When you think about blueberries, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? Is it the warm blueberry pie grandma made last summer? Or was it the delicious blueberry cheesecake sold at The Cheesecake Factory? Why buy a jar of blueberries when you can always start by growing a bunch of seedlings in your garden?
Blueberries are fruiting shrubs that are native to North America. They have oblong, pointed leaves that, when felt by hand, almost feel leathery. Flowers sprouting from blueberry bushes come in clusters of small, bell-shaped blooms during late spring.
With that said, there are numerous reasons why you should consider planting blueberries. Here’s a guide that could help you get started upon planting blueberries for your home’s garden.
How to Plant Blueberries
The best option when it comes to choosing the best blueberry bush would be the bare-root plants. One must take note that older plants tend to suffer going through a transplant shock, which leads to waiting for an entire year for a large harvest.
Blueberries are plants that fertilize by themselves. However, homeowners can still make use of good harvest and pollination by planting more than one cultivar. At least situate the blueberry plants in a row around four to five feet apart.
Moreover, adjacent rows should follow a spacing of nine to ten feet apart from each other. This spacing shall provide lots of room for harvesting. For bare-root blueberry plants, spread their roots onto the prepared hole on the soil, then cover them back again. Soil mixed with organic material can also be a big help.
Container-grown blueberry bushes can also sprout lots of bearings. Plant the bush for about one inch deeper compared to how they were planted in their nursery container. For more information on how to grow your very own blueberry plant on a container, check out GardenersPath.com today.
Blueberry Plant Care
Responsible gardening would require you to take good care of your plants. The same goes for when it comes to taking care of freshly planted blueberry bushes.
1. Let there be Light
Like any other plant, blueberries need exposure to full sun to get enough light into their system. The more sun the plant absorbs, the more fruit and growth is witnessed in its final harvest.
2. Good Quality of Soil
Blueberries grow better in very acidic soil conditions with a range of 4.0 to 5.2 soil pH. These types of plants also prefer soil that is rich with organic matter. Getting the suitable soil pH can be tricky, especially when it’s not the right season. It’s always recommended to modify your garden’s soil before the perfect season you’re aiming to plant the blueberry comes.
Aluminum or garden sulfur can also be a big help in amending your garden’s soil by just mixing the material on top of six inches of soil. Doing so could help lower the pH level of your garden’s soil as much as you need.
3. Use a Recommended Fertilizer
Fertilizers are also another essential tool for gardening, as they serve as vitamins for your plants as they grow. However, it’s also crucial to know when is the right time to apply fertilizer to your plants.
As for blueberries, it’s advisable not to fertilize them in their first year, as the roots tend to be sensitive against salt until plants have matured. A standard fertilizer used for shrubs like blueberries is ammonium sulfate, which increases the acidity in the soil, which the plant prefers.
Moreover, it’s also common for the leaves on blueberry shrubs to turn yellow or even look chlorotic. For most plants, the leaves’ yellowing may mean that the plant lacks iron on the soil.
For blueberries, yellow leaves would mean that the soil’s pH level might be too high, which means that the plants are having difficulty accessing the iron present in the soil. You may opt to have your soil pH tested and have adjustments for the plants to grow evenly.
4. Right Amount of Watering
Like every other plant, water is an essential factor of proper vegetation or plant growth. As for planting blueberries, they require deep watering once per week. These are shallow-rooted plants that need only a few inches of water every week and even more during the dry season.
5. The Perfect Humidity and Temperature
Having the perfect temperature for plants is also an essential factor to consider during the growth process of the shrub. Moreover, depending on the type of blueberry bush, the weather would also vary.
For example, traditional highbush plants would prefer humid air and cold temperatures. While bushes growing on the southern part of the state can’t handle freezing temperatures. Growing certain shrubs would also require gardeners to invest in relatively sheltered planting spots to protect the seedlings against harsh winds.
Are you already excited to get started on that homemade blueberry pie recipe finally? You might want to keep an eye on the growth of your blueberry plants, especially in their third year, as the shrubs will begin to produce at least a small amount of harvest. However, it’s not until their sixth year that blueberries can produce yields fully.
Moreover, mature blueberry shrubs can produce about eight quarters of berries per bush. You can always extend the harvest by planting during the early, mid, and late-season instead of growing them all in one variety.
Taste-testing the blueberry by picking one or two also serves as a reliable way to know if your product is ready for harvest. Remember that blueberries are at their sweetest when they’re untouched on their plant a week after turning to a fruity shade of blue.
Propagating the Blueberries
Propagating blueberries would require you to take cuttings of softwood and gently rooting them. The best season to do so is during the early spring; take a healthy shoot and cut at least five inches of growth from the stem to the tip.
You can also try propagating the blueberries by planting the buds found inside the berries or transplanting its suckers seen at the base of the blueberry bush.
With everything said, you’re all set to making the best blueberry pie no matter what occasion. With proper practice, planting blueberries can be as easy as growing a regular flower or vegetable. It’s never too late to start on your gardening journey, and blueberries can always be a good choice.