Facts, Tips and Tricks to Growing Blueberries

Blueberries, the superfood you can grow in your own backyard!
Blueberries, the superfood you can grow in your own backyard! | Source

Blueberries, the super hero of the superfoods. One of the most recognizable superfood comes in a little tiny blueberry that grows on a group of canes that form a bush. We all know that blueberries are delicious and amazing for your health but did you know you could be your own food super hero and grow this berry in your own backyard?

Just imagine picking fresh blueberries to add to your breakfast cereal or throwing a handful of your backyard berries in your smoothie for an antioxidant boost! Or better yet, use the tiny fruit in your muffins, baked goods or desserts. The options are endless! But you have to grow them first.

Below is a list of facts, tips and tricks of how to grow blueberries. All of which will have you growing pounds and pounds of blueberries every summer! Don't think you have room to grow blueberries? Don't write them off too quick! Find out to grow blueberries in a small space below.

Blueberry plants make for beautiful fall foliage!
Blueberry plants make for beautiful fall foliage! | Source
The often underrated bell-shaped blueberry flowers are delicate, yet beautiful!
The often underrated bell-shaped blueberry flowers are delicate, yet beautiful! | Source
My blueberry bush in bloom in 2013
My blueberry bush in bloom in 2013 | Source
My 'Sunshine Blue' Blueberry bush had very patriotic flowers! Red white and blue!
My 'Sunshine Blue' Blueberry bush had very patriotic flowers! Red white and blue! | Source

Facts For Growing Blueberries

  • Blueberries are a superfood. Therefore they are excellent for your health and not to mention delicious! These berries are anti-inflammatory, packed with antioxidants, high in potassium and vitamin C. This makes them great for lowering your risk of heart disease, cancer and possibly alzheimer's. How can you say no to such a delectable and healthy food! source:
  • There are two common species of blueberry. The “low-bush blueberries” are generally considered the wild blueberry and are do really well in northern latitudes. Low bush varieties do well in the state of Maine. The other variety is called “High-Bush Blueberries”. This variety is the taller blueberry bush that you will most likely find at the garden center. There are many types of high bush blueberries that do well all across the United States.
  • Blueberries are native to North America, so if you live there, most likely it will be easier to grow! Over the years blueberries have spread across the global and now can be found growing in the United States, parts of Europe, Canada, parts of South America and even Australia! (Source Wikipedia, use map)
  • Blueberry plants aren’t just a great food producers, they also make for beautiful addition to anyone’s landscape. Lets face it, some plants that we grow for food are just not that great looking in our landscape or gardens but that’s not a problem with blueberries. Not only do they have a nice shape to form a hedge, they also have beautiful fall foliage that will add great interest to your yard. The striking variations in red leaves will wow you and your neighbors come fall! And that’s not all, in spring the plants produces beautiful bell-shaped flowers that eventually develop into your berries. It’s a win-win situation!
  • Blueberry plants are perennials. This means they will go dormant in the winter and return every spring. This makes for a great investment, especially if you buy plants cheap in the fall season or young plants for $10. Eventually, each bush should produce 6 - 15 pounds of berries per season! We all know how expensive a pint of blueberries can be at the supermarket! By planting your own bushes, they practically pay for themselves in no time!
  • Like all berry plants, blueberry plants do need to be pruned. Younger canes produce more fruit and the only way these canes will grow is if you make room for them. To do this, remove the damaged and older canes. Older canes will be thicker, more woody and produce less flower buds. However, the best time to prune is late in the winter before buds really start forming. Canes will produce healthy fruit for up to six years. Check out the University of Maine video below to see how to correctly prune a blueberry bush.
  • The blueberry flower is a beautiful small bell shape. What makes them special is that you don’t have to worry about frost damage from a late spring freeze, blooms can withstand temperature as low as 28 degrees! Other fruits, especially cherry, apple and pear trees have had problems when blooms are threatened by a frost or freeze, resulting in significantly less fruit that season.

Get great deals on blueberries and other berry plants in the fall!
Get great deals on blueberries and other berry plants in the fall! | Source

Tips For Growing Blueberries

  • If your patient, you can get blueberry plants on sale in the fall. I’ve gotten plants as low as $2 at garden centers. This is compared to paying $10 a plant in the spring. Just make sure to plant the bushes and protect them during the winter months.
  • If you find it hard to eat all the fresh blueberries your bushes are producing, why not freeze some! Blueberries are perfect for freezing! Just gently wash blueberries off and place on a small tray. You want the berries to each freeze individually and not as a clump. Place berries in the freezer and let freeze for a couple hours. Store frozen blueberries in a freezer bag or better yet, divide the frozen berries up into individual bags. A good portion size is one cup of blueberries in each bag, This way you can just grab a bag and throw it into your healthy smoothie without even thinking!

