Who doesn’t love blueberries, and what could be better than growing your own? Luckily they are straightforward to grow once you know what you are doing.
So follow my simple guide to having blueberry abundance. You never know; some might even return from the garden without being eaten first…
How To Buy Blueberries
Blueberries are readily available as potted plants for most of the year.
You can find them in garden centres, B&Q, Wickes Etc. They are also sometimes available cheaply in places like Aldi and Lidl.
If you want one right now, then they can also be purchased online. Look at online garden centres like Thompson & Morgan and Suttons, and you can even get them on Amazon.
There are a few things to look for when buying Blueberries: the variety and the size of the plant.
Many varieties of Blueberries are available, and they all fruit at different times of the year. So mixing and matching a few different types can extend your fruiting season by many months.
When it comes to plant size, then look at the size of the pot they come in, as this is all the sizing information you will get. The bigger the pot, the bigger the plant – generally speaking.
Smaller plants will be cheaper but will take longer to produce any quantity of fruit. I bought small, cheap plants and barely got a handful of fruit off them in the first year.
How To Plant
Blueberries like acidic soil, so you need to take extra steps when planting them, you can’t just put them in regular garden soil and expect them to thrive.
They can be planted in the ground or into pots, but you must use acidic compost. Acidic compost is what ericaceous compost is, so make sure you grab a bag of that when you buy your plants.
I like to dig a big hole much bigger than the pot the blueberries are in and then backfill it with ericaceous compost to ensure they have plenty of acidic soil to grow into. I will then plant the blueberry in the middle.
Plant it to the same depth as it is in the pot.
Blueberries aren’t too challenging to grow, but there are a few things you need to know.
When feeding blueberries, you must use an ericaceous feed for acid-loving plants. You shouldn’t use regular plant food.
This is the one I like to use, and it is just applied as a granular fertilizer by scattering it around the plant.
Another tip for blueberries is to water them with rain water only; never tap water!
You can do this by using saved rainwater from a water butt.
You don’t want to use tap water because it is very alkaline and will change the pH of your soil – reducing its acidity.
When young blueberries don’t require much pruning, but as they age, it is advised to remove older branches.
As your branches get older, they will get less and less productive, and they tend to reach peak productivity when the branch is around three years old. After this, you should start thinking about removing the branches.
You cut them out right at the base with a pair of high-quality secateurs.
A top tip is to tape any unproductive branches you spot when the plant is in fruit. You can then remove them in spring. This is what the orange tape is in the above photo.
If you get a lot of birds in your garden/allotment, then you will probably want to think about netting your blueberry bushes, or else the birds might get the entire harvest.
You want to try and keep this taught and not resting on the plants. Otherwise, the birds can eat the berries through the netting.
Some garden canes with pots on the end to stop them from ripping the netting is a great way to keep the net off your plant.
In spring, it can also be necessary to fleece your plants if they are in flower and a frost is expected. Otherwise, the flowers can be destroyed before they have a chance to turn into fruit.
Your blueberries will go through a couple of stages after finishing fruiting. In autumn, the leaves will turn a lovely dark red colour.
After this, when we enter winter, they will fall off entirely, don’t worry, this is expected.
You don’t need to do too much over winter other than add some mulch. Woodhcips and pine needles are great as they add a little acidity to the soil.
I use my Christmas tree for this every year. I cut the branches off and place them around the base of my blueberries to increase the soil’s acidity and smother any weeds.
So there we have it, my step-by-step guide to growing blueberries. If you have any questions or tips, please let me know in the comments below.
Good luck with your own blueberries,