Given large pots, many berries and currants will grow into substantial shrubs that need little pruning to maintain good harvests.
Worthy of a place in any garden, blueberries are attractive bushes with
fresh green foliage, clusters of white, urn-shaped flowers and heavy
crops of plump, blue-black berries from midsummer into fall. Plant them
in fall or spring in acid soil, which is easy to provide by filling
containers with ericaceous compost, and place pots in full sun or part
shade. Some blueberries are self-fertile, allowing solitary plants to
produce fruits, but yields tend to be better where several bushes are
How To Plant
- Cover the base of a 15in (38cm) pot with broken clay pot pieces and a layer of ericaceous compost. Plant the blueberry at the same level as before by placing its pot in the container, filling around it with compost, and firming.
- Remove the plastic pot and carefully place the plant into the remaining hole. Firm around the root ball to remove any gaps and dress the top of the pot with a little more ericaceous compost. Water the plant in thoroughly.
- Place the pot in sun or light shade and cover with netting to prevent
birds eating the berries. A bamboo cane pyramid shape with garden
netting stretched over it is secure, but easy to remove and replace when
Aftercare and Harvesting
Keep the compost moist and apply a liquid
acidic fertilizer once a month during the growing season. Also repot
plants into slightly larger containers every two years. Blueberries have
few pest and disease problems, but birds enjoy the fruits, so protect
bushes with nets. Although regular pruning is not essential, cut back
dead or damaged stems to the base of the plant in winter. Pick berries
as they ripen.
Although the fruit can be difficult to find or expensive to buy in the
stores, gooseberries are easy to grow in containers. Plant in 15in
(38cm) pots during the dormant season, between late fall and late
winter, in a soil-based compost. Bushes stay healthy and fruit ripens
best in a sunny spot with good air circulation, but they can tolerate
some shade. Gooseberries are self-fertile and can be grown as single
plants. They also respond well to being trained up walls or fences as
cordons, which look great and save space.
Aftercare and Harvesting
Do not allow the compost to dry out and water plants regularly, but not heavily, in dry weather to prevent the fruits from splitting. Apply a liquid tomato fertilizer every two weeks when the plant comes into leaf. Gooseberries can be picked from early summer, although their sweetness and flavor develops the longer they are left on the bush. Net plants to protect ripening fruits from birds; American gooseberry mildew and gooseberry sawfly are common problems in gardens. Green-fruited gooseberries have a sharp taste and are best cooked with some sugar, while the red varieties are sweet enough to eat straight from the bush.
These tough shrubs grow vigorously and require large containers, at least 18in (45cm) wide and deep. They crop heavily in summer, and the fruit makes delicious preserves and freezes well for later use. Plant currants from late fall to late winter in soil-based compost, and place in a sheltered spot in full sun or partial shade. Plant black currants deeply and straight after planting; cut all the stems back to within 2in (5cm) of the soil to encourage new shoots to form. Prune the branches of red and white currants back by half after planting. Keep plants well watered, and feed every two weeks with a tomato fertilizer from spring to early summer.
Types of Currants
- Red currants: Glorious when draped with strings of ruby-red berries, train the long stems on wires against walls or fences where space is limited.
- Black currants: An essential fruit for desserts and jams, modern, compact cultivars are best for containers and boast superior flavor.
- White currants: These delicate, translucent berries are difficult to find
in the stores and have a bold, sharp flavor similar to red currants.