A great way to store blueberries is to freeze them!
A great way to store blueberries is to freeze them! | Source
One of my blueberry bushes in a container and in full bloom!
One of my blueberry bushes in a container and in full bloom! | Source
My blueberry plant in a container also makes for a great addition to the patio!
My blueberry plant in a container also makes for a great addition to the patio! | Source
Free coffee grounds for your garden from Starbucks!
Free coffee grounds for your garden from Starbucks! | Source

Do you grow blueberries in your yard?

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Tricks For Growing Blueberries

  • No room in your yard? Don’t have a yard? Don’t have acidic soil? No problem, blueberries can be grown in containers. This is actually how I grow my blueberries and I’ve been pretty successful! You do want to take some steps to insure your blueberry plants stay healthy. First, plants need to be planted in larger pots to insure enough room for the roots to grow. I recommend 16 inch pots are larger. If you’re planning on keeping the plants in containers for many years, considered replacing the soil and changing to a slightly larger pot every few years. By using a container, you can also control the acidity of the soil, creating the perfect conditions for growing blueberries. Stick to varieties that are slightly smaller, you don’t want a blueberry bush that’s supposed to be six to eight feet high in a tiny pot.
  • Growing two or more blueberry varieties near each other will give you more berries! Like many fruits, cross pollination is a necessity for blueberries but it also results in much larger yields. However, you can not just plant random blueberry plants next to each other. You need plants that will bloom at the same time. So when buying blueberry bushes always know what variety you are buying. Many plants will have tags with appropriate companion bushes to plant near by. The bushes I currently have planted are Chippewa, Briggita and Duke, which all aid each other in larger yields. I also had Sunshine Blue blueberry plants but they ended up being damaged by the extreme cold and dying.
  • Like coffee? Did you know the left over coffee grounds can you’re your blueberries? Yes, blueberry plants love coffee grounds! They make for a fantastic fertilizer and addition to the soil around the plant. Coffee grounds will lower the ph of soil, which is great for blueberry bushes because they like acidic soil. This is also great if you are growing bushes in a container and want to maintain a nutrient dense, healthy pot of dirt. Just sprinkle a little bit of coffee grounds around the plant in the early spring but be careful not to add too much, as with anything, moderation is key. Don’t drink coffee? no problem, Starbucks can give you coffee grounds for free! Just ask your local barista!

My new Duke Blueberry bush that I bought in the spring of 2015.
My new Duke Blueberry bush that I bought in the spring of 2015. | Source
Sadly, pulling up the Sunshine Blueberry bush that never recovered after extreme cold last winter.
Sadly, pulling up the Sunshine Blueberry bush that never recovered after extreme cold last winter. | Source

My Experience Growing Blueberries

My experience with blueberries began years ago when I first started enjoying the little blue fruit. I was actually a very picky eater when I was young so I didn't really appreciate or enjoy blueberries till my late teens and early twenties. Now i'm in LOVE with this fruit!

In my college years, I began to become aware of the energy, the food miles and the chemicals it took to grow much of the food we eat and decided to do something about it. I started my own vegetable garden.

After a few season, I began to think outside of just vegetables and dreamed of rows and rows of blueberry shrubs. Unfortunately, I have no room in my yard for a nice blueberry patch. Then out of the blue (get it? Blueberries lol, bad pun!) I saw blueberry plants on sale for seven dollars at the garden center in the spring of 2012 and couldn't resist buying some. This is when I bought my first two blueberry bushes. They were a cold hardy, half-high hybrid variety named Chippewa. Since It was an impulse buy, I wasn't sure where I was going to put the plants and this is when I learned about planting blueberries in containers. So I bought two large pots and filled them up with some potting soil and some peat moss. They looked fantastic on my back deck and even gave me some berries that first year. Unfortunately, I lost one plant by August because the pot was not draining correctly and we had a very wet end to summer.

As the fall of 2012 approached, I realized I needed another blueberry bush for the following year. So I decided to stop by a garden center one day and I'm so glad I did! One of the best deals I've ever discovered happened at that garden center. Berry plants were on sale for $2! I ended up buying two Sunshine Blue blueberry plants, a Brigitta blueberry plant, an Apache Thornless blackberry bush and two 16 inch pots for an astounding price of...$12!!!!

