Blueberries grow best when they have plenty of sunlight, good soil, and space to grow. Unfortunately, this is a difficult combination to find for many people who live in urban settings. Luckily, there are easy ways to grow blueberries in containers! This article will discuss how you can grow blueberries in pots and the benefits and drawbacks.
But don’t let the drawbacks worry you, container-grown blueberries are absolutely wonderful and produce heavily! With limited space, you can grow quite a harvest of berries to use, store and process.
Fresh healthy blueberry plants on your patio or deck!
Growing blueberries in containers is a great way to grow your own fresh, organic blueberries, no matter where you live! Have you seen the price of organic blueberries at the grocery stores these days? Right? Wow.
Plant 2-3 high bush blueberries on your deck and have access to fresh blueberries all summer long with enough to save and freeze or preserve for the winter months.
It’s easy-peasy but does require a bit of knowledge to ensure your plants thrive.
Advantages of growing blueberries in containers
- We already touched on cost, but it’s worth mentioning again. Of all my crops, blueberries are by far the best investment. You can grow enough blueberries for your entire family with a few bush-style plants planted in containers with enough left over to make jams, pies, or even freeze for winter.
- Blueberries that grow in containers tend to grow up instead of out, allowing for more plants shoulder to shoulder. Therefore, you can get more plants in less space if you go the container route with your blueberry plants.
- Exposure to the elements also makes blueberries grow sweeter and juicier, so having blueberries grown in a container can contribute to a better-tasting berry. In addition, containers can be moved around to the sunnier areas of your patio or yard quite easily.
Disadvantages of growing blueberries in containers
There are a few challenges when growing blueberries in containers:
- One of the biggest challenges is that your pot will need more frequent watering because the pots will dry out quicker.
- In colder northern climates, the container-grown blueberry plants pose some challenges. If left out in the elements during a hard frost, the blueberry plant can die even if it is hardy to your zone. If you want to grow blueberries in containers in the North, plant the container with the blueberry bush in the ground before the first hard frost. You can also wrap the plant and container in double coat of burlap and leave it in a cold garage or shed over winter.
Soil requirements for container-grown blueberries:
Blueberry plants require soil that is rich in organic matter. The best soil to grow blueberries in containers would be a mixture of good potting soil and compost.
You will also need to ensure that the soil’s acidity is high. Blueberries require the soil to have a pH between 4.3 to 5.5 pH. You can add sulphur, coffee grounds, or pine needles to help acidify the soil.
I like to use these easy acid kits to test my soil to ensure that the acidity is at the right level for plants like blueberries or acid-loving flowers like azaleas.
It is also important to use potting soil that has good drainage properties to avoid having soggy soil, which may produce mould or rot your blueberries.
Sun requirements for potted blueberries
Container-grown blueberries grow best in full sunlight. However, they will grow well with some shade and partial sun, but it may take longer to produce fruit.
Blueberry plants are also susceptible to heat, so make sure they grow in a cooler location.
I like to keep my blueberry plants close to my pine trees where they receive a good deal of morning and early afternoon sun, but get a bit of shade for the harshest sunlight during the late afternoon.
Watering recommendations for blueberry plants.
Blueberries require enough water to keep the soil moist at all times.
The best way to water potted plants is with a soaker hose or drip irrigation system. Drip systems are ideal for container gardens as they allow you to water in smaller increments throughout the day, rather than in one large amount at once.
Note: Keep an eye out for your blueberry containers during extreme heat. They may need to be watered more than once a day during heat waves. Check them in the morning and early evening.
How to fertilize container-grown blueberries.
Blueberry plants grow best with a high level of organic matter, so any well-balanced compost or aged manure is ideal as it will provide the right nutrients for your blueberry plants. You can also use diluted fish emulsion to give them an extra boost during flowering and fruiting.
What size pot works best for container-grown blueberries?
Blueberry plants grow best in pots that are about 12 inches deep. They will grow well in a container with several drainage holes on the bottom.
How to plant blueberries in containers
- Plant your blueberry bush in the pot so that the plant’s crown is level with the soil line or just above it. Fill around roots carefully.
- You will want only one plant per 12-24 inch wide container.
- Water well.
How To Prune Blueberry Plants for Heavy Yields
- Cut off old canes that grow from the base with sharp pruning shears or a saw. This will create new branch growth, generally yielding more fruit in following seasons.
- Be sure to remove branches crossing each other to allow sun through for better fruit production and less injury during winter.
- And finally, prune back any suckers growing below the graft union on your blueberry plant–these are shoots coming up from rootstock planted at the same time as your berry bush planting; they grow thickly around the trunk of your tree and don’t produce much fruit.
How long do blueberries grown in pots take to grow?
Blueberry bushes grown in pots will require two to three growing years before you can harvest them with any frequency, but the berry yield is usually double that of those grown in the ground.
Blueberries grow best in cold conditions, and they might need a few years to grow into plants that produce fruit. However, the wait time drops considerably if you start them from seedlings or cuttings taken from another plant at least two years old.
How many blueberries can I get from one plant?
From one high bush blueberry plant, you can get 10-20 pounds of berries per year! Well worth the effort and wait if you ask me. Yields fluctuate from cultivar to cultivar, but generally, any high bush blueberry plant will have heavy yields when grown in a container.
It seems like it’s well worth the effort. And if you love berries, you may want to plant some strawberries in containers for high yields too!
What are some varieties of blueberries that do well in containers?
I grow mostly bushes because they are more compact, grow better in containers than their low bush counterparts, and make for easier harvesting. You can find these at your local gardening center.
- One of the most popular varieties for container gardening is Adams.
- Bluecrop grows well in containers and is resistant to root rot.
- Prunus Tzar from Russia is a good self-pollinating variety of bush-type blueberry plants for container gardening as well.
Growing Your own Organic berries In Pots
Growing blueberries is a great way to enjoy the taste of summer all year long. This post looked at how you can grow your own blueberries in containers for high yields with minimal effort and time.
If you’re ready to get started on growing your own container garden, you may want to check out these posts: