Blueberries are plants for all weather; they produce beautiful flowers in spring, juicy and mouth-watering fruits in the summer, and colorful winter foliage.
Besides these, they are delicious and contain virtually all the nutrients the body needs. Blueberries are packed with antioxidants and vitamin C. Just one serving of blueberries can give you up to 25 percent of the recommended vitamin C intake. Blueberries also significantly affect regulating blood sugar in people with type 2 diabetes.
However, despite its benefits, some worry about planting blueberries because of the lack of space for planting. You can save space by growing blueberries in a pot if this is your case, and this article will give a straightforward guide on how to do that.
How To Grow Blueberries in a Pot
Growing blueberries in a pot is easier because you can control the moisture and pH level of the soil in the pot more effectively than on the ground. You would not also have to deal with birds targeting your plant because the pot can be situated at any desired and secured location. So to grow your blueberries in a pot, follow these simple steps for healthy and satisfying cultivation.
Step One: Get the Appropriate Container.
Blueberries need ample space to grow, so you should have a sizeable planting pot when choosing to grow them. The pot size could be a minimum of 24 inches deep and 24 to 30 inches wide.
If you are starting with a younger plant, choose a smaller pot and then re-pot it as it grows and gets larger. The container should also come with drainage holes and should be waterproof.
However, remember that the larger and heavier the container, the more difficulty you will have with mobility. So you should choose a good permanent spot for your pot or get a smaller pot that will be easier to move around if the need arises.
Step Two: Choose the Right Varieties
You can choose a variety or cultivar based on your desired fruit size; you should also consider a variety that performs well with your prevailing climate. Cultivars such as Misty and Gift coast do well in the Southern highbush, while cultivars such as Bluecrop, Jersey, Blueray, Darrow, and others perform better in the Northern highbush.
Other varieties that do well in a pot include the Rabbit Eye variety with Pink lemonade, Brightwell, Powder blue, and elite cultivars. You could also choose the low bush variety or contact your local farmer to know which species best suits your area.
Step Three: Aim for the Right Location
Blueberries need about six to eight hours of sunlight daily but also note that excess sunlight can make them overheat too. So if you live in a hotter climate, you want to provide shade or a tent for your plant.
Step Four: Get an Appropriate Soil or Potting Mix
Acidic soil and a good pH level are best for your blueberries to absorb water and nutrients. You can create or buy a potting mix that is acidic and blueberry-friendly. If you find getting a high-acid potting mix challenging, add a fertilizer blend for acid-loving plants and test the soil’s pH level.
Continue adjusting soil pH by either adding limestone to raise the pH or Iron Sulfate to lower the pH until you get the right soil acidity. You can likewise use an equal part of garden soil, rotted compost, and coarse sand.
Step Five: Planting your Blueberries
The seeds of blueberries are found inside the fruit, and it needs to be coaxed to separate it from the interior pulp. Another way of getting them is from the market, ensuring the seeds are from pollinating varieties. If you live in warm regions, you should start in the fall, while those in colder climates will find it better to start in the spring.
Put your seeds in the freezer for 90 days. Take them out and fill a tray with moist sphagnum moss. Sprinkle the seeds on the moss and cover lightly with the moss. Cover the tray with newspaper and place it where it can stay between 60 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove the newspaper and keep the tray where it can have indirect sunlight. Do this until the seedlings are some inches tall and can be transplanted into bigger pots.
Step Six: Provide Proper Support for Your Blueberry Plant
Only plant one blueberry bush per pot. However, you would need more than one blueberry pot for proper pollination. But as you get more pots and seedlings, try replicating their spacing, depth, and support. Top up with additional soil and water thoroughly to settle the soil and eliminate any air gap around the root. If you do this, the plant will not need additional support.
Step Seven: Water your Plant
Although blueberries like sandy, well-draining soil, they have shallow roots that dry out fast. So keep the soil moist but not soggy. Always check your soil one to two inches below the surface to know when to water it even if it rains; the leaves could sometimes shade and prevent the rain from getting to the root.
Step Eight: Pruning the Plant
The blueberry plant in your pot may only need pruning in the fourth year, although it can grow large. Use sharp garden tools that are sterilized to cut off weak, dead, low-growing branches. Pruning stimulates growth and allows sunlight to reach the middle of the plant.
How to Care for your Blueberries in a pot
Organic fertilizers designed explicitly for acid-loving plants would work best for your plant. Keep in mind that blueberries do not love excess fertilizer. You could add a half dose of fertilizer in the spring and a little more monthly dose throughout the growing season.
Choose two or three varieties of species within the same cultivar to plant as companion plants; companion plants help the blueberries in cross-pollination. Place the pots reasonably close to each other. Choose varieties that simultaneously bloom so that bees can easily cross-pollinate the plant.
Blueberries take a long time to mature, so be patient; you may only be able to harvest your blueberries after the first year of planting. However, once they begin bearing fruit, you can expect to harvest them for at least the next five years; picking happens between June and August.