Winter of 2012-2013 I was smart enough to place my blueberry bushes in my shed right before the infamous blizzard Nemo hit! My area received about 40 inches of snow in one night! This certainly would have crushed my plants if I had not protected them. Summer of 2013 resulted in an awesome harvest from all four blueberry bushes.

Winter of 2013-2014 brought extreme cold for my area, which resulted in some damage to my Sunshine Blue plants (they're better suited for areas further south). One was lost and the other one was severely damaged. The summer of 2014 resulted in less blueberries, mostly because I lost one bush, another was damaged and the other two needed some pruning.

This past winter, 2014-2015 was the coldest on record for my area and resulted in the lost of the other sunshine blue plant. So this spring I went back to the garden center and bought a Duke Blueberry plant. I also pruned my other remaining plants which includes my Chippewa and Brigitta plants. Hopefully, this summer will be bountiful!

Interested in growing blueberries but not sure where to start? Check out the chart below to see some popular blueberry varieties in North America and which hardiness zone they belong to. If you're not sure which zone you are located in, find out here. Once you get started, you'll be enjoying blueberries in no time!

Popular Blueberry Varieties in North America

Variety
zones
Ripens
Yeild
Brigitta
4-7
mid season
high
Duke
4-7
early
high
Gulf Coast
6-10
early
10-12 pounds
Jersey
4-7
mid season
7-10 pounds
O'Neal
5-9
very early
10-20 pounds
Pink Lemonade
4-7
late mid season
moderate
Sunshine Blue
6-10
mid season
5-10 pounds
Top Hat
4-7
mid season
3 pounds
Information found at http://www.blueberrycroft.com/cms/faq/93

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12 comments

Glimmer Twin Fan profile image

Glimmer Twin Fan 19 months ago

What a great and useful hub! I love blueberries but have never had success in growing them.


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 19 months ago from Somewhere in the universe

I'm trying to grow some blueberries now! Thanks for the tips.


BWD316 profile image

BWD316 19 months ago from Connecticut Author

Thanks Glimmer Twin Fan! I'm glad you find it useful. I hope you have better luck with your blueberries!


BWD316 profile image

BWD316 19 months ago from Connecticut Author

That's awesome Austinstar! Good luck with your blueberries!


pstraubie48 profile image

pstraubie48 19 months ago from sunny Florida

So much helpful information here. I have NO blueberry plants as I have just moved to a new location but they are one of my favorite fruits so I will be reviewing your notes as I plant my new bushes. the local nursery has excellent ones for great prices.

My sweet little friends brought me a quart they had picked at a local patch yesterday. I am having some this evening.

voted up+++ and shared Angels are on the way to you this afternoon ps


BWD316 profile image

BWD316 19 months ago from Connecticut Author

Thanks pstraubie48! The local nursery is an excellent place to start! Good luck with the new bushes, i'm sure you'll be enjoying homegrown berries in no time! Thanks for the vote up! Have a great evening enjoying those fresh berries from your friends!


vespawoolf profile image

vespawoolf 19 months ago from Peru, South America

The title of this Hub caught my eye right away. Blueberries were unknown in Peru until just recently. I don't know which variety is being cultuvated here, but I had never thought of growing them in a pot! I plan to look into finding a plant soon. Thanks for the information and inspiration.


BWD316 profile image

BWD316 19 months ago from Connecticut Author

Thanks Vespawoolf! That's so exciting! I did a quick google search on blueberries in Peru and it looks like a booming industry. Hopefully, that will make finding the right variety to grow easier. Thanks for leaving a comment!


vocalcoach profile image

vocalcoach 19 months ago from Nashville Tn.

I'll be growing potted blueberries after reading your helpful hub. Thanks so much. Voted up and sharing.


BWD316 profile image

BWD316 19 months ago from Connecticut Author

Thanks vocalcoach! That's awesome, you'll have to let me know how you make out!


agvulpes profile image

agvulpes 19 months ago from Australia

G'day Brian thanks for this great lesson on growing Blueberries I will have to find a plant, Over here in Southern Australia the prices vary quite a bit but atm I am paying about $6 for about 4 oz so it would be worth while growing a bush :)


BWD316 profile image

BWD316 19 months ago from Connecticut Author

Hey agvupes! Yes, they definitely can be a money saver. Two summers ago I was able to have a handful of fresh blueberries on my cereal every morning for breakfast from Late July until Early September! Thanks for commenting!

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