I had never thought much about growing blueberries in pots until not too long ago. I’m not sure why I assumed they needed to go straight in the ground. This couldn’t be further from the truth! Can blueberries grow in pots? Absolutely! Even if you’re living on a small plot of land or working with a simple patio garden, you can still grow blueberries.
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Why I Chose Pots for Blueberries
This year we bought five beautiful, 2 year old blueberry bushes for a great deal. I knew I wanted to put three of them right in front of our house, but that’s all I had room for. The other two I had no clue what to do with. I just knew I needed at least 5 bushes in order to supply a significant amount of blueberries for our family of six.
Now, I can be a little indecisive at times. Why does planting fruit trees and bushes in the ground seem so… permanent? Well, I suppose it just is. But I like to keep my options open. Deciding to grow the rest of our blueberries in pots was the perfect solution! Now I can easily move them around our property for at least a couple more years, and they’ll still flourish.
Maybe you’re like me and just can’t decide on a permanent spot for your blueberry bushes. Keep reading to learn the pros and cons of planting blueberries in containers, how to do it, and how to maintain them once they are planted.
How To Plant Blueberries in a Pot
Obviously, the very first thing you need is your container of choice. There are a few important things to consider when choosing your pot. The first is the way blueberries develop roots. Because they have a shallow root system that likes to spread out more than down, the width of your container matters more than its depth. Choose a container that is at least twice as wide as the starter pot the plant came in.
Secondly, you need the right growing medium. I picked up this peat moss to add in with some magic mix we got from our local nursery. But any compost would work great. The reason I added peat moss is because blueberries love (and I mean love) acidic soil, and peat moss is very acidic. It’s also easy to find and purchase. I have heard that pine bark mulch is a good option for adding acidity to your soil, but haven’t tried it myself. And if you’re blessed enough to have a source for it, raw skim milk or leftover whey is another perfect addition to increase acidity!
Fill your container about halfway with soil mix, then remove your blueberry bush from its starter pot. Now, this next step may seem scary, but it really helps with strong root development. Trust me, you can do it. Pull the roots apart from the bottom of the root ball and spread them out a little before placing in its new home. Then, fill with more soil mix. Water well (with diluted whey if you have it) and you’re done!
Caring for Blueberry Bushes in Containers
Caring for blueberries in containers is actually really simple. A huge plus when you grow blueberries in pots is that your soil should not need to be amended as often. Since you choose the mix, the acidity level will be more stable, which means less maintenance for you! If you do feel the need to fertilize, choose something that is high in nitrogen as blueberries can really benefit from nitrogen-rich soil.
Your blueberries will need regular watering, especially for the first few weeks after planting. I like to start them out getting water every day for the first week or two. After that they can be watered every 2 or 3 days. If you want to water even less often, try adding a layer of pine bark or pine needle mulch on top of your soil mix.
Blueberries also can benefit from yearly pruning. Keep the plant tidy and encourage more production by pruning some branches in late fall after all leaves are lost. BONUS: if you’re into multiplying plants, I just recently learned that it is possible to propagate blueberry cuttings! But I haven’t tried it yet. Stay tuned, because I definitely plan to try later this year!
If you have a lot of birds around or if your plants are a decent distance away from your house, you will definitely want to consider covering them with bird netting. Once those berries start to turn purple, they are very tempting to our flying friends. And you probably don’t want them stealing all your precious berries.
Transplanting Blueberries From Pots
How long will blueberries grow in a pot?
It depends on the size of your container. But I’m expecting my bushes to be happy in their 5 gallon pot for at least 3 more years, if not longer. It should be pretty easy to tell when your plant needs an upgrade. It will be clearly outgrowing it’s container; perhaps the container will even seem like it may topple over easily.
When should I transplant blueberries from a pot?
Even once blueberry bushes have become mature and are at full production, they usually handle being transplanted just fine, as long as soil conditions are met. This usually happens once your plant is around 7 or 8 years old. If you aren’t sure if you can keep the pH of your native soil acidic enough, try transplanting your blueberries into a large whiskey barrel filled with soil mix.
I hope this has been helpful in preparing you to successfully grow blueberries in containers. Blueberries that grow in pots can be transported anywhere, so even if you aren’t living in your ideal planting location yet, you can start now. Happy planting, and check out these posts from our May Gardening Blog Hop:
- How To Create Beautiful and Sturdy Garden Trellises by Crowded Table Farmstead
- Why I Switched To A Raised Garden Bed by Little House Simple Living
- How To Build A Garden Fence and Mistakes I Made by My Abiding Home
- How To Plant Tomatoes with Egg Shells by Hilltop in the Valley
You might also like these posts here at Growing Dawn:
- Flourish & Reap The Benefits of Vertical Gardening
- How To Plan A Small Vegetable Garden for Beginners
- 10 Quick Growing Vegetables To Plant in September