How to Grow Blueberries
Blueberry plants can produce fruits for decades. Learn how to plant and maintain them the right way so they will reward you with delicious berries for years to come.
Step 1: Planning + Placement
Cross-pollination is very important for growing blueberries, so you need at least two plants at a distance of 6 feet. You can plant closer if you want to create a hedge. Make sure to buy varieties in the same family. If you don't have room for large blueberry bushes, some dwarf varieties are perfect for containers; they look great on patios or in small spaces and some modern varieties don’t require a second plant for pollinating.
Step 2: Prepare the Soil
Choose a bright spot with 6-8 hours of sun per day. Blueberries thrive in acidic, well-drained soil. Use a soil test kit to determine the pH of the soil. If your soil is not acidic enough, you can amend it when planting a blueberry bush.
Step 3: Dig Hole
Dig a hole 2-1/2 feet wide and 1 foot deep. Add some soil back into the bottom. Place the blueberry bush in the hole at ground level.
Step 4: Amend Soil
Place the bush in the hole and surround it with peat moss, garden soil and compost. Adding these extras will ensure your blueberry bush will have rich nutrients. Mix in acidifier if your pH tests show your acid level is higher than 5. Pack the hole with the remaining ground soil. Cross-pollination is very important, so you need to add at least one more bush planted about 6 feet apart.
Planting in Containers
Make sure to use a weatherproof container that won’t crack during winter’s heave and thaw. If you’re in a climate that stays below freezing for much of the winter, you may have to move your blueberry containers to a protected area. Fill the container about halfway with soil and then place the plant on top. Loosen the roots before placing the plant in the pot. Add some peat moss and compost. Keep the top of the soil at the same level as it was in the original pot. Sprinkle in a little acidifier to keep the pH level low. Tamp down the soil mixture then add a layer of mulch on top to help keep the soil moist. Containers dry out quickly, so it’s important to routinely water. However, blueberries have a shallow root system so they can be overwatered. They prefer a shallow watering and not a deep soaking. Blueberries love the sun, but in the hottest part of the summer, you may have to move them to a spot where they get afternoon shade to prevent them from getting scorched.
The roots of blueberry bushes love moisture through the growing season. A soaker hose on a timer will give the best results. Cover the hose and surrounding area with two to four inches of pine bark mulch to help keep moisture in and weeds out. Blueberry bushes in containers need to be watered more often.
When the fruit ripens, keep birds away with pinwheels, shiny objects or netting. Move the pinwheels and shiny objects daily and then remove them completely once fruiting is over. Fertilize once in early spring and once in late spring. Test the soil’s pH level yearly. Amend soil around existing plants as needed. Prune before they flower in early spring to promote more buds and greater airflow.