Buying blueberries at the store or the farmer’s market can be pretty pricy. But did you know that growing your blueberries isn’t that hard at all? In fact, growing blueberries in a container is a convenient way to have fresh fruit at the ready whenever you want them.
The compact, easy-care fruit-producing bushes are easy to plant and grow, even if you have no outdoor land space.
If you want fresh blueberries for your pancakes, bake into muffins, or eating right off the plant, follow these steps.
1. Container Size
A blueberry bush produces shallow roots that spread out horizontally. A large container that is at least two feet across will be perfect to start your new bush out in.
As the bush ages and matures, it will need to be transplanted into a larger container, such as half a barrel, to accommodate its expanding root system.
Southern Patio 22.5″ Kentucky Walnut Whiskey Barrel Planter
2. Prepare Soil
Blueberry bushes grow best in acidic soil. Fill the container half full of acidic planting soil mix that is recommended for growing azaleas.
Fill the remainder of the container with half compost and half peat moss, leaving four inches of headspace at the top of the container.
Combine all three ingredients thoroughly, then make a shallow planting hole in the center of the soil that is deep enough to accommodate most of the bush’s roots.
3. Select Bush
There are many varieties of blueberry bushes to select from, with varying mature sizes and berry harvest time. You should select the right variety for your USDA hardiness zone.
A good nursery will help you chose a cool-zoned type for your garden, such as the Chippewa variety for zones as low as Zone 3.
from: Nature Hills Nursery, Inc.Southern gardeners want to go with a Southern Highbush variety, like the Sunshine Blueberry.
Sunshine Blue Blueberry
from: Nature Hills Nursery, Inc.Regardless of the variety you select, usually two bushes will be needed for cross pollination. For the longest harvest, select blueberry varieties that produce ripe berries at different times of the season so you can enjoy fresh blueberries longer.
The age of the bush will also factor into how soon you will have fresh blueberries. If you start with a bush that is 2-3 years old, you will be eating fresh blueberries that same year.
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Carefully remove the blueberry bush from its purchase container by cutting the container away with a utility knife.
Try to keep all the soil intact around the roots and place it in the prepared planting hole. Gently press the roots into the soil and add two inches of planting soil mix on top of the roots, firm soil, and water well.
All of the blueberry bush’s roots need to be covered by planting soil, but not buried deep into the soil. Fill the remaining space on top of the planting soil with organic mulch that is acidic, like pine straw or pine bark.
Now that the bush is planted in its growing container, it needs the right location to help it grow.
Choose a sunny location in which to set the container, one in which the bush will receive 6-8 hours of direct sunlight per day.
While the bush loves sunshine, it will also benefit from a shady reprieve from direct afternoon sun in mid-summer.
Using a container that has wheels will make it mobile and easy to move in and out of the sun as needed or the container can be placed on the east side of a building or fence so the bush will have afternoon shade.
Blueberry bushes love consistently damp, cool soil, that’s why you often find them growing in the wild near the edge of a tree line in a dense pine forest.
The dappled sunlight, cool, moist soil that contains acid from the decomposing pine needles is the ideal home for native blueberries.
Keep the soil moist, but never soggy wet. Make sure the planting container has sufficient drainage holes in the bottom to allow excess water to run quickly out the bottom and away from plant roots.
The layer of acidic mulch on top of the soil will help keep the soil cool and retain moisture in addition to adding nutrients to the soil as it decomposes.
Feed the blueberry bush a dose of cottonseed meal or blood meal once a year in the early spring.
Follow that yearly feeding up with a twice a month feeding with a plant food that is high in acidity.
Stop fertilizing when blueberries begin to turn from green to blue.
When a 2-3-year-old bush is planted and all its needs met, you should be harvesting ripe blueberries within five months. The berries are ready when they turn a deep blue color and turn loose of the bush easily when pulled.
Be aware that birds enjoy tasty blueberries and have been waiting patiently for them to ripen.
Prevent birds from eating all of your fresh blueberries by placing fabric netting over the bushes as soon as the berries appear. Black fabric netting seems to be the color that works best as a berry-protecting bird repellent.
Last update on 2021-04-18 at 04:44 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API