How to Grow Blueberries and
Planting Blueberries in Containers

Learn how to grow blueberries and you will never have to buy another blueberry again! Tips on growing blueberries and planting the best types of blueberries for your area will ensure success.

Planting blueberries in containers is probably one of the easiest ways to grow blueberries and growing blueberries will be much faster when you start with a plant that is a year or older.

The main types of blueberries are lowbush, highbush, and rabbiteye. However, there are many more blueberry varieties that will grow in certain zones of the country.

Learning how to grow blueberries can be very rewarding and in some cases a blueberry plant may even out live you.

Tips for Growing Blueberries


Blueberry plants are perennials which is a plant that will live for more than two years. This plant's production will peak in 6 to 8 years, but can produce fruit for decades.

Fall or early Spring are the best times for planting blueberries, but planting blueberries in winter can also work for some areas.

Basics for How to Grow Blueberries:

  • Buy a blueberry variety that is suitable for your planting zone
  • Requires acidic soil with a ph range of 4.5 to 5.2 - adding peat moss into your soil can help acidify the soil
  • Also requires well-drained, sandy, and humus-rich soil to thrive
  • Requires adequate water, especially the first year to properly establish a root system. 1 to 2 inches of water per week is normal
  • To protect roots, discourage weed growth, and help retain moisture - mulch around the base of your plants. Pinebark or sawdust has a ph of 3.5 to 4.5.
  • Fertilize blueberry plants with an organic acid fertilizer when needed
  • Space plants about 5 to 7 feet apart and trimming or pruning is not necessary until your plants are at least 3 years old
  • Planting at least two different varieties will help you achieve higher fruit yields because they will pollinate each other
  • All types of blueberries grow best in full sun, so choose a sunny spot that gets at least half a day of sun. Plants can tolerate partial shade, but berry production will decrease with too much shade

How to Grow Blueberries Better: First off, start with a plant that is a year or older as blueberry plants usually start producing fruit in their third year of life.

It is a smart idea to remove the flowers during the first year or two of its life to help ensure a higher yielding harvest in the future.

Removing flowers encourages younger blueberry plants to focus its energy into producing a more vigorous plant with many branches and a better root system.

How to Grow Blueberries in Winter: In general, mulch around the base of your plant and wait for spring to come as your plant should be dormant during the winter.

During the winter, blueberry plants will rest and will require very little care.

However, blueberry plants can stay green year round if temperatures are mild enough in your area. Your plants may actually flower and fruit, but usually there will not be enough heat to ripen the fruit.

Because these plants can survive for a very long time, growing blueberries in a permanent spot or in a suitable container is recommended.

Planting Blueberries in a Container


If your soil conditions aren't right, planting blueberries in a container or pot can solve that problem. Growing blueberries this way allows you to instantly create the correct ph balance or acidity for your plant.

Also, blueberries are shallow rooted plants and poor competitors against large rooted trees, shrubs, or weeds. Therefore, you are giving them a head start in a way.

Potted blueberry plants can be planted anytime of the year - even when the plant is dormant. Just make sure your pot is large enough for the continued growth of your plant.

You can also move potted plants around later to maximize sun exposure.

How to Grow Blueberries Fast: Purchasing 1 to 3 year old plants is a great idea, but please make sure to purchase plants that are Non-GMO and have not been grown with any pesticides or any type of chemicals.

And when your plants are at least 3 years old, you can start to prune or trim your plants preferably in late winter just before new growth comes in the spring.

Pruning is key to creating good fruit production as too much fruit can weaken a plant as well as affect the size of your berries.

Important Blueberry Pruning Tips to Remember:

  • No canes or stems older than 6 yrs old as 3 to 6 year old canes will produce the best quality fruit
  • Removing old canes or stems actually encourages new canes to grow so that your blueberry bush will continue to flourish
  • Also, remove diseased branches and shoots that grow from the canes or stems
  • Opening up your blueberry bush by removing weak shoot and branches will help to ensure adequate sunlight reaches the leaves of your blueberry bush

Types of Blueberries


Lowbush, Highbush, Rabbiteye, and Half-high are the main types of blueberries, but there are hundreds of blueberry varieties.

