Blueberry bushes are popular with gardeners and landscaping designers all over the United States because they are compact, pleasant looking and, best of all, they produce delicious, healthy fruit. Just one blueberry bush can produce up to ten pounds of blueberries in a single season. You can eat these berries fresh, freeze them or make them into jams or pies. Blueberry bushes have dark green, waxy leaves and fragrant, small, white flowers. These flowers turn into huge clusters of sweet blueberries. Then, after your blueberry harvest, the leaves on your blueberry bush will turn a brilliant red color in the autumn.
If you want your blueberry bushes to survive, you will have to meet their very specific needs. Blueberry plants need to grow in full sun. If they receive less than five or six hours of sun per day, they will yellow and eventually die. They also must be planted in fast draining soil. The water line in your soil must be at least one foot below the ground level. Blueberries cannot sit in standing water. Finally, and possibly most difficult of all, your blueberries need to be planted in very acidic soil. Most fruit trees thrive in acid, but blueberries need even more acid than other plants. If you plant your blueberries in basic or neutral soil, they will die.
You can have the pH level of your soil tested at your local county extension office. In all likelihood, your soil is not acidic enough to grow blueberries and it will need to be amended. You can do this by adding peat acid to your soil on a regular basis, but you can expect this process to take up to one year. An easier choice for you could be to plant your blueberry bushes in containers. Blueberry bushes do not need much space to grow, and if you plant them in containers then you can simultaneously guarantee that the soil is highly acidic and fast draining. Plus, your blueberry bushes might stand out and look nicer in colorful ceramic pots.
It is a popular misconception that blueberry bushes are either male or female. All blueberry bushes have both male and female reproductive organs. Most, however, cannot self pollinate. This means that if you want fruit, you need to own at least two and preferably a few bushes, which you will need to plant within one hundred feet of one another. This way, bees in your yard can pollinate your bushes for you. Your blueberry bushes will produce more fruit if you plant several varieties to cross pollinate.
Most blueberry bushes will not produce fruit until their third year. For the first year or two of your blueberry's life, you should pinch off the flowers from small, weak branches. Flowers on a young branch will prevent the branch from growing stronger and thus prevent you from ever growing good fruit. When your blueberry bush is finally mature enough to produce edible fruit, prune young branches in the early spring. As the bush ages, you can begin to prune away aging branches that are no longer producing fruit.