Do you want to learn how to grow blueberries? Growing blueberries is fun and easy – and delicious! In this gardening guide, we’ll explain everything you need to know about planting blueberries in your garden.
Shown above are the blueberries we grew last summer! Aren’t they beautiful? I am very excited to see the blueberries grow this summer as well!
What You Need to Know About Growing Blueberries
When you first start growing blueberries, it can be easy to get discouraged! That’s because a blueberry bush can take several years to fully mature and start producing a large harvest of berries in the summer.
We first planted our blueberry bush in the year 2008 – it was not until 2011 when we finally started seeing a decent amount of blueberries each year. Now that we have fully let our blueberry bush mature, we get tons of blueberries today in 2018!
Blueberries are easy to grow, and for the most part do not need a lot of maintenance. There are several varieties of blueberry plants, so you may wish to research the different types of blueberries to learn which variety will grow best in your garden depending on where you live and your climate.
Blueberries prefer acidic soil, and so having a pH soil testing meter can help you ensure that the location you plant your berries has the optimal soil conditions.
Here’s How to Grow Blueberries
With a little bit of effort, you can grow a beautiful crop of blueberries. Here we will go over the step by step process of growing blueberries in your garden.
Step 1: Select Where You Will Plant Your Blueberry Bush
It is easiest to begin by purchasing a blueberry bush. You can buy them at your local garden center or plant nursery. If you are looking for a specific variety of blueberry, you may need to look online for the most options and selection.
You will want to make sure that you choose a location that gets enough sunlight. You will also want to make sure you have enough space for each plant. It is recommended that you plant each bush at least 2 feet apart from one another.
You can go up to 30″ or wider apart however if you wish. You will want to make sure you prepare the space where you intend to plant. For example, if you are planting in a raised garden bed, you will want to make sure the soil conditions will allow for the best possible growing environment.
A raised garden bed is a good choice if you do not have good water drainage where you wish to plant. Having the space properly prepared and chosen will ensure that your blueberry crop grows in the best place for your space! Be sure that you clear the space of any weeds.
Step 2: Plant Your Blueberry Bush
To plant your blueberry bush, dig a hole that is roughly 2- 3″ deeper than the container your bush came in. Some plants will come in biodegradable pots, if this is the case be sure you follow the recommendations on the tag.
If you need to remove the bush from a container that it came in, carefully cut away the plastic. You’ll want to gently “tickle the roots” to allow them to fully expand once in the soil safely.
Once the bush is in the dirt, cover it with your choice of potting soil. You will want to make sure that you create a mound of dirt around the base of the plant that is about 1″ higher than the surrounding ground level.
You will also want to place some mulch around your blueberry bush when you first plant it. This will help it retain moisture without drowning the plant, and also protect the new roots as they take into the ground. It’s also a great way to prevent weeds!
Surround each plant with about 2 to 4 inches of mulch. Be sure to water your plant the first time you plant it. You will want to ensure your plant gets enough water, but do not overwater. The water should be able to drain easily.
Step 3: Prune Your Blueberry Bush
The first year you do not want to allow your bush to produce fruit. I realize this is very disappointing, but if you prune your blueberry bush the first year, you will have a much better harvest for many more years to come!
The logic behind pruning the bush the first year before it produces fruit is to allow for the bush to really fully grow and put all of its energy into becoming a healthy plant.
You will also want to prune your bush each year after this. Aggressive pruning can actually make your blueberry plant grow to its best ability, so it is worth doing at least once a year. To prune, you will want to cut any low growth around the base of the plant using pruning shears.
You will also want to look for any parts of the plant which are discolored. You want to keep the bright, healthy looking branches. Remove any dead or discolored leaves or branches which do not appear healthy.
You will want to prune about 1/3 of the total plant away each year. It may sound counterproductive, but experience has shown this absolutely does improve the quality and amount of berries you will get each year!
Step 4: Wait and Harvest Your Berries
Blueberries will begin to appear on your bush sometime in June. You will want to make sure that you allow them to fully ripen before you pick them. The berries will start out as green, and slowly turn to the beautiful blue purple color you will recognize!
If you find that the birds and other wildlife are beating you to harvesting the berries, you may wish to invest in protective netting. Placing protective blueberry netting over your plants can help ensure that you are able to harvest the berries.
This is one of the most common complaints about growing blueberries is that the birds might eat all the berries before you even see a single one! A good berry net can make all the difference!
Frequently Asked Questions About Growing Blueberries
In this section, we’ve listed some of the common frequently asked questions we’ve been asked about growing blueberries.
What Type of Fertilizer is Best for Blueberry Bushes?
There are a number of different fertilizer formulations available. Most growers recommend using an acidic fertilizer. The types of fertilizers which are recommended for rhododendrons and azalea bushes will work well for your blueberry bush.
It is also very important to note that blueberries are sensitive to being over fertilized. Use care to never use more than the recommended amount. This can cause your plant to die, and that would not be very much fun!
When Is the Best Time to Plant a Blueberry Bush?
The best time to plant a blueberry bush is either in the fall or early spring. If you plant it in the summer, it may be too harsh of conditions, and the plant will also have a harder time making the transition.
We planted our blueberries in the Northeast United States in the beginning of May when we first moved into our house. This worked out perfect, and while we of course did not get any blueberries the first year, the plant did well and we made sure the risk of frost was over.
Learning How to Grow Blueberries is Fun and Rewarding!
We hope you have learned everything you need to know about how to grow blueberries. It can be a very fun and rewarding experience – especially when you begin to harvest your blueberries year after year!
Do you have any tips for growing blueberries? Any experiences you have that you would like to share? Any questions about growing a blueberry bush? What would you recommend to a beginner who is looking to learn how to grow blueberries? Your comments are always welcome below!