The Key to Growing Blueberries in Containers
Growing blueberries in containers is a great way to harvest fresh, tasty blueberries at home, even if you don’t have space for a garden. You can be successful planting blueberries in pots, as long as you have a sunny location and use acidic potting soil. With a little care, you’ll have plump, juicy berries after the second year.
Selecting the Right Container
When you select containers for your blueberry bushes, consider the future growth of the bushes. The pot you choose should be at least 18 inches deep and 24 inches in diameter. The pot should hold five gallons of soil or more. You also have the option of planting young blueberry bushes in smaller pots, but you’ll need to transplant them into bigger containers after the second year.
Choosing Blueberry Bushes for Pots
Once you’ve found suitable containers for your blueberry plants, the next step is to choose the right blueberry varieties for pots. Select at least two varieties that bloom at the same time, so bees can pollinate them. Since you’re limited by the size of the pot, choose bushes that grow no more than 2 to 3 feet tall. The following blueberry varieties are just the right size for container planting, and each bush produces 1 to 2 pints of blueberries.:
- Top Hat – This blueberry bush grows to about 2 feet tall, featuring white blossoms. It makes an attractive landscaping bush, which sports bright orange leaves in the fall.
- Sunshine Blue – This bush grows to about 3 feet tall. It has pink flowers and its leaves turn a vivid burgundy color in the fall.
- Patriot – This blueberry variety is a little over 3 feet tall when mature. It sports white flowers with pink tipping, and its leaves turn orange and red in the fall.
Maintaining Potted Blueberry Bushes
During the first two years after planting your blueberry bushes, remove the flower blossoms and prune any dead or damaged canes. This helps your bushes become established and strengthens the canes and vegetation. You can allow your blueberry bushes to blossom and bear fruit on the third year of growth. The following list has a few tips on keeping your blueberry bushes healthy:
- Water your potted blueberries frequently, since the soil dries out quicker than when the plants are in the ground.
- Add organic mulch to the pot to retain moisture and soil acidity. Pine needles, dried leaves, cypress and pine bark are good options. You want to keep your soil at a pH of 4.5 to 5.5. You can also add cottonseed meal or bone meal to the soil for additional nitrogen and acidity.
Protect Blueberry Bushes from Birds
A few weeks before your blueberry bushes bear fruit, cover them with netting. Birds love berries, and they will wipe out your blueberry crop in one day, if you don’t protect the bushes. Any garden netting will work. You can just spread it across your bushes but a better solution is to attach it to a frame. If you build a simple frame for your netting, you can use it year after year to protect your berries.