Lowbush - most cold hardy and the least heat tolerant of all blueberry plants. This type grows about 1 to 2 feet tall.

Highbush - less cold hardy and more heat tolerant types of blueberries. This type grows 4 to 12 feet tall.

Rabbiteye - the most heat tolerant of the blueberry plants. This type can grow up to 20 feet tall.

Half-high - basically a cross between lowbush and highbush blueberry plants.

Some types of blueberries will ripen earlier and others will ripen later, but each of the types of blueberries will ripen over a 2 to 5 week period.

How to Grow Blueberries - Important!: If a blueberry bush does not obtain the necessary number of chill hours for the specific variety, it will not produce any fruit.

Chilling is achieved at temperatures approx. between 35 to 45 degrees F. These hours are cumulative, but do not need to be continuous.

By the way, below freezing does not contribute to chilling hours and temperatures above 60 degrees F might have a negative affect on your plant during the chilling period.

After the chilling requirements of your plant are met (which could be between 150 to 2000 hours depending on the variety), your plant will begin its growth for the coming season.

Sharpblue Blueberries:

  • Early Season Variety
  • 5 to 6 Feet Tall
  • Medium to Large sized Fruit
  • 150 to 200 Chill Hours
  • Plant in Zones 7 to 10

Misty Blueberries:

  • Early Season Variety
  • 4 to 6 Feet Tall
  • Medium to Large sized Fruit
  • 300 Chill Hours
  • Plant in Zones 5 to 10

Emerald Blueberries:

  • Mid-Season Variety
  • 5 to 6 Feet Tall
  • Large sized Fruit
  • 250 Chill Hours
  • Plant in Zones 8 to 10

Sunshine Blue Blueberries:

  • Mid-Season to Late Season Variety
  • 3 to 4 Feet Tall
  • Medium sized Fruit
  • 150 Chill Hours
  • Plant in Zones 5 to 10

Legacy Blueberries:

  • Mid-Season to Late Season Variety
  • 4 to 6 Feet Tall
  • Medium sized Fruit
  • 800 to 1000 Chill Hours
  • Plant in Zones 5 to 8

How to Grow Blueberries by Zones: North America has 11 different planting zones. Each of the zones will differ by 10 degrees F. based on the lowest average temperature of an area.

Zone 1 will be the coldest zone and Zone 11 will be the hottest. Growing blueberries in zones 3 to 10 is recommended.

Harvesting Blueberries


Once established a blueberry plant can remain productive for decades. Since these plants are long lived, growing blueberries will provide you and your family with blueberries for years to come.

A blueberry bush will usually start producing a good crop around the third year of its life and a mature blueberry bush can produce up to 20 pounds of fruit each season.

Blueberries usually ripen over several weeks. Your plant will require two to four pickings during harvest time as blueberries grow in clusters and will not ripen all at once.

Handpicking is the preferred way to harvest blueberries. You can do this by gently but firmly using your thumbs and forefingers to roll the berries off the stems.

Make sure the blueberries are fully ripe before picking as color can be deceiving. Also, hold a bucket or container under the bunch you are picking to prevent losing any of your blueberries.

How to Grow Blueberries for Months: If you plant a combination of early, mid, and late season varieties, you will have blueberries for a good part of the year.

Peak blueberry season is mid-June to mid-August here in North America. Although, harvest time can begin as early as spring and extend into the late fall months.

Harvest times will mainly depend on the blueberry variety planted, the weather, and your location.

Planting Blueberry Seeds - To do or Not to do?

Three words - Don't Do It!!

Planting blueberry seeds is only for the experienced and very very patient. Remember it takes years just to get a decent harvest.

If you decide to plant blueberry seeds, also remember that blueberry seeds need to be stratified in order to germinate.

You can purchase blueberry seeds that have undergone this process or do it yourself. It just seems a much quicker way is to get some blueberry cuttings or purchase a plant that is a year or two old.

You can even buy 3 year old or even older blueberry plants for not that much money. Just find a reputable blueberry farmer in your area or even online.

How to Grow Blueberries for Instant Gratification: I personally would purchase 3 year old plants as well as buy an early, mid-season, and late-season variety to get the most out of growing blueberries.

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