Q How should I plant blueberries?
A Plant blueberries in a moist, well-drained, acid soil with a pH of 5.5 or lower.
If planting in pots, use ericaceous compost and add a controlled-release feed suitable for acid-loving plants. Choose a container that is at least 6L for young plants, then move into 10-12L pots as they grow.
Blueberries like a sunny, sheltered spot so are ideal for growing on patios. Keep the soil around your plants moist, watering with rainwater if possible.
If you’re planting your blueberries in the ground, they may not need a specific feed. You can apply a mulch of well-rotted leaf mould or composted conifer clippings. Conifer clippings have the added benefit of helping to acidify the soil.
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Caption: Plant blueberries in a pot of ericaceous compost if your soil isn't acidic
Q How do I prune blueberry plants?
A Your plants should not need pruning in the first two years.
Prune older plants from late February to early March, removing around a quarter of the old wood at the base every year, plus any weak, spindly growth.
Caption: Remove any weak, spindly growth in February or March
Q Do blueberry plants need protection from the cold in the UK?
A Blueberries are on the tender side in the UK, so it’s a good idea to wrap pots in bubble wrap for winter and bring them inside if the forecast is particularly bad. Flower buds are also susceptible to frost, so cover them with fleece if frost is forecast during this period.
Q When are blueberries ready to pick?
A Harvest blueberries when they turn a dusty-blue colour. You may need to pick over your bushes several times as the fruit don’t all ripen at once.
Q What problems can blueberries suffer from?
A Birds love the ripe fruit so covering the berries with netting as it starts to ripen.
Pot-grown plants can suffer from vine weevil. Check for white, C-shaped grubs around the roots. Repot using fresh compost or treat with biological control.
In dry spells, blueberries can suffer from powdery mildew, so keep the roots moist and use an ericaceous mulch, such as conifer clippings, to help the soil retain moisture.
If your soil has a pH higher than 5.5, the plants may have yellowing leaves due to a lack of iron. Treat with chelated iron (a water-soluble form of iron).