Growing Blueberries Background

Growing Blueberries

Southern Highbush Blueberries

Developed to grow in climates with low chill hours

These are hybrids of blueberries which grew wild when European settlers first arrived in the New World. New Southern Highbush cultivars were developed to grow in California and other climates with low chill hours. Blueberry plants make an excellent addition to edible landscapes. They have dark blue green foliage and attractive pink or white blooms.

As a guideline, plant two plants for each blueberry loving family member. Plants can be planted as individual specimens or spaced about 2 feet apart to create a hedge. See varieties for heights and ripening times.

Planting in Containers

Potting mix should be acidic (pH 4.5-5.5)

For optimum control of soil factors, it is strongly recommended to plant in containers. The potting mix should be acidic, (pH 4.5-5.5) high in organic matter and well draining.

When planting blueberries in pots, use a potting mix that is well-draining, high in organic matter, and try to avoid terra cotta 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. 

Planting in the Ground

Most soils will require amendments to maintain acidity

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 premium potting mix designed for acid-loving plants. This soil mix will ensure optimal moisture and promote soil health by attracting beneficial bugs and fungi. It is important that you do not mix fertilizers in the planting hole or when backfilling your blueberries.


Blueberry plants do not like to dry out, so the watering regime should be consistent.

Blueberries require more water than many other garden plants. Keep soil moist. Blueberry plants do not like to dry out, so the watering regime should be consistent. The amount you water will heavily depend on your climate but keeping your soil consistently moist is a must. A weekly watering at a minimum should keep your shrubs adequately moist but do hold off for a few days if it rains.

When watering, avoid watering the foliage as this can encourage the development of fungal diseases.


Remove dead wood and non vigorous twiggy wood

Pruning blueberry bushes to reduce the number of flowers and developing fruit will improve berry size and hasten development. Allow the plants to get well established in the first year by pinching off flower buds.

Thereafter each winter:

1. Remove low growth around the base. If it doesn't grow up, prune it out!

2. Remove dead wood and non vigorous twiggy wood. Select bright colored wood with long laterals. Remove blotchy colored short growth.

3. If 1/3 of the wood has not been removed by the above steps, thin out the fruiting laterals and small branches until the balance has been obtained.

4. As plants get older, prune to select 4-6 bright colored erect canes per bush. Prune these canes in October down to a height of 2-3 ft.


Blueberries like acid fertilizers such as Azalea formulations

Blueberries like acid fertilizers such as Azalea formulations. But be very careful not to use nitrogen in a NITRATE form!!

Blueberries are sensitive to over-fertilizing. We offer a product called G&B Organic Citrus and Fruit Tree Fertilizer (8-4-2) that works well for blueberry plants in pots or in the ground.  Start feeding in early spring and feed regularly throughout the growing season as per instructions.  Acid fertilizers for camelias, rhododendron and azaleas also work well for blueberry plants but be careful not to overdo it and harm your plant as they are not heavy feeders.  Avoid fresh manures.

Blueberries are very sensitive to over-fertilization. Stop fertilizing by October, or the time of onset of cooler fall weather. Resume fertilizing in spring after blueberries have leafed out (around March 15).