How To Propagate Blueberries

Blueberries are one of the top super foods as they contain more cancer-fighting antioxidants (antioxidant rich foods) than any other fruit or vegetable.

In Sydney, Australia blueberry plants are quite expensive, so I have grown them from softwood and hardwood stem cuttings. The success rate is quite good, but needs patience. I am sharing my experiences on how to grow blueberries from softwood and hardwood cuttings.

Growing Blueberries From Cuttings

I started my experiment of propagating blueberry bushes a few years ago. I am very thrilled and excited with the results. I describe below the tips and method of propagating blueberry bushes from softwood and hardwood cuttings which give a very high success rate.

Note that there are other methods of blueberry propagation starting from seeds and air layering.

You can start with hardwood cuttings or softwood cuttings. The hardwood cuttings are easier to handle but take longer time. The softwood cuttings allow more rapid multiplication. However, both procedures yield high percentages of healthy plants.
  1. A blueberry bush.
  2. A clean sharp knife or pruning shears.
  3. Rooting medium in a small pot.
  4. Rooting hormone.
  5. A polythene bag with tie.
Rooting Harmone
Pruning Shears
Pruning Shears

How To Take Cuttings

The most important step in starting a blueberry plant from cuttings is to take a cutting. Start early in the morning.
  1. You should not take cuttings from diseased and stressed plants.
  2. Cuttings should be made in a draft free area and planted as soon as possible.
  3. Avoid highly branched shoots and branches with flower buds.
  4. The optimum diameter for cuttings is 4 - 6 mm, 4 to 6 inch long with about 4 buds.
  5. Cut directly above the highest bud and a slant cut just below the lowest bud. Remove the lower set of leaves leaving top 2 sets.
  6. Cut each of the upper leaves into half.

When To Start Propagation

Successful growing of blueberries from cuttings needs a temperature around 21°C. The best time to propagate blueberries is when the temperature start to warm up.

Softwood Cutting

Take cuttings during the growing season about 6 weeks after new growth and before flower buds form.

Hardwood Cutting

Take cuttings when the plants are dormant. Cuttings should be taken from the previous season’s early growth (i.e. 1 year old stem) and be well matured and firm. Avoid bruising or crushing of the tissue while making cuttings.

Simple Propagation Steps

Planted Cutting for Blueberry Propagation
Cutting for propagation
New Growth in Softwood Cutting
Growth in
Softwood Cutting
New Growth in Hardwood Cutting
Growth in
Hardwood Cutting
  1. Fill the pot with the rooting mix and water well before planting. The rooting medium can be a mixtures of peat or pertile and sand. I used equal amounts of potting mix and river sand. Insert a pencil size stick into the soil of the pot reaching up to 1 inch above the base. Take out the pencil. 
  2. Put the lower part (basal end) of the cutting into the rooting harmone powder and shake off the extra powder. Insert the cutting vertically into the hole (step 1, don't push) and firm it. Do not water it. 
  3. Put the pot in a polythene bag and tie the top end and place it in shade. This way the cutting will be under high humid environment. After a few days, you will notice water condensing on the inside of the bag.
  4. Each week, untie the pot and watch the progress. Add a little water if necessary. Ensure that water does not condense on the plant and the leaves not wilting, if this happens then open the bag for some time.
  5. First you will notice that one or two buds swell and shoot formation occurs. Don't just remove the bag at this stage. The cuttings will not grow after this until they begin to root.
  6. When the color of the leaves begin to change to green, it means that the roots are forming. Keep the bag slightly opened for one week to allow exposure to the outside environment. After one week remove the bag completely. Let the new plant sit in shade for another 2 weeks. Water regularly.
  7. Then place the pot in a position to allow morning sun for 4-5 weeks, by that time a few set of leaves will be formed. The plant has now established young roots but you should not transfer it to a bigger pot at this stage as the roots are very thin and delicate.
  8. The plant is now ready to be placed in full sun. In about a month time it will develop a more fibrous root system. Take out the new plant and transfer it to a bigger pot. Add a 3 inch layer of mulch. Don't give any fertilizer for the next 3-4 weeks.


You may put more than one cutting in one pot. Put the plant in water and remove all the sand to carefully separate the rooted cuttings to transfer the young plants into bigger plants. Growing blueberries in pots.

How much time is required for root formation?

Depends on with what kind of cutting you want to propagate. I have tried both the hardwood and the softwood cuttings. Softwood cuttings taken in spring will root faster then hard wood or semi hardwood cuttings taken in late summer to early fall. The following times for first shoot are expected:

Hardwood cuttings: up to about 10 weeks. Success rate 50-70%.
Softwood cuttings: up to 2-6 weeks with high success rate, almost 100%.


The plant can die if any kind of fertilizer is mixed into the rooting medium. Be careful even if you have transferred the plant into the bigger pot. Always add fertilizer at the rim of the pot, i.e. away from the plant. I fertilized my one blueberry plant by liquid feed, but it died because the feed was a bit concentrate.

Blueberry Propagation by Layering

  1. Cut a branch right back to three or four buds from the ground. 
  2. Cover the whole branch with compost making a mound. 
  3. New shoots will emerge from the soil after a few months. Add more compost to the mound. 
  4. Wait for about 10-12 months when new roots are formed, cut the branch and plant them in the ground or new pot.
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  1. I tried to grow new blueberry plants from cuttings as suggested by you. A few leaves grew, but when i removed the cover, the plant died. What happened? Please guide me.

    1. You should not remove the cover as soon as you see the new growth. Opened the bag slightly for a few days to allow exposure to the outside environment. After one week remove the bag completely. Let the new plant sit in shade for some more days.

  2. Very interesting article, but I notice that there was no information as to what time of the year one should attempt to propagate blueberries. Or better, which SEASON of the year - should one attempt propagation of blueberries? You mentioned that there in Sydney blueberry plants are quite expensive, which implies that you live in Australia. So the reason I asked about which season is that I will have to adjust timing of propagation as we live in a much more temperate area of the northern hemisphere - the Judean Mountains of Israel. Here we live on the central mountain ridge with a mild temperate zone where the rest of Israel in lower elevations is sub-tropical to tropical. Here our deciduous fruit trees and vines drop their leaves around the beginning of January and winter commences in earnest at that time, with occasional snow and sub freezing temps until about late February. By March our deciduous trees and grape vines start to wake up. So if you would kindly advise when to carry out both soft and hard wood propagation for blueberries I'd really appreciate it. Thank you!

    1. Blueberries will not start from cutting in cold winters. Start when it becomes warm, around 20°C (68°F), possibly beginning of summer.

  3. Thanks for this detailed post, I have about four potted blueberry plants and I'm looking for ways to propagate them so that I can put a few in the ground..this looks great!

    1. Thanks Kristin. Good luck!. I have propagated many blueberry cuttings. You start propagation when it warms up and follow the steps given above.

  4. Can I propagate blueberries from cuttings in winter time.

  5. After reading the above article, now i know that the blueberry cuttings will not propagate at low temperatures. They need temperature more than 20 deg C to root.

    1. Did you try winter cuttings brought indoors to root? I haven't tried blueberries yet, but have had moderate success with other plant/tree cuttings in the winter. I keep my indoor greenhouse between 75-81. I have about a dozen bay laurel cuttings currently rooting that i cut back in february in the pacific northwest.

  6. Hell of an article - best I found - re blueberry propation! Thank you very much.


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