Gardeners’ guide to growing blueberries: How + where to plant

There’s nothing quite as delicious as juicy, fresh fruit from the garden in the heat of summer. Blueberry bushes are the perfect way to keep your garden colorful and your meals fresh all season long. These bushes are perennial shrubs as well, so you can expect white blossoms each spring and fresh blueberries each summer without having to replant! Keep reading to learn more about how + where to plant your blueberries this year!

Here comes the sun. Blueberries flourish in areas that receive full sun, although they’ll still produce decently in partly shaded areas. Find the sunniest spot in your garden for the best blueberries!

Check your soil. Make sure your soil is at the optimal pH for growing blueberry bushes. Blueberries thrive best with a soil pH of 4.0 to 5.3. You can lower this if necessary by adding sulfur to the soil. Well-drained soil with organic matter is an ideal environment for your blueberries.

Choose the right variety. Rabbiteye blueberries are great for the southeastern region of the US. The southern highbush can also work in this region, although they don’t adapt quite as well to red clay as rabbiteye varieties. Because rabbiteye blueberries cannot pollinate themselves, planting two different varieties is necessary. Having both early- and late-maturing varieties means that you’ll have fresh berries all season.

Give them space + water. Highbush blueberries can be planted roughly 6 feet apart, while rabbiteye varieties should planted about 15 feet apart. Using organic mulch like well-aged sawdust can help keep the roots cool and maintain some moisture. Your blueberries will need about 1 to 2 inches of water each week and up to 6 inches during heavy drought.

Keep them pruned. Picking the flowers off of your blueberry bushes during the first year of their growth will help them grow stronger and produce more blueberries the following year. When established, prune blueberry bushes in late winter, taking off all old and dead growth. Organic fertilizer is great to use in early spring for more blooms and thus more blueberries when summer approaches.

Harvest your berries. After your berries turn blue, give them anywhere from 3 to 7 more days to fully ripen before picking them. Then eat up!

Thinking about growing your own blueberries? Stop by GSCO and let us help you choose the right variety for your garden!

Stay tuned for next week’s blueberry cocktail recipe to find out why having your own blueberry bushes is a great idea!