Blueberries are a valued addition to any backyard garden. At The Nursery we have varieties that grow well here in Queensland's south-east corner. The shrubs are small enough to grow in a container yet big enough to produce a pleasing crop of delicious berries.
There is a lot we could say about the health benefits of blueberries. They are high on the list of antioxidant foods and are a valuable addition to any diet. In the months when your own plants are not producing, frozen berries are a good source of all the health benefits.
Growing Guide For BlueberriesDo not plant your blueberry plants in alkaline soil.
It will kill your plant!!
Soil: Blueberries prefer rich, moist, acidic, well drained soils high in organic matter. The best pH range for blueberries is 4 to 5.5. This is why it is often best to grow blueberries in a container so you can have better control over the acidity of the soil.
Only plant your blueberry in the ground if you know that the soil is acidic.
Try to avoid using manure, especially chicken or horse manure.
Location: Blueberries enjoy full sun or partial shade and need protection from strong winds, especially the very hot, dry summer winds we sometimes experience. When these winds blow keep the plants well watered.
Pots: Blueberries grow very well in a variety of containers and will grow to their full potential in a medium sized pot of 300 mm to 400 mm in diameter. A 45 litre GrowRite plant bag is also a good option.
Growing Medium: When planting your blueberry in a pot, use a potting mix that is formulated for plants that require acidic growing conditions such as Camellias and Azaleas. Also use a slow release fertilizer.
An alternative to purchasing a commercial acidic potting mix is to create your own blend by mixing peat moss and a standard potting mix together in the ratio of 1 part peat moss to 3 pats potting mix.
Your blueberries will benefit by a fortnightly application of seaweed solution and a weekly application of fish fertiliser during the growing season in spring, summer and early autumn.
Add a layer of leaf mulch to mimic the leaf litter of the forest floor. Pine needles are a good mulch because they are acidic and so enhance growth.
Pollination: The blueberry varieties sold in The Nursery are self-pollinating. The bees love the flowers which helps to support the dwindling bee population.
However, if you find that you are not getting a good crop of fruit, the planting of different compatible varieties can assist with the cross-pollination of flowers which will increase the crop yields.
Bees enjoy the blueberry flowers
Pruning: Blueberries do not need to be pruned other than to maintain the desired shape. Plants may be lightly pruned at any time during the growing season. If heavy pruning is required, wait till late winter when plants are dormant. Remember that excessive pruning will reduce the crop of berries because the flowers develop on the outer tips of the branches.
Enjoy Your Blueberries
Who doesn't enjoy a freshly cooked blueberry muffin?
The fruit is delicious when eaten fresh as well as being a welcome addition to many recipes for creative cooks.