How to Plant a Blueberry Container

Overview

Blueberry bushes have particular soil needs, making them difficult to plant in the ground in many locations. One solution to this problem is to plant a blueberry bush in a pot, giving you greater means to control the soil conditions. Blueberry bushes take a few years to mature to the point that they produce a harvest of berries. After two or three years, though, you should get a healthy crop of fruit each summer, provided you care for the plants properly.

Step 1

Select a location for placing your blueberry in a pot. Blueberries need about eight hours of sunlight each day, so look for a sunny spot in your yard.

Step 2

Create the soil you will use for potting the blueberry plants. The soil mixture should be one-third peat moss, one-third pathway bark and one-third acid plant mix, azalea mix or a potting soil made from forest byproducts. Mix the soil well with a shovel to make sure all three elements are well blended in the soil. To cut down on cleanup and contain the mess, you can mix the soil on a tarp in your yard.

Step 3

Add a handful of soil sulfur to the soil mix for each plant you will be planting. One handful is sufficient for one plant, but use three handfuls for three plants, and so on. Mix the soil sulfur in with the soil mix, making sure it is well blended.

Step 4

Fill the bottom of the container you have selected for planting with the potting soil, and pat it down firmly.

Step 5

Place the blueberry bush in the pot, making sure to set it down gently but firmly.

Step 6

Fill the pot in with the remaining soil, tamping it down firmly to remove any air bubbles from the dirt.

Step 7

Water the plant immediately after planting so it can begin to establish its roots. Young blueberry plants need 1 inch of water per week, so they should be watered regularly during dry periods.

Step 8

Prune back the plant's branches by 30 percent to 40 percent. Try to remove old wood and keep the new, younger wood for future growth.

Step 9

Prune flower buds from the plant as they become visible during the first growing season. Blueberry plants should not produce fruit their first season. To help your plant produce a good harvest in future years, it is important to properly prune the deadwood and flower buds in the first growing season.

Step 10

Apply 1 ounce of 21-0-0 fertilizer to each plant in late April and then again early June and late July. When applying fertilizer, spread it around 12 inches to 18 inches from the plant. Applying it directly to the stems or roots can damage the plant.

Tips and Warnings

  • Blueberries need a nitrogen fertilizer, but never use a nitrogen fertilizer in nitrate form because it can damage the plants.

Things You'll Need

  • Tarp, if desired
  • Peat moss
  • Pathway bark
  • Acid plant mix, azalea mix or a potting soil made from forest byproducts
  • Soil sulfur
  • Shovel
  • Large container that can hold between 2 and 5 gallons
  • Pruning tools

References

  • Colorado State University: Blueberries in Pots Project
  • U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council: Blueberry Gardening
  • Dave Wilson Nursery: Blueberries in Containers
  • Oregon State University Extension: Growing Blueberries in Your Home Garden
Keywords: growing blueberries pots, growing blueberries containers, about growing blueberries

About this Author

Meghan McMahon lives in the Chicago suburbs, where she spent six years as a newspaper journalist before becoming a part-time freelance writer and editor and full-time mother. She received a bachelor's degree in journalism from Eastern Illinois University in 2000 and has written for "The Daily Southtown" and "The Naperville Sun" in suburban Chicago.