Except for one or two varieties, blueberries are deciduous shrubs with multiple seasons of interest. Not only to they produce delicious, small, round blue fruit, they also provide bright colourful bark in winter and incredible fall foliage colour. Blueberries belong to the Vaccinium genus of plants and are handsome plants for informal hedges, edible gardens, containers or other areas of the landscape.
Most blueberry varieties grow 4-6 ft tall, with some having a more upright habit and others more spreading. A few dwarf varieties suitable for containers are also available.
Exposure / Moisture
Blueberries enjoy conditions similar to those that suit Rhododendrons and Azaleas. They prefer full sun and cool, moist, but well drained soils. Like Rhododendrons, blueberry plants are also very shallow rooted. Avoid cultivating around their base. They also prefer acidic soil. To create acidic soil conditions, avoid using Bonemeal or mushroom manure when planting, amend the soil with peat moss and use a fertilizer designed for acidic loving plants like Arts Rhodo and Azalea Food.
Blueberry plants also benefit from a light mulch to decrease the amount of weeds and moderate the soil temperature around them.
Generally speaking, blueberries should be pruned during the dormant season. Avoid pruning for several years to allow new plants to get up to size. This allows the plants to maximize growth when young. Thereafter prune old branches to force new growth ( fruit buds for next year are produced on new shoots). On older plants, remove a few branches (no more than 1/3) each year to encourage production of new growth. You can also remove low spreading branches and shorter, weaker twigs.
On rich, highly organic soils, blueberries do not require extra fertilizer. On average soils, apply Arts Garden Pro Rhodo and Azalea food in early spring. This particular fertilizer is designed for acidic loving plants. As with most shallow rooted plants, avoid over fertilizing.
Blueberries are partially self-fertile. In practical terms, it means that you only need to plant one variety in order to produce fruit. However, the more blueberries you plant in an area the more fruit production you will get. We generally recommend buying 2-3 plants for a good harvest.
Blueberry fruits are generally ready for harvest between July and October, depending on the variety. Berries are produced in clusters and will become sweeter the longer they hang on the bush. Garden netting may be beneficial if you have lots of birds in your area.
Notable Blueberry Varieties:
Chandler - huge berries
Top Hat - dwarf variety
Pink Lemonade - pink berries
Blue Crop - most common variety found in grocery stores
Reka - often available as organically grown
Sunshine Blue - evergreen foliage
If you have additional questions about blueberries, please do not hesitate to give Arts Nursery a call at 604.882.1201. We carry dozens of different varieties and hundreds of plants throughout the season. visit our blueberry catalog for an idea of the varieties we stock. Specialty varieties like Pink Lemonade, Sunshine Blue and even 3 in 1 plants are in-stock or available by special order.