Guide to Growing Blueberry Bushes

Growing Blueberry Plants:

I’ve made it my mission to grow all the edible plants that I love. Adding 5 blueberry bushes to my garden was a no brainer. If you’re here today, it’s because you’re considering growing, or have purchased blueberries. Research is key to learn what your plants need to grow and thrive. So, without further adieu, let’s learn about Blueberry Plants.

Varieties of Blueberry Plants:

*Highbush Blueberries: These are the most common type of blueberry plant, with varieties such as ‘Bluecrop,’ ‘Bluejay,’ and ‘Jersey.’ They are well-suited to a wide range of climates and produce large, sweet berries.

*Lowbush Blueberries: Also known as wild blueberries, these plants are smaller and more cold-hardy than highbush varieties. They are ideal for growing in cooler regions and are often used for commercial production.

*Rabbiteye Blueberries: Native to the southeastern United States, rabbiteye blueberries are heat-tolerant and well-suited to warmer climates. Varieties include ‘Climax’ and ‘Tifblue.’

There are many more varieties of blueberry bushes. To find the best plant for your area, search for blueberry plants for your zone. For example; A blueberry plant that grows well in zone 4 will not do well, and will likely die its first year in zone 8.

 Pollination Requirements:

*Self-Pollination: Most blueberry varieties are self-pollinating, meaning they can produce fruit without cross-pollination from another plant. However, planting multiple varieties can increase fruit set and yield.

*Pollinators: Bees are the primary pollinators of blueberry plants. Encourage bee activity by planting pollinator-friendly flowers nearby and avoiding the use of pesticides that harm beneficial insects.


*Timing: Blueberry plants are best transplanted in late winter or early spring when they are dormant. This allows them to establish their root systems before the growing season begins.

*Preparation: Choose a site with well-draining soil and full sun exposure. Dig a hole slightly larger than the root ball of the plant and mix in organic matter such as compost or peat moss to improve soil texture and fertility. I add soil acidifier to the base of the hole, then again after filling the hole halfway with soil.

*Planting: Place the blueberry plant in the hole so that the top of the root ball is level with the soil surface. Backfill with soil and water thoroughly to settle the soil around the roots.

*Spacing: Space blueberry plants about 4-6 feet apart to allow for proper air circulation and future growth.

 Soil Amendments:

*Acidic Soil: Blueberries prefer acidic soil with a pH between 4.5 and 5.5. Test the soil pH before planting and amend as necessary using sulfur or acidic fertilizers to lower pH levels.

*Organic Matter: Incorporate organic matter such as compost, peat moss, or pine bark into the soil to improve drainage and fertility.


*Timing: Fertilize blueberry plants in early spring before new growth begins and again in late spring or early summer. Fertilize again in late summer-early fall.

*Type: Use a fertilizer specifically formulated for acid-loving plants, such as one labeled for azaleas or rhododendrons. Avoid high-nitrogen fertilizers, as they can promote excessive vegetative growth at the expense of fruit production.

Soil pH Level:

*Monitoring: Regularly test the soil pH using a soil testing kit to ensure it remains within the optimal range for blueberries.

*Adjustment: If the pH drifts out of the ideal range, amend the soil as needed using sulfur to lower pH or lime to raise pH by adding a soil acidifier or sulfur.

 Sun and Water Requirements:

*Sunlight: Blueberry plants thrive in full sun, receiving at least 6-8 hours of direct sunlight per day. Plant them in a location with good air circulation to prevent fungal diseases.

*Watering: Keep the soil consistently moist, especially during the growing season and fruit development. Avoid overwatering, as blueberry roots are sensitive to waterlogging.

*Mulching: Apply a thick layer of organic mulch, such as wood chips or pine needles, around the base of the plants to help retain soil moisture and suppress weeds.

Fruiting and Harvesting:

*Fruiting: Blueberry plants typically begin producing fruit in their second or third year after planting. As the berries ripen, they change color from green to blue and develop a sweet flavor.

*Harvesting: Pick ripe berries as soon as they are fully colored and easily come off the stem with a gentle tug. Harvesting is usually done by hand and can extend over several weeks as different varieties ripen at different times.

*Pruning: Prune blueberry plants in late winter or early spring to remove dead or diseased branches and promote airflow and fruit production. Remove any weak or overcrowded branches to maintain an open, healthy canopy.

Seasonal Care:

*Winter: Protect blueberry plants from freezing temperatures by covering them with burlap or frost cloth. Prune them while they are dormant to shape the plant and remove any damaged or diseased wood.

Spring: Apply fertilizer and mulch in early spring as new growth begins. Monitor soil moisture and irrigation needs as temperatures rise.

*Summer: Continue to water blueberry plants regularly, especially during hot, dry weather. Monitor for pests and diseases and take appropriate action if necessary.

*Fall: Reduce watering as temperatures cool and plants enter dormancy. Mulch around the base of the plants to insulate the roots and conserve moisture over the winter months.

By following these guidelines and providing proper care throughout the year, you can enjoy a bountiful harvest of delicious blueberries from your own garden. Now, get out there and plant some blueberry bushes!