Who doesn’t love blueberries? Their tangy yet sweet flavor tantalizes the tastebuds, plus they go great on pies and cakes as well! Why opt for canned ones when you can grow them fresh in your garden? Here’s a complete guide on how to grow blueberries.
Blueberries are rich in antioxidants and nutrients. They pair well with greek yogurt, parfaits, granolas, and so much more. This fruit is versatile; you can grow it in a pot or directly in the garden soil.
They belong to the Vaccinium genus along with its relatives: huckleberry, cranberry, lingonberry, and bilberry.
Blueberries grow in bushes. Their color is more of a deep purple than blue, which transitions to a plump bright red during fall!
Here are 17 hidden health benefits of blueberries.
Table of Contents
Meet The Blueberry: Basic Knowledge and Origins
|Botanical Name||Vaccinium spp.|
|Plant Type||Perennial fruit|
|Size||Up to 1-8 feet in height and 3-10 feet in width|
|Native Area||North America|
|Temperature||65-80 degrees Fahrenheit|
|Soil Consistency||Sandy and well-drained|
|Common Pests||Powdery Mildew, Anthracnose, Twig Blight, Botrytis, Canker, Mummy berry|
How to Grow and Care for Blueberries
Exposure to at least 7 hours of sunlight is mandatory for the blueberries to survive. They need access to full sunlight for optimum growth.
The blueberry is an acidic fruit because it grows in acidic conditions. The soil pH ranges from 4.0-5.2. To keep the soil acidic, you can layer it with mulch.
If the soil pH keeps increasing (becomes more alkaline), then you need to purchase some garden sulfur to lower it again.
A sandy texture of the soil is preferred. However, if your garden has a clay-like soil texture, you will have to grow the blueberries in raised beds.
You will have to water your blueberry plant at least once a week. Deep-watering is recommended.
Blueberries can thrive well in colder (but not freezing) climates. Humidity should be kept high around the blueberries to prevent them from dehydration.
Skip on fertilizer for at least the first year.
Tips and Tricks for Growing Delicious Blueberries
When to Plant Blueberries?
Blueberries should be planted in early or mid-spring. However, some prefer to plant them during fall.
Where to Plant Blueberries?
If you’re planting them in pots, then you’re sorted. Just pick a spot where direct sunlight will fall.
You would want to choose a site that receives full sun exposure without any trees or plants blocking the sun rays if you’re planting your blueberries in the garden.
How to Plant Blueberries?
In a container, you will need to plant the blueberries at the same depth as they were in the nursery (so make sure to take note of that when you purchase one).
Usually, a container with a depth of 18 inches suffices. It should also have holes to maintain drainage.
Planting blueberries in a garden will require you to plant them in rows. Each blueberry bush has to be placed at a distance of 10 feet. This will ensure easy handling and efficient harvesting.
How to Grow Blueberries from Seeds?
Sowing the seeds during fall or spring is a good approach.
Sphagnum moss is the medium of choice for their growth. In a tray, spread out a layer of sphagnum moss and top it with the seeds, followed by another layer of Sphagnum moss.
Make sure to place the seeds in the freezer before sowing. At least 90 days in the freezer are required to break their dormancy.
You shall witness the sprouting of seedlings in a month or so.
Blueberry bushes do not need extensive pruning. The first two years are a breeze. They require little to no pruning in their early years (although I do recommend occasional pruning for maintenance and health).
Chop off the flowers that hinder the growth of the blueberries.
After a couple of years have passed, consider regular pruning during the early spring or late winter.
Any branches or stems that block the light to the bush’s center are to be removed.
Pruning 1/3rd of the bush will ensure the healthy growth of the blueberry bush.
Blueberries can be propagated by using the root-end cuttings. Here’s how:
Use your sterilized pruning shears or cutter to chop off 5 inches from the bottom of the root/branch.
Dip it into some rooting hormone and place it into a pot filled with moistened potting mix.
Place the pot in a place that receives direct sunlight.
In a few months, you will witness new leaves and roots sprouting.
Now it is ready to be placed in the garden.
Repotting should be considered when the roots pop out of the container or pot holes.
Opting for a larger container in the first place will save you from the hassle of repotting.
Ask Away: The FAQ Section
Blueberries are one of the most easy-going fruits to grow. Since they are low-maintenance, they don’t even require pruning until the first two years.
Once planted, a blueberry bush will take 9-10 years to mature. They have a long life and start offering large harvests within 2-3 years.
Blueberries are ready to harvest between June and August.