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Virtues: Midnight Cascade is the first blueberry cultivar suitable for hanging baskets, thanks to its unique habit. This compact blueberry bush produces trailing stems, making it a perfect match for tall containers or suspended pots. Meanwhile it still offers all the ornamental and edible qualities we expect from a blueberry bush.
Common name: Midnight Cascade blueberry
Botanical name: Vaccinium 'FC12-187'
Exposure: Full sun
Flowers/fruit: Typical of a blueberry, this plant produces small, bell-shaped blossoms in the spring. They are white. The fruit ripens beginning in midsummer, turning a deep blue. The flavor has hints of vanilla. The blueberries are considered medium in size.
Foliage: This is a deciduous blueberry with medium green, long oval leaves. The foliage takes on deep red color in the fall.
Habit: Midnight Cascade blueberry grows 18 to 24 inches tall and wide, with stems that arch slightly upward and then spill down. If it is grown in the ground instead of a container, the stems will trail along the ground, making a small shrubby ground cover.
Origin: This blueberry cultivar was first introduced by Bushel and Berry for the 2021 growing season.
How to grow it: Plant Midnight Cascade blueberry in full sun. (It can cope with part sun, but flowering and subsequent fruiting will be best in full sun.) As typical of a blueberry, it prefers well-drained soil that is on the acidic side. A potting mix labeled for camellias or azaleas will suit blueberries grown in containers; similarly, a fertilizer developed for acid-loving plants works for this shrub. Apply it according to package directions once in early spring. Provide moderate water through the growing season, especially as the plant is getting established in its first year. To prune, remove dead or damaged stems in winter. USDA Zones 5–9.
Note: Blueberries require a certain amount of winter cold weather to produce fruit. This is measured in "chill hours." Chill hours are times when the temperature remains between 32 and 45 degrees (F). Different cultivars have different requirements. The cultivar Midnight Cascade requires 450 chill hours, making it a low-chill variety. (For comparison, high-chill varieties, which need an overall cooler winter, require more than 800 chill hours.) If you grow Midnight Cascade in a hanging basket or container, be sure that its winter placement will provide the chill hours it would receive in the open garden. This is of special note in the colder end of its growing range (Zones 5 and 6), where gardeners might consider wintering the container indoors. The best approach may be to simply bury the pot up to its rim in the garden and dig it up again in spring. This will protect the plant roots and the container while still ensuring dormancy.
Image courtesy of Bushel and Berry
Recommended related reading:
Get ideas for incorporating more fruiting plants into all areas of the garden with Landscaping with Fruit by Lee Reich.
Learn how to choose, plant, tend and enjoy blueberries and more with the advice farmer Gene Logsdon provides in Successful Berry Growing.