How to Start a Blueberry Bush From Cuttings

Overview

Blueberries are one of the few native North American plants. Varieties of blueberry bushes can be found growing from Canada to Mexico. In addition to fruit production, blueberry plants may be used in landscaping for hedges or specimen plants. Both hardwood and softwood blueberry cuttings can be rooted to propagate new varieties.

Step 1

Select the stem that you plan to take for a cutting based on the time of the year that you are making the cutting. Blueberry cuttings that root best in the fall or winter are hardwood cuttings that are made from dormant, mature wood that is located at least 6 inches from the end of a stem. Cuttings taken in spring should consist of springy new growth located at the tips of branches.

Step 2

Sharpen a pair of pruning shears before taking a cutting to prevent crushing the stem.

Step 3

Soak a cloth in bleach and swipe the blades of your pruning shears before cutting to prevent the spread of diseases.

Step 4

Position your pruning shears just above the point where a leaf emerges from the branch (the leaf node). Make your cut straight through the branch.

Step 5

Cut hardwood branches into sections that are between 3 to 6 inches in length. There should be at least three nodes in each section. Divide the sections just above a leaf node. For softwood cuttings, remove the last 6 inches of a branch containing three leaf nodes.

Step 6

Strip all leaves from the bottom two-thirds of the branch.

Step 7

Dip the lower end of the branch in rooting hormone.

Step 8

Fill a seedling tray with peat moss. Peat moss is slightly acidic, and will provide a rooting environment in which blueberry seedlings will thrive. Wet the peat moss so it is as damp as a wrung-out sponge.

Step 9

Insert the cuttings two-thirds of the way into the peat moss. Cover with plastic sheeting and place under grow lights.

Step 10

Mist the soil to keep it damp. Remove the plastic when the blueberries produce roots.

Step 11

Transplant blueberry seedlings as they outgrow their seedling flats by filling 6-inch pots with a combination of two parts peat moss and one part pine bark. Make a planting pocket in the center of the container and place the root ball of the plant in the pocket. Cover with soil and add water.

Step 12

Plant 2-year-old blueberry plants in well-drained soil with a pH of 5.0 that receives at least six hours of sun daily.

Things You'll Need

  • Pruning shears
  • Sharpener
  • Bleach
  • Cloth
  • Rooting hormone
  • Peat moss
  • Seedling tray
  • Plastic
  • Grow lights
  • Plant mister
  • Pine bark
  • 6-inch container
  • Garden trowel

References

  • N.C. State University Extension: Growing Blueberries in the Home Garden
  • N.C. State University Extension: Plant Propagation by Stem Cuttings: Instructions for the Home Gardener
  • U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council: The Highbush Blueberry

Who Can Help

  • Mississippi State University Extension: Establishment and Maintenance of Blueberries
Keywords: growing blueberry bushes, rooting blueberry bush cuttings, starting blueberry plants

About this Author

Tracy S. Morris has been a freelance writer since 2000. She has published two novels and numerous online articles. Her work has appeared in national magazines and newspapers, including "Ferrets," "CatFancy," "Lexington Herald Leader" and "The Tulsa World."