In the last year or so, blueberries have gained international attention as a “super food”, full of healthy nutrients and anti-oxidants. The research behind these findings is well documented. Because of this attention, the demand for blueberries has never been higher, thus the cost of blueberries has never been higher. Subsequently, more and more people are interested in growing blueberries in their home garden. Unfortunately, blueberry bushes require proper planning and maintenance to grow successfully and produce healthy blueberries. Without the required soil preparation and plant maintenance, the blueberry bush will most certainly die as a worst case or will not produce the blueberries that you want.
I have made it a hobby of mine to assist people with planting blueberry bushes successfully via articles, web sites, blogs, and e-mail. Due to these efforts, I have received numerous communications regarding interest in planting blueberry bushes. Most of these communications have been from eager gardeners ready to get started. However, I have received many questions from people frustrated by the fact that they wanted to plant a blueberry bush but thought that they could not because they lived in an apartment, town house, or other residence that did not have a yard. Well, I am here to tell you that you can still plant a blueberry bush! The purpose of this article is to tell you how to do it.
No matter where you live, you can plant a blueberry bush (or more than one if you’d like!). One of my favorite methods of gardening is container gardening. This method is really exactly what it sounds like: instead of planting in the ground, you plant in a container of some sort. I’ve seen old boots used as a plant container! The best thing about container gardening is that you have total control over the soil where the plant will grow. Therefore, you can assure that the perfect conditions are maintained for the specific plant in your container. Another advantage of container gardening is that even those in apartments, town homes, etc. can use a patio or balcony to garden.
For a blueberry bush, you need a good sized container. I have used an old whiskey barrel cut in half to grow blueberry bushes, and it works phenomenally well. Obviously, the container must fit the area where you plan on placing it, but you get the idea. Many garden centers have a variety of containers suitable for planting a blueberry. I am partial to natural materials like stone or wood, but you may use whatever appeals to you.
Once you have selected your container, you need to buy the blueberry plant. While there are dwarf varieties available, the berries are not that great. Dwarf bushes are more for ornamental purposes. The highbush variety is by far the best to grow for the sweetest blueberries. When buying your blueberry bush, it is best to buy it as a bare root cutting. Why? Many full grown plants available at nurseries and “supercenters” are full of disease. Of course, you won’t know that until after you plant it. Bare root cuttings give you the best chance of growing a healthy, productive blueberry bush.
Okay, now it’s time to prepare the container. You will need to fill the container 3/4 full with organic material. I always use a 50/50 mix of peat moss and compost. Blueberry bushes require an acidic soil, and this mix will achieve that. Once you have done this, you may plant your bush so that the roots are entirely under the surface of the soil. Then, water the container thoroughly and make sure that your container allows for drainage, otherwise the plant will get root rot and die. Finally, add some shredded bark mulch on top of the soil. This will help maintain a moist soil during the heat of the summer. Be sure to check the soil every day to see if it needs water. Do not over water.
Using these tips, you can grow a blueberry bush at home no matter where you live. Happy gardening!