Container Gardening: Let’s Hear it for the Blueberries
Container gardening is a lot of fun and a great option if you’re short on space, don’t have a lot of time or are new to gardening. Blueberry bushes are a great choice for container gardening as they have a shallow root system that easily adapts to the tight confines of a container. Blueberries also require specialized soil with a low acid pH, which can be easily maintained in a pot. I have one growing on my back patio and the flowers are now just turning into fruit. I love watching this transformation.
10 Steps for Growing Success:
1. Select the right container - 12-inch pot for the first two to three years; then transplant it into a 20- to 24-inch-diameter container
2. Use the correct soil mixture - Use a potting soil designed for acid loving plants. The ideal pH range: 4.5 to 4.8
3. Choose the blueberry variety - Select blueberry varieties that are suitable for your region and with large berries that will be good for eating. It is best to purchase 2- to 3-year-old plants. Shrubs start bearing strongly in the fourth year. At 8–10 years old, expect yields from 2–12 pounds of fruit per bush.
4. Grow at least two bushes - Place your blueberries close together to encourage pollination. You will get better, more consistent yields when you plant more than one type for cross-pollination.
5. Select a site with full sun - Make sure your blueberries get at least 6-8 hours of full sun.
6. Keep soil moist – Water frequently to keep the soil consistently moist but not soggy. Monitor the waters pH; an alkaline water source shifts soil pH.
7. Use fertilizers formulated for acid plants – Fertilize twice a year in the early spring. Blueberries don’t like too much fertilizer so less is more.
8. Protect your blueberries - Protect ripening blueberries with bird netting or a light sheet a few weeks before the berries are ripe.
9. Prune annually - Established blueberry bushes require yearly pruning in early spring.
10. Apply mulch - Use an acidifying mulch, such as oak leaf compost, pine needles or pine bark, to maintain soil moisture and reduce heating.
Check out this video from The Garden Corner to help get you started growing your own blueberries.