The Complete Gardener's Guide ,

Native to the United States, these delicious berries need minimal pruning or training and grow well in patio containers. The sweet, summer fruit is packed with goodness and tastes even better when cooked.

How to Grow

Blueberries need moist, acid soil with a pH of 4.0–5.5. They prefer full sun but will tolerate some shade. Plant bare root shrubs in the winter; plant container-grown shrubs at any time if well watered. Add leaf mold of composted pine needles to the planting hole to maintain acidity, and mulch in the spring with more of the same. Space blueberries 4 feet (1.2 m) apart, water well during dry spells, and net developing fruit against birds. Blueberries are partially self-pollinating and can pollinate their own flowers, but they crop better if other varieties are planted nearby. Don’t allow pot-grown plants to dry out, and feed regularly, especially when in fruit. Unless your soil is acidic, grow blueberries in large containers filled with ericaceous, lime-free compost, available from garden centers.

Varieties to try include: ‘Berkley’, ‘Bluecrop’, ‘Bluetta’, ‘Duke’, ‘Coville’, ‘Earliblue’, ‘Herbert’, ‘Patriot’, ‘Spartan’ and ‘Top Hat’.

Pruning and Training

Blueberries are pruned from late winter to early spring, when the swelling buds show which parts of the plant are alive. Avoid pruning stems with lots of healthy fat buds; these will bear fruit in the summer.

To prune established shrubs, prune out a few of the oldest stems, leaving 4–6 main shoots. Tip-prune stems that fruited last year, cutting back to strong buds. Remove lateral branches growing too close to the base, and thin the center of overgrown shrubs. Never remove more than a quarter of the shrub at once.

Watch Out for These Pests and Diseases


Grow These Blueberry Varieties 8 photos

Birds can strip plants of berries in a matter of hours. Net bushes before the fruit starts to ripen, and secure it at ground level so birds can’t sneak underneath.

Blueberry stem blight is a fungal disease that can also cause problems by entering enters the plants through wounds and pruning cuts. It causes the leaves to brown and die, weakening the plant and reducing the crop. Remove and destroy all infected growth.

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The Complete Gardener's Guide ,

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4 Comments About this Article

  • Mona Lisa
    Can I grow blueberries in NJ?

    Posted 2 months ago

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  • HGTVJessica
    Hi Mona, yes, pending on your conditions in your own backyard, you should find success with blueberries in New Jersey. In fact, many blueberries you find in the supermarket actually hail from New Jersey! I'd visit your local nursery or garden center -- you should be able to find a variety that will work in your area.

    Posted 2 months ago

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  • Kevin McIntosh
    What are the best Blueberry varieties for South East Texas?

    Posted 2 months ago

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  • HGTVJessica
    Hi Kevin, you'll find that Southern highbush and Rabbiteye blueberries can adapt to the heat. Your local garden center or nursery will be able to sell/give you information on the best types for your immediate area, but 'Pink Lemonade' (Southern Highbush), 'Millennia' (Southern Highbush), 'Austin' (Rabbiteye), 'Premier' (Rabbiteye) and 'PowderBlue' (Rabbiteye) are all types you might try in your garden. Make sure to add compost and organic matter to the soil, and make sure that your soil is acidic enough.

    Posted 2 months ago

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