How to Grow Blueberries

Gardenerdy Staff Sep 30, 2018
If you love blueberries and simply can't get enough of them, then here are some tips on how to grow blueberries at home.
Blueberries are one of the most popular, delicious fruits. Their unique flavor sets them apart and their health benefits are plenty. These are used for lip smacking sweet fruit pies and jams. These can be eaten fresh and have low calories.
Blueberries are related to huckleberries, azaleas, and rhododendrons. They grow at least 7 to 8 feet in height and flourish in areas endowed with the specific type of soil. The plants need at least 3-4 years to start bearing fruit.
Growing blueberries is a lot of fun, not to mention it has plenty of advantages over just buying them off the shelf. All it needs is proper attention and care. They are available in a number of varieties.

Highbush Blueberries

These are the ones that are usually available in the local grocery store.

Lowbush Blueberries

These are also known as 'wild blueberries' and generally do not grow beyond 18-inches of height.
Half-high Blueberries - These can withstand heavy snowfall and are a hybrid combination of highbush blueberries and lowbush blueberries.

Rabbiteye Blueberries - These can grow under the full sun and are the tallest of all the types.
You need to check the soil composition and climate before you cultivate them. Also, you can grow 2 or more varieties for pollination. Given are few steps to follow as a guide.
Contact the local store in your vicinity to know the variety that you can grow considering the soil and climate type. Planting them is quite a similar to planting most other shrubs. The variety of the bush matters, as some are quite drought resistant. This would suit a climate that is on the dry side.
Once you have decided on the kind you wish to grow, you need to select an appropriate location in your garden considering the bushes require ample sunlight.
You also need to check and be sure of the pH level of the soil. The most favorable level for blueberries is 4.5. The soil mixture should at least have an organic mixture of 5%. You can even add leaves and manure to the soil to increase the nutritional value and aid the growth process.
The time of the year when they are grown, also matters to a great extent. For best results, they should be planted in spring or during fall. This is because the soil tends to be more workable during this period. Also, you need to keep in mind that the bushes should stand at least 4 feet apart. The lowbush varieties can be planted 1-3 feet apart.
You also need to keep the depth of the mulch at 4". This will help retain the moisture for weeds of the bushes and also prevent the growth of weeds.
Adding fertilizers is also important for growing healthy blueberries. You can fertilize it during late winters or early spring. You can try using an ammonium sulfate fertilizer at least twice a year.
Pruning the bushes may not be required for the initial few years. You may have to cut the oldest shoots to promote the growth of a new shoot. You will also need to remove the stalks that have dried up. Also, sometimes, you may need to take care that the branches are not over laden with fruits.
You will need to prune the shoots so that they have the right amount of buds on them. Some believe in shaving off the flowers in the first year itself because, it is firmly believed that this would help in the total development of the plant.
Blueberries can be grown in containers as well. Due to their shallow root systems, these are suited for raised bed gardens. Once you have followed these initial steps, the bushes will require minimal care after that.
This delicious fruit goes well with yogurt and when used atop ice creams. Blueberry pies and muffins are most delicious and make a very healthy treat. And to use the fruit fresh and straight off your own backyard adds to the taste and satiety levels.