We live in the Seattle/Tacoma of Washington State & have been looking for easy-to-read directions on growing Blueberries. I was just thrilled when I saw your wonderful article! It's easy to read, concise & informative. Thanks for taking the time to write it!
I am so proud of my blueberry plant. It has stayed true to the adage, of plants, and how they grow slow at first. The first year, the blueberry plant, slept, I hardly even saw a leaf. The second and third year, it crept, grew about five or so feet and started spreading out and produced a few blueberries. The fourth year, the blueberry plant leaped into life and it seems so happy. So this blueberry plant slept, crept, and leaped. I wanted to take a close up picture of my plant, since I am so happy to see it so happy!
My backyard :)
Ummm...I'm definitely confused. This is a grapevine.
You are correct, not confused.
It is a blueberry plant, not yet ripened ;)
I think it may be a grapevine. I am rather disappointed, since grapes are so very toxic to my animals. Well, I will make the best of it. Thank you for noticing what the plant is......hmmmmmm.
Oh no..... it's a grape plant ;0 Lol
Northern Highbush blueberries (Vaccinium corymbosum)
Highbush blueberries (Zones 3-8), are the most common. They are native to the mid-Atlantic region and grow to heights of around 6 feet tall. Once they reach maturity, a single highbush plant can produce as much as 6 pounds of berries every year.
Lowbush or "Wild" blueberries (V. angustifolium)
Lowbush varieties (Zones 2-6) are northern natives and very cold hardy. These dwarf bushes can act like a groundcover and spread via underground stems. They produce high quality berries that are small in size, and have a distinctive "wild" flavor. Expect mature plants to yield a few cups of berries each year.
Half-high blueberries (also called mid-high)
These compact hybrids (Zones 3-7) combine the berry size of highbush blueberries with the hardiness of lowbush blueberries. They grow approximately 2 to 4 feet tall. Half-high blueberries yield approximately 3 pounds of berries per plant at maturity and all varieties produce a beautiful display of color in the fall.
Southern Rabbiteye blueberries (V. ashei) Rabbiteye blueberries (Zones 7-9) are also referred to as Southern highbush blueberries. They are native to the Southeast and are better adapted to high temperatures and drought than other varieties. Rabbiteye blueberries can grow up to 15 feet tall. Like highbush blueberries, mature rabbiteye blueberry plants produce about 6 pounds of berries per year.
Plant multiple varieties: Some types and cultivars of blueberries require cross-pollination while others are self-fertile. Even when cross-pollination isn't necessary, planting two or more varieties next to each other will encourage all of the bushes to produce bigger and better tasting berries. Also, by planting varieties that ripen at different times, you'll maintain a fresh supply of berries throughout the season.
Blueberries in containers: If the soil in your area is not suitable for blueberries or your growing space is limited to a deck or patio, growing blueberries in containers is a great option to consider. Half-high and lowbush varieties work especially well for this. To create an acidic growing medium, mix together 1/3 peat moss or pine bark, 1/3 potting soil, and 1/3 builders sand. Stir in 1/2 ounce of sulfur for each cubic foot of soil. Fertilize plants with products labeled for use with azaleas, and top the pots with mulch to keep the shallow roots cool and moist. Replace the soil and prune back the roots every 3-4 years before repotting.
For the first several years, remove only weak growth and branches growing close to the soil. On mature bushes remove one-third of the oldest shoots each year, as well as any broken or diseased branches. Prune in late winter or early spring before growth begins.
Newly planted bushes should be given a full growing season to get established before allowing them to bear fruit. Remove all blooms as they appear the first year after planting. If your bushes are heavy producers, it's also good idea to remove a small portion of the flower buds each season. If you leave them all intact, you may find that your plants produce an over abundance of small, low quality fruits.
What a fantastic post, thanks so much for sharing all this knowledge. Have just read the entire thing aloud to my old man. Answered lots of our questions as to why we weren't having much sucess with our blueberries, and given us the solutions too! We are away to the woods for some pine needles this weekend.
Becki from Seymour, MO
Yum! I can taste them already!
I'm going to guess that you're growing blueberries of the Highbush variety. These are the blueberries people are most familiar with-the kind most often sold in grocery stores. FYI: There are also Half-High, Lowbush, and Rabbiteye blueberries.
Highbush blueberries generally start producing around age three. They may produce small clusters of berries before this age, but if not pruned back or "trained" during the first few years of growth, overall productivity can be somewhat delayed. Producing fruit takes a lot of energy, so it is always better to let a plant expend energy on becoming established during its first few years of life, rather then split its energy between growing and producing fruit. This isn't required, of course, but if you have the patience to train them for a few years before allowing them to swing into full production, you will be glad you did. The payoff is better fruit production down the road.
Blueberries are pruned during "training" (1-4 years old), and as needed throughout their life to maintain their shape. They may also be pruned to "renew" their vigor once they reach 8-10 years of age.
The Missouri State Extension Agency has a nice publication on growing blueberries in Missouri.
They also advise removing the flower buds for the first two growing seasons in order to allow the plant to become established.
Here is an additional resource from the North Caroline State University Extension Agency on the principle of pruning Highbush blueberries.
I've never heard of cutting them down like that, but that doesn't mean anything... Maybe i'll try that with my new bushes.
I DO know that blueberries need a LOT of nitrogen in their soil. We "ring" ours with chicken when we clean out the coop in the spring and fall. You don't have to work it in, just spinkle it in a ring about 5 -12 inches from the "trunk."
Ours are still small too so no berries yet, but at the farm where I grew up we had bushes over 8 feet tall!
(i live in south western michigan in what's called the "fruit belt.")
I just planted some last year. The plants were a year old when I got them, so when I planted them, they were already on their second season and there were no berries. This year--their third season--they have some berries. I'm not sure where you live in MO, but where I live in AR, highlands do not do well. I bought varieties (from Stark Bros. in MO) that do best in my area, hot and humid. It's best to get more than one variety for a longer season and variety. I hear that they're easy to root, so I plan on rooting my cuttings for additional plants later.
I'm not sure how to do the root cutting. Can someone help me root cutting for blueberry bushes?
When do you transplant blueberry bushes in New Hampshire? Time of year etc.
I just relocated my blueberry plant to the backyard.
Any ideas on how to help our blueberries taste good for next year? Last year's crop was a great mix between tangy and sweet. This year, they are so bland and blah. We haven't done anything different but would like to ensure great tasting blueberries next year.
Hardiness Zone: 7a
By Icook_Ucleanup from AL
I didn't even get a chance to eat any of mine. I went to pick mine one afternoon and everyone of them were gone. The Birds got them.