|Cavendishia tarapotana var. gilgiana in the Fuqua Orchid Center|
Blueberries and Rhododendrons belong to the same family, the Ericaceae. Like many of the tropical blueberries, Cavendishia tarapotana var. gilgiana is an epiphytic shrub, and a gigantic one--each of our two plants measures about 6' from tip to tip. It is native to Colombia and Ecuador. Tropical blueberries produce fruits that are rich in antioxidants, but not so rich in flavor. Not bad, just bland. Some enterprising hybridizer may take them in hand one day, but I think they are wonderful just as they are.
Tropical blueberries are easily propagated by cuttings of the current year's growth 5-6" long, using either Rootone or a 10% solution of Dip 'n Grow. Our cuttings are rooted under fog in a cutting mix of 3 parts perlite to one part peatmoss. They root in about eight weeks. We grow our plants in an mix that we use for our tropical epiphytes. It consists of milled sphagnum, fine fir bark, charcoal and tree fern fiber. A mix of equal parts fine fir bark, charcoal and peatmoss works equally well.
*syn. Cavendishia gilgiana