move them into a garage or outdoor building if cold temperatures become extreme. If left outdoors to overwinter add leaves and other organic mulch to the pot to protect the roots.

Water

Water regularly, two to three times per week in the first season after planting. Then water at least once per week unless there is heavy rain. Water more often in extreme heat or drought. Keep in mind that plants grown in pots will require more frequent watering.

Fertilizer

Lightly fertilize each spring. Use the minimum recommended amount listed on the container of fertilizer for acid-loving plants. Pink lemonade blueberries grow especially fast in soils rich in organic matter and need just a little fertilizer if compost is added to the soil surface every year.

Temperature and Humidity

All rabbiteye blueberries can be grown in colder climates. Pink lemonade blueberry shrubs only require 300 hours of temperature below 45 degrees Fahrenheit for best growth, while other rabbiteyes require about 500-1000 hours.

Harvesting

Harvest pink lemonade blueberries when the fruit is dark pink and starts to somewhat soften.

Pruning

As needed, prune in late winter starting in the third year after planting. Cut back the branches to about half their length. Remove any dead or diseased wood. After harvest, cut back bushes to maintain a height of four to five feet.

Propagating Pink Lemonade Blueberry Shurbs

Softwood cuttings, four to six inches long, can be taken in late spring. Semi-ripe cuttings can be taken in early summer.

Common Pests and Diseases

Fortunately, there are no serious pest or disease issues. Even so, keep an eye out for vine weevil, powdery mildews, and chlorosis (yellowing of leaves occurring in high pH soils, signaling manganese and iron deficiencies). Birds and chipmunks do love this fruit and rabbit and deer will damage tender stems and leaves. If animals become an issue, cover and stake netting over the shrub especially as the fruit starts to ripen.