Blueberries in containers?

Warpiper(8 Charleston, SC)June 14, 2014

Hi All,

What else do I need to know about container blueberries? I've read in several posts recommending modifying the 5-1-1 mix to more of a 5-2-1 or 4-2-1 type of mix for better water retention but I'm not sure what I need to do to get the mix to the right acidity. Do I add the lime or gypsum or should I leave them out? What else do I need to consider?

My wife gave me 2 blueberry bushes (Misty Early Season and Jubilee) today for fathers day this year and based on several local master gardeners, I should grow them in containers because our soil is so bad. Any advice would greatly appreciated. Thanks,

Chris

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charina(6b)

A pine and peat mix should start you off with an acceptable pH. Don't add lime. Gypsum, yes if your fertilizer plan does not otherwise include calcium.

If your soil is wrong for bbs, then your water might be as well. If that is the case, you may need to consider either adjusting you water pH, or incorporate sulfur (acid plant fertilizers include it, as does ammonium sulfate) in your amendments to counteract pH raising due to water.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2014 at 12:48PM
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edweather(Zone 5a/b Central NY)

Yep, agree, don't add any lime. I use a little controlled release fertilizer at the beginning of the season that has calcium in it, but I think I also probably used some gypsum too. I acidify my water with 5% white vinegar at the rate of 2-3 tablespoons per gallon, which brings the pH of the water to about 5 or so. There are some great threads over on the fruits forum on the use of ammonium sulfate as a fertilizer, which I also use on a regular basis.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2014 at 2:06PM
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Warpiper(8 Charleston, SC)

Hi charina and edweather,

Thank you both for your advice, I greatly appreciate it. I'll leave the lime out and get some gypsum to add to the soil. I don't have any fertilizer for them yet and I'm not sure what to use. What type/brand would you recommend? The water in Charleston is on the soft water side and the pH runs around 8.3 according to the water department's website. I'll start adding vinigar to my water for them and I'll check out the fruit forum.

Oh, one other question. I want to put them in bigger pots but they both have blueberries on them. Should I wait until the blueberries are gone before I re pot them?

Thanks again for you help, I appreciate it.

Chris

    Bookmark   June 16, 2014 at 9:47AM
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edweather(Zone 5a/b Central NY)

In the spring I use a little Miracle Gro Shake and Feed. I think most would suggest potting them up when they are dormant. I've potted mine up a couple of times and both times they weren't quite dormant with good results. Once was in the fall when they were slowing growth, and once in the spring when they were starting growth.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2014 at 11:37AM
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Warpiper(8 Charleston, SC)

Cool beans, thanks edweather, I appreciate it. I'll get some MG and wait until they go dormant before it re pot them. :)

Chris

    Bookmark   June 17, 2014 at 11:24AM
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edweather(Zone 5a/b Central NY)

Sounds good. Definitely check out the threads on the fruits forum about the ammonium nitrate. The controlled release fertilizer is more of a long term cya application for me. The weekly feedings of the ammonium nitrate is what really forces the growth now.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2014 at 1:00PM
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charina(6b)

Not ammonium nitrate, but ammonium sulfate which Ed had correctly identified initially above. Don't use nitrates as the nitrogen source for bbs. They are not adapted to be able to metabolize it.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2014 at 5:02PM
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Warpiper(8 Charleston, SC)

Cool beans. Thanks again edweather and charina, I appreciate it. I'll spend some time reading up on fertilizer and when to use them. I like the CYA aspect of it. :)

Chris

    Bookmark   June 17, 2014 at 5:35PM
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pharmachad

Check out this awesome site. It has good info for beginners?
http://humgardens.com/fruit_orchard/blueberries/blueberry_planting.htm

    Bookmark   June 20, 2014 at 3:30PM
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