Blueberries are one of America’s most popular fruits! It is a Native American plant too!!! High in vitamins and anti-oxidants, they are not only delicious, but healthy too and very ornamental! For years, the blueberry has been a northern grown plant requiring all the climate conditions that much of California doesn’t have: high winter chill, mild summer temperatures with high humidity and low PH soils. However, the good news is in! In the past 10 years there has been a storm of new introductions coming out of the southern states. These more adaptable varieties are called Southern Highbush blueberries and meet most of the requirements for growing in the western climates .

Some of the most exciting new varieties include Sharpblue, Sunshine Blue, and Misty. These great-flavored varieties are well adapted to the low-chill west and have a high summer heat tolerance. Blueberries will yield a much bigger crop when paired with another variety . Many folks find the new Southern Highbush varieties to be tastier than the old Northern Highbush selections. There is such a great selection of adapted-to-low-chill varieties, that we recommend avoiding the Northern Highbush varieties all together. The O’Neal was one of the first Southern Highbush types introduced in California for home gardeners and it still is a first choice with a fine quality berry.

To make growing Blueberries easier, DON’T Plant them in the ground; think about putting them in a container!!!

• Blueberries make a wonderful container plant .

• They are very ornamental as well as productive when grown in a container.

Whether planted in the ground or in a container, the trick is the soil mix. Blueberries like a low PH of 4.5 to 6.0 with 5.5 being optimal. But they also like to grow in actively decomposing organic matter. Try amending your soil with sulfur in order to achieve the pH needed. In addition to the sulfur you’ll need a mix that comes as close as possible to the ideal environment for the plant. Here is what is recommended:

• 1/3 Pathway bark (1/4 inch)

• 1/3 Peat Moss (coarse, if you can find it)

• 1/3 Leaf Mold or Forest Humus based potting soil.

• Mix together and add 2 tablespoons of Soil Sulfur .

This will get your Blueberry off to a great start. In the spring, use a fertilizer high in nitrogen (sulfate or urea) and minor nutrients. Be sure to check the origin of the nitrogen in your fertilizer carefully. The Nitrogen must not be from Nitrate, as this can be deadly to blueberries .

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