How to Cultivate Blueberry Plants

Overview

Blueberries are fruit-producing plants that are popular in home gardens because they require a small amount of space for the amount of fruit produced. The plant prefers a cool climate with adequate summer rainfall and should be cultivated in a soil with a high acidic content. Blueberry plants will begin producing fruit in the third year of growth and will maintain productivity for 15 years when cared for properly in the correct soil conditions.

Step 1

Select a planting location for the blueberry plants that has an acidic, well-draining soil and at least six hours of direct sunlight.

Step 2

Test the soil pH to verify it is 4.0 to 4.5. Work ground rock sulfur into the soil to lower the pH if needed. Several applications may be required to reach the desired pH, but do not amend the soil more than once a year as this may damage the plants. Let the soil rest for at least two weeks before planting.

Step 3

Work 2 to 3 inches of organic compost into the soil to a depth of 4 to 6 inches at the time of planting. This will increase the nutrient value and water-draining properties.

Step 4

Dig a hole that is the same depth and twice the width of the container the plant came in. Mix equal portions of organic compost or peat moss into the removed soil. Set the plant in the hole so the top of the root ball is at ground level. Fill soil around the root ball and gently pack to eliminate air bubbles.

Step 5

Water the blueberries well after planting to stimulate root growth. Continue to water plants during the growing season to keep the soil moist but not wet. Do not allow standing water around the plants as this can cause stem and root rot.

Step 6

Apply 4 inches of mulch in a 2-foot diameter around the plant. Wood chips or sawdust work well for blueberry mulch. Increase the mulch area to a 4-foot diameter after the first year of growth.

Step 7

Add 1/2 pound of ammonium sulfate fertilizer for every 100 square feet of planting area four weeks after planting. Do not apply fertilizer within 6 inches of the plant as this can cause stem burn. Water the area well after applying fertilizer to assist with absorption.

Things You'll Need

  • Soil pH test
  • Ground rock sulfur
  • Organic compost
  • Shovel
  • Mulch
  • Water
  • Ammonium sulfate fertilizer

References

  • Ohio State University: Growing Blueberries in the Home Garden
  • Michigan State University: Hints on Growing Blueberries
  • University of Minnesota: Blueberries for the Home Landscape
Keywords: cultivate blueberries, grow blueberries, blueberry plant production

About this Author

Jennifer Loucks has over 10 years of experience as a former technical writer for a software development company in Wisconsin. Her writing experience includes creating software documentation and help documents for clients and staff along with training curriculum. Loucks holds a Bachelor of Science major from the University of Wisconsin - River Falls specializing in animal science and business.