blueberry bush

Suzy11March 17, 2014

Can I keep a container bush on a covered porch all winter if a cover the bush with burlap?

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shazaam(NC 7B)

That should be fine, but it might not be necessary. Most blueberries are sufficiently cold hardy to overwinter without protection in your climate. What variety are you growing?

This post was edited by shazaam on Mon, Mar 17, 14 at 11:54

    Bookmark   March 17, 2014 at 11:53AM
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Suzy11

Thank you! What do you do about water and fertilizing? I do not have a bush yet but am hoping to get one next month. Did not know that there were varieties. What would you recamend for eating?

    Bookmark   March 17, 2014 at 1:42PM
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Suzy11

The bushes are dawf. Can you also plant them?

    Bookmark   March 17, 2014 at 1:45PM
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Suzy11

Will I get berries if I only have one bush? Does it take two yrs?

    Bookmark   March 17, 2014 at 9:21PM
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drew51 SE MI Z5b/6a

You need to grow them in acidic soil. If in a pot, I would protect it in the winter. At least from the rains.Having two helps, but you should get some berries. When depends how big a plant you bought. Yes, usually 2 years. Fertilize with acidic fertilizers. They like to be moist. Cut amount of water in the winter. Yes you can put dwarf types in the ground, but soil must be acidic else they will die.
Sunshine Blue is a good cultivar to try.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2014 at 10:59PM
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Suzy11

Thanks very much! Can you suggest a varity?

    Bookmark   March 18, 2014 at 11:13AM
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shazaam(NC 7B)

There are a lot of good varieties available. Don't restrict your search to just dwarf varieties -- blueberries are very well suited to being grown in pots, and, with proper care, the larger cultivars will do just as well as the small ones. If you want a small bush, though, then dwarf or half-high varieties might be worth considering. A dwarf like Tophat will generally stay under 1.5' to 2' or so, whereas some of the bigger half-highs like Chippewa might reach 4' tall. I've read good things about the latter (but haven't tried it), so it might be worth considering if you want an in between size. There's also Sunshine Blue, which Drew recommended. It's a southern high bush variety, which means that it requires less winter chill (hours below 45 degrees), but it does seem to be pretty well adapted to a variety of climates and is also somewhat dwarfing in habit (3' or so). I have one that's doing well here in NC, but, if I were further north, I'd probably lean toward a half-high variety like Chippewa. Not that you can't grow Sunshine Blue in PA, but a half-high would give you a larger margin of safety with regard to severe winter weather.

I've linked to Berries Unlimited below. They get high marks for quality, and they have a wide selection of blueberries available. There are lots of other good nurseries, but they're a good place to start.

Here is a link that might be useful: Berries Unlimited

    Bookmark   March 18, 2014 at 11:40AM
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shazaam(NC 7B)

As far as soil requirements, as Drew said, blueberries prefer acidic soil conditions. If you're growing them in a pot, then that's easy to provide -- pine bark, fir bark, and peat are your best bet for acidic components. I've had good results with the 5-1-1 mix (without lime) discussed frequently here in the container forum, but there are lots of other options, as well. Rain water is ideal for blueberries, because municipal and well water often contain bicarbonates that, when they react with your potting mix, will raise pH over time. If you can't use rain water, then it's a good idea to check the pH of your water and add an acid (vinegar, for example) to lower the pH to 5.5 or so. For fertilizer, good options include MirAcid (from Miracle-Gro) and Jack's Classic Acid Special. What you want is an acidifying fertilizer that provides most of its nitrogen in the form of ammonium (or urea, which breaks down quickly to ammonium).

Here is a link that might be useful: Read more about the 5-1-1 mix...

    Bookmark   March 18, 2014 at 11:49AM
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edweather(Zone 5a/b Central NY)

You've gotten a lot of great suggestions so far, and the Fruits Forum on this site is also a wealth of info.

I've grown potted blueberries for a few years now, with very good results. Got some over-wintering outside right now. They've been frozen solid for months.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2014 at 6:43PM
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Suzy11

Thank you everyone for the great advice. :) I did get a lot of good information.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2014 at 10:18PM
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