At a Glance
Summer Sunset™ is a complex blueberry hybrid, mostly rabbiteye (V. ashei), that was released as an edible ornamental. Interest in edible ornamentals by both the home garden and landscape industry is growing. Consumers are increasingly attracted to edible plants that offer aesthetic appeal while providing them with the opportunity for garden fresh produce from their own gardens. Summer Sunset™ provides a blueberry with ornamental appeal that may well satisfy consumers.
The plant of Summer Sunset™ is vigorous, reaching a height of 4 feet with a canopy width of more than 2.5 feet on 3-year-old plants. It produces attractive flowers and an abundance of multi-colored berries as they ripen. Its foliage is non-glaucous (without a waxy coating). Foliage is attractive in the spring and summer, although nondescript in the fall with complete defoliation occurring in early winter. The plant has no notable disease or pest problems.
Berries are generally medium-sized and progress in color (based on the Royal Horticultural Society’s color chart) from RHS Yellow-Green 145 C, to RHS Orange-Red 34 C and N34 C, to RHS Red 47 C, to RHS Red-Purple 59 C, to RHS Black 202 A when fully ripe. Fruit are slightly tart when first ripe, and gradually get sweeter as they hang.
This variety ripens with early rabbiteye blueberry varieties Alapaha, Climax and Premier in the Southeastern U.S.
This variety has a chilling requirement of 500 to 550 hours 45o F (7o C) and will likely perform well in USDA hardiness zones 6b thru 9a. Companion varieties for cross pollination are recommended. Suggestions are Titan and Pink Lemonade.
Developed by D. Scott NeSmith of the University of Georgia, Summer Sunset™ is a 2010 joint release by the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, the University of Georgia Agricultural Experiment Stations and the United States Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service. This protected blueberry variety can be sold only by individuals licensed by the University of Georgia Research Foundation (UGARF) and Georgia Seed Development (GSD). USPP applied for.
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