Blueberry plants do amazingly well in pots particularly if you match the right type of blueberry bush to the correct size of pot or container. Blueberries do well in containers because their root systems are shallow; they typically only extend 6-10 inches under the soil so you don’t deep pot. When selecting the right pot or container it’s important to take into consideration the type of blueberry plant you want to grow. Northern highbush blueberry plants such as Bluecrop and Blueray do best in wide pots such as half wine barrels. More compact blueberry plants such as Sunshine and Top Hat do well in smaller pots and work great on patios and porches.
9 Tips on Growing Blueberry Plants in Pots or Containers
- Selecting the Right Blueberry Plant
You can grow any blueberry plant in the right size container, but there are certain blueberry plants that do better when container gardening. One of my favorites is the Sunshine blueberry plant. It produces a bunch of blueberries and has a great flavor. Top Hat is another blueberry plant that does well in pots and containers. It’s a compact blueberry plant that produces a nice flavorful berry and does well in small spaces such as balconies.
- Pots and Containers for Large Blueberry Plants
Blueberries have a shallow root system so you don’t need a deep pot or container. It’s more important to find a container that is wide enough that will promote a healthy root system. Larger blueberry plants such as Duke, Blueray, Earliblue, and Legacy work best in half wine barrels, they develop into large bushes producing tons of blueberries. When planting blueberries in wine barrels make sure they have good drainage by drilling holes in the bottom of the barrels. Blueberry plants don’t like having wet feet. Drainage is a must!
- Pots and Containers for Smaller Blueberry Plants
For smaller blueberry plants such as Tophat and Sunshine, find the widest pot with a minimum depth of 12 inches that works for your space. A good rule of thumb is it should be 2-3 times wider than the pot you purchased it in.
- Use the Correct Potting Soil (Must be acidic)
Blueberry plants require acidic soil, and sometimes this soil can be hard to find. But don’t worry, I've been planting blueberry bushes in pots for years and I have a simple soil recipe that has always produced great results.
- Planting your Blueberry Bush
Ok, now comes the fun part of planting your blueberry plant. Sometimes when you purchase a blueberry plant from a local nursery you find that the plant is root-bound. This means the plant has been in the pot too long and the roots are bound up. It’s important to try to break up the root system of the blueberry plant to encourage new root growth. Fill your pot or container almost to the top leaving about 4 inches. Now plant your blueberry plant right in the center about the same depth as it was in the pot. Once it’s planted add about 1-2 inches of peat moss as a top dressing. This will help keep the shallow roots moist and protect them from the sun and heat. Give it a good watering and you’re done.
- Finding the Right Location
Blueberries require full sun to flower and produce fruit they don’t do well in full shade, but most blueberry plants will do ok in partial shade you just won’t get as many berries. Place them in a location that gets the sun day. Ideally, it would be a location that gets sun early, and a little bit of shade during late afternoon early evening.
- Watering your Blueberry Plant
I’ve found that blueberries planted in pots or containers require more watering than blueberries that are planted in the ground. I water my blueberries in pots daily whereas my blueberries that are planted in the ground are water every other day during the summer months.
- Fertilizing your Blueberry Plant
You will want to fertilize your blueberry plants with an acid fertilizer. Any fertilizer that will work for azaleas and hydrangeas will work on blueberries too. You should fertilize your blueberries two times a year. Once in early spring when the buds are forming, and then again about 2-3 months later. Don’t fertilize your blueberry plant in the fall, because you don’t want to promote new growth before it has a chance to mature before winter.
- Troubleshooting Issues with Your Blueberry Plants
Blueberries in general are easy to grow, but sometimes issues do arise. Oftentimes it’s related to the soil not being acidic enough. If you are having issues related to berry production and leaves turn yellowing the best thing to do is test your soil pH level. Blueberries need acidic soil to transport iron and other nutrients. A local nursery can help you test your soil pH, but if you like to do it yourself I recommend this kit.