Soil

Suzy11June 5, 2014

I am going to repot my blueberry bush in a few weeks. Can you recommend A bagged soil?

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johns.coastal.patio(USDA 10b, Sunset 24)

A common recommendation is half potting soil (of your preference) and half peat. What this does in practice is bump the acidity and water holding qualities of the soil, both things blueberries like.

You can also use the prepared acid soil mixes sold for rhododendrons, azaleas, and camellias, though some people cut those too with general potting soils.

(My friend does well with just MiracleGro potting soil, but I think she is benefiting from the acid-mix in the original root ball. The bigger the pot, the more the need for an acid mix of some kind.)

    Bookmark   June 5, 2014 at 10:24PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Here, Suzy, a great link to read.

Josh

Here is a link that might be useful: Growing Blueberries in Containers

    Bookmark   June 5, 2014 at 10:34PM
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edweather(Zone 5a/b Central NY)

Not to be smart, but if you buy a bag of Pine Bark Mulch and a bag of Peat, and combine them, you have a real good potting mix for blueberries.

Also, over on the Fruits forum there are lots of container blueberry growers that can give excellent suggestions for a mix.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2014 at 10:39PM
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Joe1980(5)

I myself wouldn't add any more peat to bagged soil, as bagged soil is mostly peat to begin with. Peat breaks down quickly, decreasing its ability to shed excess moisture, decreasing in ability to allow air into the root zone, which leads to root rot. Unless you plan to grow your blueberry as an annual, I'd recommend looking into something better than bagged soil, perhaps the 5-1-1 or gritty mix. The 5-1-1 is attractive to blueberry bushes because it is acidic, and is far superior to standard peat based soils.

Joe

    Bookmark   June 5, 2014 at 10:41PM
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johns.coastal.patio(USDA 10b, Sunset 24)

Joe, out here in California we have a Kellogg brand which is pretty good. They had some dark origins ("municipal" compost) but know that this is a new age. They have organic certification on many of their products now, and etc.

I picked up a bag of this last week, and as you can see, it's right up my alley, at just $5 a bag to boot. Kellogg Patio Plus 1.5 cu. ft. All-Natural Outdoor Potting Soil is a rich blend of composted ingredients, including all-natural chicken manure, kelp meal and worm castings.

I mixed it 50:50 with my own compost and planted a cucumber which is now very happy.

Something like that, with peat, would be a very good and economical blueberry mix.

Update: Kellogg has a "shade mix" which they say is good for blueberries. It's $6 per 1.5 cu ft at my Home Depot.

This post was edited by johns.coastal.patio on Thu, Jun 5, 14 at 23:09

    Bookmark   June 5, 2014 at 11:07PM
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drew51 SE MI Z5b/6a

I hang in the fruits forum, and I would add peat as blueberries do not like to dry out. But I do like having more pine bark than peat. The 5-1-1 would work, no lime, use sulfur instead. I like DE over perlite and I would add .5 parts. I use a 3-1-.5 mix myself with DE. I tried various ratios and so far settled on this one.
Blueberries love peat and pine bark fines. They will grow in pure bark or pure peat.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2014 at 8:51AM
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Joe1980(5)

The problem I have with peat is the breakdown into mush. Don't get me wrong, my wife and I use regular old MG bagged soil for our summer annuals, and it works fine. However, these plants die out and get tossed, along with the soil. By fall, what's left in the pots, mostly the bottom halves, is a soupy black muck. It serves it's purpose for our short summers, but for any long term plants, no peat based soils for us. Anything organic is going to break down, and as it does, it gets worse and worse for plant roots. Now in the ground, different story, and as such, I am a big fan of compost and organics.

Joe

    Bookmark   June 6, 2014 at 9:41AM
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johns.coastal.patio(USDA 10b, Sunset 24)

Many long lived plants do need long lived structure, and inorganic components certainly provide that.

I see that in the wild ... Wild Blueberries are native to Eastern Maine and Canada; they grow well on sandy, well-drained, acid soils that are often unsuitable, because of their acidity, for other forms of farming.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2014 at 12:30PM
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Suzy11

has anyone heard of organic mechanic potting soil? I use that with my citrus trees and tomatoes. It is not peat based. Do you think that it is okay to use their container soil and some acidic potting soil?

    Bookmark   June 6, 2014 at 9:26PM
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Suzy11

has anyone heard of organic mechanic potting soil? I use that with my citrus trees and tomatoes. It is not peat based. Do you think that it is okay to use their container soil and some acidic potting soil?

    Bookmark   June 6, 2014 at 9:27PM
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Suzy11

Thank you for the link Josh and thank you all for your good advice.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2014 at 9:35PM
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