How to Grow Blueberries 101
Growing Blueberries is easier than ever. Learn how to keep your new blueberry plant happy and healthy so you can get delicious sweet fruit every season.
Choose the right variety for your climate. We grow Southern Highbush Blueberries because they were bred for climates with low chill hours. These varieties are adaptable to a variety of climates and do very well in our low-chill California climate. Pair at least two varieties for a bigger crop. For a tall blueberry hedge, vigorous varieties like Jewel, Emerald, and Star can grow from 12'-15', but can be kept smaller with pruning. Varieties like Oneal, Sunshine Blue, and Misty produce less vigorous, more compact bushes. For gardens with heavier soils, Jubilee is your match!
Blueberries can be planted in the ground or containers so long as they get full sun, good airflow, and maintain a soil pH of 4.5-5.5 ph. When growing in the ground prep a 24” diameter hole that is at least 12” deep and amend with compost, peat moss, and potting soil heavy in humus. This soil mix will ensure optimal moisture and promote soil health by attracting beneficial bugs and fungi. This prepped space is perfect for about 4-5 plants. When planting blueberries in pots, use a potting mix that is well-draining, high in organic matter, and try to avoid porous pots as they tend to pull water away from the plant.
Consistent watering is a must. The goal is to keep the soil moist. Blueberries require more water than the average garden plant but with regular watering and mulching, you will be growing delectable blueberries in no time.
A great way to keep your soil moist is to mulch. This will keep the sun on your plants and off your soil by protecting it. Blueberry Plants should be top-dressed with fresh compost, bark-mulch, pine needles, woodchips, and/or sawdust. This will help to retain moisture, promote soil health, and break up any clay-type soil you may have.
Pruning Blueberries is simple, but there are a few tricks to improve both fruit size and quality. Start in the winter with the basics. Begin by removing dead wood, or twiggy non-vigorous wood that has lost all color. Then, remove damaged or broken wood and limbs with sunburn or bug damage. Finally, remove diseased wood which is usually blotchy colored growth on the canes or leaves. Look for places that may act as a way in for pests or disease and remove them.
Once you have cleaned the plant of the dead, damaged, and diseased wood, prune for shape by leaving around 5 healthy canes per bush and bringing them down to 2-3 ft in the winter.
Blueberries love their acidic soil but they also hate over-fertilizing. A couple of tablespoons per plant of a 10-20-10 fertilizer or similar in the late spring is all you need to get your plants growing for the season. Romeo Plant food will grow a beautiful plant but for the best fruit, go with a more acidic fertilizer
Check out Growing Blueberries for more information!
Author: Israel Osuna