How to Grow Blueberries

I don’t know about you, but I LOVE blueberries. Not only do they taste amazing, but they are crazy good for your health. They are packed with antioxidants and eating them can have huge benefits for your cognitive health. Have you ever handpicked and eaten a sun warmed blueberry straight off the bush? It’s seriously one of life’s greatest joys. Blueberries are truly one of those fruits that just shine in whatever form they are in. In jam, pies, or fresh, their flavor is just so good. But how do you grow them? We have a few tips to get you started and feeling confident. 

Hand picking blueberries


Blueberries like well draining, rich, and acidic soil. If you have a soil monitor, you should look for your soil PH to be between 4.8 to 5.2 for ideal production. This is much more acidic than your normal garden soil. There are certain ways you can achieve the right soil for your blueberries, but the easiest way is to plant your blueberries in pots. Because blueberry roots are shallow and don’t extend far beyond the plant, your bushes can produce super well and live for a very long time in pots.

The biggest reason we recommend pots is because it is far easier to provide your blueberries with the right soil. If you decide to go the pot route, you may need to winterize your bushes. Container grown plants can get damaged if your winter is cold enough for the ground to freeze. One other reason we like pots is because it makes it possible to grow in an urban environment. 

Amending in ground soil is also an option, it’s just a little harder. Unfortunately, most people will recommend adding peat to your soil, as it is a super easy natural resource to add for extra acidity. The issue is that peat takes a very long time to form and it’s very important for carbon sequestration. The reality is, its forming process can’t keep up with our harvesting practices, so we are quickly depleting this much needed resource. We like to look elsewhere for our acid.

Well composted cow manure is acidic and can be added to soil to raise the acidity over time. If you have a plan to plant blueberries in the ground, try adding cow manure to your soil ahead of time so that it can lower the PH. You can even use raw manure if you are spreading it in the fall, as it will have time to cure over winter, before you plant your bushes. Mixing your soil and mulching with well broken down, homemade compost can also help with acidity and help your soil drain well. You can also add specific things to your compost as well, like pine needles to make it slightly more acidic. 

blueberries on a bush


Blueberries require about an inch of water per week. The easiest way to make sure they get what they need, is by putting in an irrigation system. This provides water at a ground level which is best for your bushes. States with more annual rainfall may not require this extra water source, but it’s a surefire way of making sure your blueberries will be well watered and healthy. Don’t let this put you off growing your own blueberries though, as DIY drip irrigation can be super cheap and easy. Many people like using a PVC system because it’s so cost effective. 


Mulching is really important for blueberries as they are susceptible to drought and this will help keep the soil around your blueberries moist longer. Their roots do not penetrate the earth deeply and stay closer to the surface, so keeping each of your bushes mulched  will help with water retention. Because blueberries also like acidic soil, mulching with compost can be a good option for making the soil a better environment for growth. 

blueberries on a bush


Blueberries like nutrients, so fertilizing will be a must. You’ll want to fertilize once a year in the early spring around the month of March and April. Every year the amount of fertilizer you use per plant will increase as your bushes grow. When fertilizing, spread the correct amount around the dripline of your blueberry bushes, being careful not to put it too close to the bark and foliage of the bush. We recommend using a fertilizer specifically made for acid loving plants like this Happy Frog Acid loving Plant fertilizer from Fox Farm. We love Fox Farm because it specifically makes fertilizers for organic gardening and works so well. As directions vary based on the brand of fertilizer you buy, we recommend following exactly what the back of your fertilizer recommends for your plants. 


Plant your blueberry bushes about 6 to 8 feet apart. Dig a hole that is the same size as the pot your bushes come in. Fill the bottom of the hole with acidic compost,  put in your bush, then cover with remaining soil and compost. Then cover with mulch. 

When choosing plants to buy, you will want to look for plants that are two years old. Any older and the bushes could be low quality. Look for buses that look healthy, large, and full.We also recommend researching which cultivars do best in your region for best success. To make sure you have continued healthy growth once planted, you will want to remove the flowers from your bushes the first year they are in the ground. This means you’ll have no blueberry harvest for the first year, but removing the flowers will help with root growth. If you don’t, your bush will focus its energy on producing fruit, rather than healthy roots.


Pruning usually doesn’t come until your bushes have been in the ground for around three years. Shoot for pruning in early spring. Focus on pruning damaged and dead branches to keep the bushes healthy and focused on sending energy to viable parts of the plant. Once your bushes reach five years old, you can start removing old canes to make way for new ones. Prune your bushes down to around seven old canes and two new ones each year. This will help with more fruit production and larger berries. To ensure larger berries, you can also prune back the length of your branches a little. This will also promote earlier ripening. 

netting to protect blueberries


Birds, deer, and small animals will be attracted to your blueberries along with some bugs. One way to protect against this, is to encircle your bushes with cattle wire and cover with fine mesh netting as seen in the photos. This keeps most pests at bay, without using any sprays. It’s good to do this while your bushes are small, as it gives them a chance to get established without having to fight off pests. You can use sprays, but you’ll have to cover so much surface area that barriers will be less work for you and more effective.

Best of luck planting your own blueberries! It’s well worth it and we hope you’re feeling ready to give it a go.

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