People across the country are growing blueberries in their edible landscape, and you can find a range of healthy, high-quality blueberry plants for sale right here at Nature Hills Nursery. The Blueberry plant is as valuable as an ornamental in the landscape as it is a healthy tasty source of food. Blueberry bush varieties are all relatives of the rhododendrons and azaleas, with a wonderful bell-shaped flower display in the spring and juicy berries from late spring to summer.
The bold display of beautiful blue berries against lime to dark green foliage is absolutely gorgeous. And most blueberries showcase brilliant fall color of various shades of deep reds, yellows and orange.
The blueberry has incredibly high levels of antioxidants, along with very high levels of vitamins C and A. Various studies have shown blueberries are beneficial for anti-aging, disease prevention, eyesight, cholesterol levels, arteries, memory and weight control. And these superfruits can be grown successfully in containers, raised beds or directly in the ground.
Gardeners are including Blueberries in their front yard landscaping, too. Why not? They make a beautiful, useful, hard-working and noteworthy choice for foundation planting in full sun. They even have ornate flowers and many have fall color!
Make an investment in your health and enjoy a lovely garden plant with a range of fabulous berries. You'll have to race the birds to earn your harvest.
Today many varieties of blueberry bushes are grown in every part of the country. These include Northern Highbush, Southern Highbush, Lowbush, Hybrid Half-High and Rabbiteye. The most commonly planted Blueberries are the Northern Highbush and Half-High selections. Most blueberry breeding has focused on these species, so there are many varieties that range widely for cold hardiness, fruiting seasons, size and flavors.
Most blueberry plants fall into one of two categories. One category includes seedling selections of native varieties, each with superior flavor and adaptabilities. The other category includes simple to complex hybrids. The latter combines the attributes of numerous varieties that have extended the range where consistent quality fruit can be grown.
Location: Blueberries prefer full sun and, although they will grow in part shade, this will always result in a less flavorful berry. In areas of low humidity and high pH water, it is often recommended that blueberry plants be protected from the hot late afternoon sun.
Soil Type: Blueberries will perform well in a number of soil types as long as the soils are acidic and high in organic matter. It is recommended to get a reading on your soil pH before planting. Northern Highbush and Rabbiteye blueberries prefer an acid-rich soil with a pH of 6.0 or lower. For the Half-Highs, an even lower pH of 5.5 is needed. A simple soil test kit or meter should be used to meter and monitor your soil’s pH.
Adjusting pH: Prepare soils for planning at least two months in advance with soil sulfur and peat moss or chucked coir, all of which help to reduce pH. Use a soil meter to check the pH regularly. Amendments should be added as needed to achieve and maintain the required pH. The addition of organic fertilizers such as feather meal, cottonseed or fish meal will help to keep the pH down.
Planting: Blueberries like to grow in soil that is rich in organic matter. When planting, dig your hole as deep as your plant's container and twice as wide. Add a 25% mix of compost, oak leaf mold or aged sawdust to the backfill. Remove the blueberry plant from the pot. With high-pressure water, spray the soil away from the bottom of the root to loosen. Spread the loosened roots out and backfill into the hole. Do not plant deeper than the soil line that exists in the container. Pack soil in firmly around roots.
Mulch: Blueberry bushes require good drainage, so water cannot pool around their roots for long. Blueberry roots are shallow and benefit from a good layer of mulch. Apply mulch 4 inches deep and up to 2 feet outside of the perimeter of the canopy. This will help decrease the blueberry plant’s water needs and keep the root cool.
When growing in the ground is not possible or too much trouble, you'll be glad to hear that blueberry bushes make the perfect container plant. All varieties of blueberries are good for container growing. You can control the soil pH better in containers, so this technique is highly recommended.
Selecting the Container: Choose a weatherproof container like the new resin pots that are lightweight and have good insulating value. Be sure your pot has several drainage holes in the bottom. Mature Blueberry plants will eventually need a container that is 24 inches across and deep. If you are starting with small plants you can start with a smaller pot and shift to this larger size as the plants grow. Avoid ceramic or clay pots as they both heat up to very high temperatures and are slow to cool down. They also wick away water, causing the roots to dry out quicker. Resin pots have better insulation and are lightweight.
Soil Mix: Start with an Acid (Ericaceous) potting soil, commonly recommended for Azaleas, Camelias and Rhododendrons. Combine one part of the potting soil with one part pine or fir bark and one part peat moss. (For even better water-holding, use a combination of one-half peat moss and one-half chunk coir in lieu of the straight-up peat moss).
Planting: Plant by first loosening the bottom of the roots with high-pressure water. Backfill the pot with prepared soil mix to a depth that allows the top of your blueberry plant's root ball to sit 2 to 3 inches below the top of your container. This provides a lip to contain water and to allow for mulching.
Watering: Pay attention to watering in the summer as blueberries prefer to be on the moist side. Watch for heat spikes in the summer that may require additional water. This is common in containers.
Winter Care: In colder climates, move your blueberry plant container to a protected location. Cover the container with straw or wrap it with burlap to protect the root from freezing.
Mulch: Add a 2-inch layer of mulch to the top of the pot.
Blueberries are partially self-fertile, so you will harvest more berries and larger berries by planting two or more varieties with the same growth habit. Planting more than one variety can also extend your harvest season.
Choose varieties from an early season, mid-season and late-season blueberry bush to extend your harvest season.
Highbush (Vaccinium corymbosum) is a six-foot shrub hardy from zones 4 to 7.
For withstanding cold winters, choose Bluecrop', 'Blueray', 'Herbert', 'Jersey', or 'Meader'. For big berries, choose 'Berkeley', 'Bluecrop', 'Blueray', 'Coville', 'Darrow', or 'Herbert'. For something different, try 'Pink Lemonade', which produces bright pink Blueberries!
Lowbush (Vaccinium angustifolium): For the coldest climates, Lowbush varieties are your best bet, hardy from Zone 3 to Zone 7.
These creeping plants, a foot or so high, are spread by underground stems, or rhizomes. They blanket the rocky upland soils of the Northeast and adjacent portions of Canada. Lowbush Blueberries make a nice ornamental fruiting ground cover. Plants sold by nurseries are usually seedlings or unnamed wild plants, rather than named varieties.
Half-High: Breeders have combined qualities of Highbush and Lowbush Blueberries into hybrids known as half-high Blueberries.
University of Minnesota introductions include 'Northcountry', a variety that grows 18 to 24 inches high and has excellent, mild-flavored, slightly aromatic sky-blue fruits; and 'Northblue', which grows 20 to 30 inches high and produces an abundance of dark-blue, nickel-size, somewhat tart fruits-just right for pies. 'Northland' is a half-high that grows 3 to 4 feet tall from Michigan, it has a sweet, wild Blueberry taste and is a heavy producer of fruit.
Rabbiteye (Vaccinium ashei): Grown in the southeastern United States, Rabbiteye varieties are extremely adaptable, productive and pest tolerant. They do, however, have a high degree of self-incompatibility and require two or more varieties planted together to ensure pollination. Tifblue, Climax and Brightwell are beloved, big producers of nutritious blueberries.
If you’re looking for high-quality blueberry bushes for sale, you’ll find them right here at Nature Hills Nursery.