Southern Splendour

At a Glance

Southern Splendour is an early season southern highbush blueberry whose berries have highly desirable flavor and very good firmness. One of the most notable traits of Southern Splendour is the short fruit development period (FDP) from flowering to ripening.

Plants are vigorous and have a semi-upright bush habit with a narrow crown. Yield has been medium for Southern Splendour, but its excellent berry firmness and ease of berry detachment make it a possible candidate for machine harvesting for fresh and process markets.


Due to medium yields, Southern Splendour likely will be a special niche variety where early ripening, highly flavorful fruit is desirable. This variety has the potential for machine harvesting because of its firmness, concentrated ripening, and ease of detachment from the plant.

The new variety appears to have a chill hour requirement in the range of 450 to 500 hours, similar to that of other early season southern highbush blueberries.


This cultivar has very firm, crisp berries that have outstanding flavor. Berries are medium to medium-large in size (1.5 to 1.9 grams per berry) with medium light blue color and small, dry picking scars. Southern Splendour has a short fruit development period, flowering several days after Star and Rebel in south Georgia but ripening with them.


One of the most notable traits of Southern Splendour is the short FDP. The new variety flowers several days after each of the standard varieties, yet, it ripens with or before them. This delay in flowering can be beneficial in avoiding some spring frost and freeze damage.

Plants are self-fertile, but it is recommended that Southern Splendor be planted with Suziblue or another southern highbush blueberry cultivar with a similar time of flowering for cross-pollination.


Southern Splendour was tested in plantings at Alapaha and Griffin, Ga.


Southern Splendour, tested as TH-664, was selected in 2001 at the Georgia Experiment Station in Griffin, Ga., from a group of seedlings of the cross Reveille X Palmetto planted in a nursery in 1998.  Developed by Dr. D. Scott NeSmith of the University of Georgia, Southern Splendor is a 2010 release by the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and the University of Georgia Agricultural Experiment Stations. This protected blueberry variety can be sold only by individuals licensed by the University of Georgia Research Foundation (UGARF) and Georgia Seed Development (GSD).


D. Scott NeSmith

D. Scott NeSmith

Dr. D. Scott NeSmith’s blueberry research program at the University of Georgia emphasizes new variety development as well as cultural management of blueberries for the southeastern United States.

Since taking over the UGA blueberry breeding program in 1998, Dr. NeSmith has released and patented 10 new commercial blueberry varieties and two ornamental blueberry varieties. His breeding program is now considered one of the most active low- to-mid chill blueberry programs in the world.  He joined UGA in 1990.

Dr. NeSmith has expanded UGA’s program globally through collaborative projects throughout the U.S. and many other countries including South Africa, Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, Japan, Europe, Morocco, Australia, New Zealand, South Korea, Peru, and Mexico. Much of his cultural management research has been with growth regulators in blueberries.  He also conducts experiments on plant establishment, pollination, and post-harvest quality.

Dr. NeSmith is a member of the American Society for Horticultural Sciences (ASHS) and the International Society for Horticultural Sciences.  He is a past President of the Southern Region ASHS and has served as an Associate Editor for the ASHS journal, HortScience. 

Dr. NeSmith has received the D.W. Brooks Excellence in Research Award from UGA and in 2011 was selected as a Fellow of the American Society for Horticultural Sciences.  He has published more than 250 research papers, including more than 97 in refereed journals, and has received two awards for outstanding publications.

He graduated from the University of Georgia with B.S. and M.S. degrees. He obtained his Ph.D. from Michigan State University.


  • Department of Horticulture
  • University of Georgia, Griffin Campus