If you love the taste of freshly grown berries but thought that growing them at home was impossible? Think again! If you’re a fruit lover with even the smallest bit of outdoor space, then container gardening could be perfect for you. Growing blueberries in containers is an easy and convenient way to have a supply of fresh blueberries right at your fingertips. Read on to find out how to grow blueberries in containers for a bountiful harvest.
Blueberries are a nutrient-packed and wildly versatile fruit, perfect for any diet. If your space is limited, you can still enjoy homegrown blueberries with some container gardening tips! Growing these delicious berries in containers will enable even small spaces to become fruitful gardens.
Why Learn How to Grow Blueberries in Containers
Not only are blueberries mouth-watering in pancakes, muffins, and smoothies, but their nutritional value is what really makes them a must-have for preserving our immune systems – which has never been more essential than it is now with so much going on in our world.
It’s true – blueberries are the perfect snack! Packed with protein, fiber, Vitamin C, manganese, and Vitamin K1. Plus they contain lesser amounts of copper, and vitamins B6 and E. But that’s not all – these sweet treats provide antioxidants to keep your body strong and healthy which supports many important systems in your body to fend off colds and disease.
Growing blueberry bushes in raised bed planters is my preferred method. It could be an ideal solution for those with limited gardening space or who are looking to have fewer bushes. Additionally, by having the berries at a more accessible height, you may find that harvesting them becomes much easier.
How many blueberry bushes should I plant?
Growing blueberries is pretty easy. Each bush yields 5-7 pints of berries each season. The rule of thumb is 3 bushes for one person; however, we plant 6-8 bushes per person. If you enjoy them as much as my family does, you’ll need more!
Size Requirements for Containers
If you purchase a potted blueberry bush, the container should be double the diameter of the pot it comes in. If you buy a bare root plant, the container needs to be twice the diameter of the root system.
Young blueberry bushes will need to be repotted once a year to allow room for new growth. Once a bush is 8 years old, it is considered mature and there is no further need for repotting. The container for a mature blueberry bush needs to be at least 24 inches deep and 30 inches wide.
Late January or early February is the best time to replant and prune your fruit trees. This allows time for the bushes to recover before the sap begins to flow.
What type of soil do blueberry bushes need?
Healthy, nutrient-dense soil is essential for producing nutritious high yields. By growing blueberry bushes in containers, it’s easy to maintain the well-draining, acidic soil they need.
If their leaves start to turn yellow, it’s likely time to give them a nutrient boost with fertilizer. Be sure to use organic fertilizer for acid-loving plants.
How much sun do blueberry bushes need?
To be their healthiest and most productive, blueberries need 8 or more hours of direct sunlight. Plant them in an area that offers shelter from strong winds and also allows for ample sunshine.
To ensure the health of your plants, be sure to water them in the morning before the sun heats up and avoid watering in the evening. If you must water in the evening, only drench the soil and not the leaves.
If water is on the leaves when the sun bears down on them, they will burn. Having wet leaves overnight from watering in the evenings makes them vulnerable to fungal growth and other illnesses.
Blueberry bushes thrive in moist soil, yet suffer when the ground is soggy. During their fruit-bearing stage, they require 4 inches of water a week but for the rest of the year, 1 inch will suffice.
When will my blueberry bushes start producing fruit?
After only two to three years of growth, blueberry bushes begin bearing fruit, with peak production happening around six years. At 8 years old, these hardy plants reach full maturity – and that can be just the beginning! With proper care, your bushes can live up to 50 fruitful seasons!
For a quicker harvest, I suggest purchasing two-year-old blueberry bushes rather than one-year-old bushes. You should pluck off any blooms for the first season of growth to give the bushes time to build a strong root system and bush structure without sacrificing energy on fruit production -– this practice has delivered consistently successful results for me!
Which type of blueberry bush should I plant?
When learning how to grow blueberry bushes in containers, you need to know they can be divided into four basic groups with each group having an array of varieties.
- Highbush Blueberry – Subdivided into Northern and Southern Highbush these are the most common type. These can reach heights between 4-7 ft tall and a circumference close to 5 feet wide.
- Lowbush Blueberry – These do best in cold climates. Towering at a mere two feet in height and measuring up to three feet round, this variety is the shortest of them all.
- Hybrid Half-High Blueberry – Blending the best attributes of both Highbush and Lowbush, this hybrid boasts a maximum height and circumference of 4 feet. It is especially suited to cooler or mild climates for optimal growth.
- Rabbiteye Blueberry – Perfect for hot climates, these ancient blueberry bushes can reach up to 10 feet in height and width.
Do you need 2 blueberry bushes to produce fruit?
Although they are self-pollinating, having more than one blueberry bush, not only increases the yields but also extends their fruit-bearing season.
Note: Lowbush and Highbush have two varieties that are NOT self-pollinating. Make sure you check the label on the bush, or ask the person who works at the nursery, to be sure you are getting the type of bush you want.
Where to plant blueberries in yard?
If you don’t want to grow blueberry bushes in containers, be sure not to plant them near trees! Trees often create too much shade plus their roots will take up moisture and essential nutrients from the soil before your bushes can.
Common Pests and Diseases
Wildlife is your biggest problem with blueberry bushes. Deer and birds enjoy the leaves and berries, but by using netting or electric fencing you can quickly win this war!
Blueberry bushes rarely suffer from pest and disease issues, but when they do it is usually maggots, fruit worms, or certain fungal diseases. To protect my plants without harming beneficial insects I use a non-toxic neem oil spray to treat the problem effectively. This spray is a powerful fungicide and pesticide, and we even use it to eliminate stink bugs with ease.
TFL Neem Oil Spray: Makes 1/2 gallon
- Spray bottle (1/2 Gallon or smaller)
- 1 Tbs pure, cold-pressed, raw neem oil
- 1 tsp pure baking soda
- 1 tsp castile soap or mild dishwashing soap
- Add all these to your spray bottle then add enough water to finish filling the bottle.
- Shake well and spray.
- Shake well before each use.
Blueberry bushes are a great addition to any garden. Knowing how to grow blueberry bushes in containers makes them a perfect fit for any space. They require acidic soil, plenty of sun, and the right amount of water to produce high yields of delicious fruit.
With proper care and maintenance, these hardy plants can provide you with years of nutritious harvests! Be sure to keep an eye out for common pests and diseases and use neem oil spray to treat them when necessary.
Now that you are equipped to grow blueberries in containers, it’s time to unlock your own Blueberry thrill by trusting yourself and following these steps for growing them in containers. With a little love, you’ll be enjoying your very own blueberry bounty in no time!