How to Grow Blueberries in Pots? When you don’t have a huge garden area or if your garden area is dark, growing blueberries in large pots is a great method to grow some of your own food at home (blueberries like full sun). This brief will provide you with the fundamental requirements for success! How to Grow Blueberries in Pots?
Benefits of Growing Blueberries in Pots
There are several advantages to growing blueberries in pots, including:
- If a hailstorm or other severe weather is forecast, you can immediately relocate them.
- In the winter, deer and rabbits will not eat them.
- If your location changes, they are simple to transfer outside.
- It is simple to keep weeds and grass at bay.
- If they are close to the home, you may be able to gather the berries before the birds do. If not, some bird netting can be used to protect plants from birds.
What size of Container or Pot?
As a blueberry grower, I cultivate my plants in the field, but each plant has its own 3-foot hole with its own soil. When growing blueberries in pots, the same principles apply.
Most “low bush” or “half high” blueberry types grow to a width of roughly 3 feet and a height of 2 to 4 feet in the field. A “highbush” blueberry will grow to be 7 to 8 feet tall and 4 to 6 feet wide. The drip line is determined by the width.
Because blueberries grow shallow roots, a fairly wide container is required, but it does not need to be excessively deep. Consider the drip line and purchase a large container (at least 20′′) to allow the roots to spread out. The pot’s height should be around 2 feet.
Which Varieties will Grow Best in Pots
There are numerous varieties of blueberries, and if you are growing in the garden or field, it is critical to select a variety that will thrive in your climate zone.
One of the low shrub or half-high variants would be best for zones 4 and cooler. De Grandchamps Farm in Michigan is my favourite nursery for ordering blueberry plants. I’ve been growing plants from them for many years (600 plants to be exact) and they are the best, providing healthy plants as well as information on which plants are best for your zone.
When growing blueberries in pots, you have more variety options because you can quickly move them and shield them from harsher weather and elements (and deer).
While high bush blueberries can be grown in pots, consider their mature height (7 to 8 feet) and spread (3-5 feet) and determine if you truly want to plant in a large pot. Half-high varieties cultivated in pots can produce a very good harvest. North Blue, Polaris, Chippewa, and Northland are some popular half-high kinds that grow well in containers.
Finally, growing two different types will yield significantly more berries. The bees will pollinate the plants, resulting in a much larger harvest. To maximise harvest time, I purchase an early variety (Polaris), a mid-season variety (Northland), and a late variety (Chippewa). Blueberry season in Minnesota typically begins in mid-July and lasts until mid-to-late August.
How to Grow Blueberries in Pots?
Full sun, like for most berries and vegetables, is essential for a good crop. Blueberries will survive in shaded settings, but there will be little fruit. Full sun is defined as 6 hours of direct sunlight every day. Blueberries can tolerate much more sun than that, but 6 hours is likely the bare minimum.
When it comes to soil, there are two main factors to consider: acidity and drainage. Blueberries prefer acidic soil, but they also prefer well-drained, nutrient-rich soil. Sand drains efficiently, but fertilisers and minerals go away quickly. Clay will retain too much water, and blueberries dislike having damp feet for an extended period of time.
When growing in the field, the best combination I’ve discovered is to dig a 3-foot hole and fill it with 1/3 peat (for acid), 1/3 compost (for drainage), and 1/3 garden soil (for micronutrients).
When growing in pots, I recommend a mixture of half peat and half decent (but sterile) potting soil. Mix it thoroughly since water will wick off the peat and not reach the roots if it is just layered into the pot. Mulch the top with pine needles or wood chips to keep the soil moist. The peat will provide sufficient acid for the first year. After that, fertilise with blueberry plant fertiliser (available in all nurseries).
Scratch a little elemental sulphur around the drip-line in the fall to keep them acidic throughout time. It will gradually dissolve and contribute to the soil’s acidity. This is a natural technique to combat acidity. Miracid also works, but it is not organic. Overfertilization can scorch their weak roots, so resist the urge.
Conduct some study to choose the ideal variety for your growing conditions and environment. These inquiries should be sent to your local extension service. Also, even if the nursery informs you that you don’t need two distinct types to receive berries, plant at least two different varieties to get MORE berries. Bees enjoy cross-pollinating. The more options you have, the better. It also helps to extend the season if you choose an early, mid-season, and late variety.
How Long Before Blueberry Plants Produce Fruit?
Blueberry bushes are considered mature when they reach the age of 5 years. The first year, you should obtain a couple handfuls of berries, with the yield increasing each year following that. The typical harvest at maturity is roughly 5 quarts per plant (depending on variety and growing conditions)
How Long Do They Live?
Blueberries are perennial plants. They can live in the earth for up to 30 years (mine are 28 years old). They also live a long time in pots. I’ve had 5 types in pots for the past 8 years.
They are woody plants, so removing the old, really woody canes as they mature will encourage new fruiting canes to sprout from the roots. However, do this before they bloom, as bees need to pollinate the blooms in order to produce fruit.
Wintering Over Plants in Pots
When growing blueberries in containers, the winter cold might be a limiting issue. They dislike having their root systems fully frozen, which is more possible if they are cultivated above ground in a cold region. It is vital to have proper drainage in order to avoid ice buildup during freezing winter conditions. Drill holes in your containers if necessary. In the late fall, you can also store them in an unheated garage. You will need to water them twice or three times over the winter.
They dislike totally drying out because they lack root hairs. Most plant roots receive water and nutrients thanks to root hairs. Blueberries are extremely sensitive to too much or too little water without the root hairs.
Also Read: How to Grow Raspberries from Seed?