How to Plant Blueberries in Phoenix, Arizona
Phoenix, the capital of Arizona, is situated in the Sonoran Desert. Growing blueberries in Phoenix can be tricky because of its hot, dry climate. However, several steps can help you to grow fully ripened fruits that carry a sweet taste and aroma not easily found in a grocery store. Even in a desert environment such as Phoenix, blueberry plants can grow to 3 feet to 4 feet tall and 20 inches wide or larger.
Purchase a container in which to grow your blueberries, and pour in a potting soil mix that includes a blend of peat moss and compost so that the container is 3/4 full. Collect a sample of your soil and take it to a local laboratory in Phoenix to have it tested. The test will let you know what other amendments, if any, you must add to your soil.
The ideal soil pH for blueberries generally is between 4.5 and 5.5. You will have to use a container in Phoenix because acidic soil is required for plants to grow and produce well. The soil in Phoenix is too alkaline, as it is composed mainly of clay and has large deposits of calcium carbonate.
Buy a blueberry plant variety that has a low chill requirement, such as Southmoon, Sharpblue or Sunshine Blue, which will work well in Phoenix’s desert climate. A low chill requirement is the amount of time a plant must be exposed to temperatures between 32 degrees Fahrenheit and 45 degrees Fahrenheit before it will come out of dormancy.
Place your blueberry starter plant into the container, ensuring the container is large enough to handle the plant's existing root system. Situate the plant at the same level it was while in the initial pot, and firm the potting mix around the plant. Put the container in an area that receives exposure to full sun. The plant needs at least six hours of sun in order to thrive and will be able to handle full desert sun as long as it is well watered.
Water your Phoenix blueberry plant whenever it feels dry, testing it daily with your finger. Apply a water-soluble fertilizer containing a commercial acidifying additive or vinegar to the plant each week from mid-February to Labor Day. This will compensate for the alkaline Arizona water you give your plant, which will cause the soil to lose its acidity over time.
Pour 1/4 cup of coffee grounds over the soil every other week. This will further add acidity to the plant's soil, which will improve its production.
Remove dead branches and twiggy growth from your blueberry plant. Make sure the plant remains in a round shape.
YaShekia King, of Indianapolis, began writing professionally in 2003. Her work has appeared in several publications including the "South Bend Tribune" and "Clouds Across the Stars," an international book. She also is a licensed Realtor and clinical certified dental assistant. King holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from Ball State University.