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!
Blueberry bushes will grow the best if you plant them in sunny spot in your yard with decent air flow. Ideally, this location would be able to provide 8+ hours of direct sunlight per day. It’s no secret that blueberries prefer acidic soils. One of the easiest ways to accomplish this is with an actively decomposing soil mix that contains compost and fine mulch.
Blueberries can be planted in the ground or containers. When growing in the ground prep a 24” diameter hole that is at least 12” deep and amend with compost, peat moss, and a acidic potting mix. 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, avoid porous pots as they tend to pull water away from the plant. Blueberries can be planted very close together and it is highly recommended that you have at least 2 different varieties planted together to increase pollination.
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.
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
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.
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.
Check out Growing Blueberries for more information!
Author: Israel Osuna