Blueberries in Containers

There has been increasing interest recently in growing blueberries in containers. The varieties chosen for this are usually half-high plants that are the result of a cross between highbush and lowbush blueberry species. Such plants can be as small at 18 inches high and wide (Top Hat) but are more commonly larger. Though this can be successful there are several things to keep in mind.

Acid Soil pH: Blueberries need an acid pH between 4.8 and 5.2. Sphagnum peat moss is very acid and is often used in large quantities in soil mixes for acid-loving plants. As a matter of fact, blueberries can be grown in peat moss alone if nutrients are provided. However, I would suggest using a 50/50 mix of peat moss and potting soil. This will provide nutrients as well as some weight so the plant is less likely to blow over in wind.

Size of Container: Though containers as small as 2 gallons can be used on half-high blueberries, a larger container would be advised as they will be more stable in the wind and provide a larger moisture reserve during hot, dry weather.

Watering: Blueberries do not have root hairs and therefore are not very efficient in picking up water. Potting soil needs to be kept moist.

Winter Care: Though the top growth of these plants are very winter hardy, the roots are not. Either move the pots into an unheated, attached garage or bury the pot in the soil or with mulch in early November. Periodic watering during the winter will be needed.

Varieties: Though blueberries will produce some fruit if only a single variety is grown, two varieties will increase the potential fruit crop. Suggested varieties would include Top Hat and Northsky. Each should reach about 18″ high though Northsky will likely grow wider than Top Hat. Northblue is another possible choice that should produce more fruit than either Top Hat or Northsky but would reach 2 to 3 feet in height. Finally, North Country is intermediate in size at 18 to 24 inches high and also would be intermediate in the amount of fruit produced.

Protection from the Wind: Wind protection will decrease the amount of water these plants need and reduce the chances of leaf scorch.

Exposure: Blueberries do best with a minimum of 6 to 8 hours of sunlight a day. Try a northern or eastern exposure.


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One Response to “Blueberries in Containers”

  1. Nynke Etk Fokma Says:

    Thank you. That is some great information. We have wild blueberries, and are growing some, but not in containers yet. I’ll try it.

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