How to Start New Blueberry Plants


Blueberry bushes are woody shrubs that propagate to produce new plants from softwood or hardwood stem cuttings. Softwood stems are the preferred method of starting new blueberry plants as they quickly produce roots and have a higher rate of success over hardwood cuttings. Rabbiteye and southern highbush blueberry plants also will propagate with hardwood stem cuttings. Take softwood cuttings in late spring through early summer and hardwood cuttings in late fall once the plant is in the dormant stage.

Step 1

Take a 6- to 8-inch softwood or hardwood stem section from current-year growth on the blueberry plant. Softwood stem cuttings are sections beginning to mature but are still flexible. Hardwood stem cuttings are mature and stiff when bent.

Step 2

Place softwood stem cuttings in a damp paper towel to prevent them from drying out while preparing the propagation tray.

Step 3

Create a rooting medium by mixing equal amounts of coarse sand, perlite and peat moss. Moisten the medium with water to make it damp but not soggy. Fill a rooting tray with the rooting medium.

Step 4

Remove all leaves from the bottom half of the softwood blueberry stems. Hardwood stems do not have leaves. Dip the lower cut end of the softwood or hardwood stem into rooting hormone to stimulate root growth.

Step 5

Stick the blueberry stem into the rooting medium to a depth of 3 inches. Firm the medium to hold the stem. Space the blueberry stems so they do not touch.

Step 6

Mist the cuttings with water and cover the tray and cuttings with a clear plastic bag to create a greenhouse environment around the blueberry stems. Close the bag with a rubber band to keep the humidity level high.

Step 7

Open the covering and mist the stems with water two to three times a day. Monitor the moisture level of the rooting medium to prevent over-saturation as this promotes stem rot.

Step 8

Verify root growth of the softwood stems after three weeks of growth and hardwood stems after four months of growth. Grow the stems in the humid greenhouse environment until the roots are at least 1 inch in length.

Step 9

Transplant the blueberry stems into individual growing containers filled with potting soil once the roots are 1 inch. Fertilize the stems with a water-soluble fertilizer mixed to half-strength after transplanting. Grow the cuttings indoors for at least one year to establish the roots.

Things You'll Need

  • Sharp knife
  • Paper towel
  • Water
  • Coarse sand
  • Perlite
  • Peat moss
  • Rooting tray
  • Root hormone
  • Water mister
  • Plastic bag
  • Rubber band
  • 4-inch potting containers
  • Potting soil
  • Water-soluble fertilizer


  • North Caroline State University: Plant Propagation with Stem Cuttings
  • Small Fruits: Blueberry Propagation
  • Michigan State University: Establishment and Maintenance of Blueberries
Keywords: propagate blueberry plant, blueberry stem cuttings, grow blueberry stems

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.