How to Grow Blueberry

Blueberries in a bowl and growing on bushes image by Merelymel/Flickr.com

Overview

Growing blueberries takes a commitment on the part of the gardener, but the rewards are plenty. Blueberry bushes are an impressive addition to your landscape. Its beautiful spring flowers, delicious tasting summer berries and striking fall leaf colors present a variety of splendor to your surroundings all year long. Enjoy the beauty the blueberry provides, along with the many health benefits of this popular fruit.

Step 1

Find an area that has full sun and is not near other plants, trees or bushes. The shallow root system of the blueberry does not do well against other vegetation. This must be done 1 year before the planting date.

Step 2

Create a raised flowerbed in this area (see Resources for instructions). Flowerbeds need to be 9 inches high and 4 feet wide.

Step 3

Make the raised beds with sufficient room to place bushes 5 feet apart with a distance of around 9 feet between rows for highbush, rabbiteye or half-high varieties. Lowbush blueberries require 1-3 feet of spacing with rows 3-4 feet apart.

Step 4

Plant the blueberry bushes in the spring after the threat of frost passes. Dig a hole 1½ feet wide and 1½ feet deep for each blueberry bush.

Step 5

Using your shovel, blend 1 cubic foot of peat moss with removed soil. Fill the hole with the mixed soil leaving a space of at least 4 inches. Take the plant out of the container and set it in the hole.

Step 6

Use the shovel to add the remaining soil mix around plant. Press down on the dirt to remove any possible air pockets in the soil.

Step 7

Utilize the shovel again to add 4 inches of mulch around each plant and over the entire flowerbed. The mulch should surround the plant by at least 4 feet to prevent weeds.

Step 8

Water the blueberry bushes thoroughly after planted. Give plants at minimum 1-2 inches of water weekly. Continue watering until the beginning of September only, except for extremely dry conditions after this time.

Step 9

Add fertilizer around the blueberry bushes one month after planting. Add to soil, but do not get closer than 6 inches from the plants.

Step 10

Remove any blossoms that appear the first 2 years after planting. Prune bushes with pruning shears in the middle of March of the fourth year. Get rid of weak, thin, dead and interior branches crossing over the middle of the bushes.

Tips and Warnings

  • Prepare the soil for the blueberry at least one year in advance of your intended date of planting. The correct pH levels between 4.5 and 5.5 must be present in the soil for at least 6 months before planting for best growing results. See References (Ohio and Oregon State University Extensions) for details on adjusting these to the proper levels.

Things You'll Need

  • Peat moss
  • Sawdust or wood-chip mulch
  • Shovel
  • Gloves
  • Pruning shears
  • Ammonium sulfate or 10-10-10 fertilizer

References

  • Ohio State University Extension: Growing Blueberries in Your Home Garden
  • Gardening-Guides: How to Grow Blueberries
  • Oregon State University Extension: Growing Blueberries in Your Home Garden

Who Can Help

  • Preparing Raised Planting Beds
  • West Virginia University Extension Service: Growing Blueberries in West Virginia
  • Michigan State University Extension: Hints on Growing Blueberries
Keywords: Grow blueberry, Growing blueberries, Care for blueberries, Maintain blueberry bushes

About this Author

Diane Dilov-Schultheis has been writing professionally since 2000. She is a food and travel writer who also specializes in gaming, satellites, RV repair, gardening, finances and electronics. She is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists and has been published online at the Travel Channel and Intel.

Photo by: Merelymel/Flickr.com