How To Grow Blueberries in Pots

Read below the detailed information and tips on how to grow blueberries in pots at home. Growing blueberries in containers at home is quite easy, once you plant blueberry in acidic free-draining rich soil in full sun, it does not need specific attention except adequate watering.

Blueberry is a nutrient rich fruit possessing soluble fibre, minerals, vitamins and antioxidants. Blueberries contain more cancer-fighting antioxidants than any other fruit or vegetable.
Blueberries contain more cancer-fighting antioxidants than any other fruit or vegetable (blueberry health benefits). Organically grown blueberries contain more total anthocyanin antioxidants, phenol antioxidants and significantly higher total antioxidant capacity.(Top antioxidant foods)
The blueberries plants are shrubs and belong to the Vaccinium genus- the heath (Ericaceae) family of plants whose other members include the cranberry and bilberry, azalea, mountain laurel and rhododendron. Blueberries can be grown easily from seeds, cuttings and layering method. Growing blueberries from cuttings is also possible.

How To Plant & Grow Blueberries in Containers

How to Grow blueberries in containers
Blueberries Growing in a Pot
Growing blueberries in Australia and elsewhere is not difficult, but many people struggle with them and fail. The reason lies in the incorrect use of soil mix for blueberries in containers.

Blueberry Varieties

How big does a blueberry bush grow?

There are three varieties of blueberries, any of the blueberry varieties can be grown in pots and garden beds:
  1. High bush Blueberries (4-7 feet high), Low bush Blueberries (less than 2 ft high) and Rabbit eye Blueberries (4-10 feet high).
  2. The high bush types have often been hybridized to produce larger size berries that are commonly available at fruit stores and plant nurseries. The low bush types produce berries of a smaller size and grow wild, not commonly found in markets.
  3. For Sydney, a special blueberry variety called as Burst has been developed which grows very large size of fruit.
Blueberry plants take at least three years to produce fruit, although they may produce flowers in 2 years.  You should remove the flowers when the plant is young to encourage the growth.

Blueberry Growing and Care Tips

Blueberries are a perennial crop and are one of the easiest fruits to grow in your garden.

Blueberry grows in clusters and range in size from that of a small pea to a marble. The following tips will be helpful in growing your own blueberries in pots.

When To Plant Blueberries?

You can plant at any time you get the small plant from the garden shop. They grow well in spring and summer.

How To Plant Blueberries in Containers

Blueberries can be grown in containers or pots. They are shallow-rooted shrubs with fine, fibrous, surface-feeding roots, like azaleas and rhododendrons. The container need not be very deep, but should be wide.

What should be the size of containers to plant blueberries?
I grow my organic blueberry plants in 40-50 cm wide containers. But I started with smaller pots and changed to bigger ones when the plants grew. It is better to leave top 4-5 inch of the pot empty so that you can put composts every year on top of the soil. The blueberry container size should be at least 40 cm (1.3 ft) diameter and 30 cm (1 ft) deep.

Position: Where To Plant Blueberries?

Blueberries grow best in full sun. The blueberry plant need 6-7 hours of direct sun. Select the position of the plant carefully taking into account the need of acidic and freely draining weed-free soil and good air drainage that is essential for successful organic production. Once planted, it is very difficult to make major changes to improve soil.

Grow blueberries in containers- Blueberry baby plant from Nursery
Blueberry Plant from Nursery
Some people want to grow blueberries from seeds, but Growing them from established plants is the simplest way.
  1. The Container Size: Take a pot of size 60 diameter and 50 cm height with drainage holes at the bottom.
  2. Spacing: If you are growing blueberries in ground, then plant them 90 cm (3 feet) in rows, at least 1.5 m (5 feet) apart.
  3. Potting Soil For Blueberries
    Choosing the correct potting mix soil is the most important step in growing blueberries in containers and ground successfully.
    1. The best potting soil for blueberries in containers should have a humus-rich soil having a pH of 4 - 5.5 and low calcium content. Mix equal amounts of pine chips, peat moss and a premium quality azalea potting mix to make it the best potting mix for growing blueberries in containers. Instead of peat moss, you could mix decaying plant leaves, animal bones, pine sawdust or wood chips that make the soil rich in organic matter. Fill the pot with this potting mix and make a hole slightly larger than the baby plant container at the top centre of the soil to put the plant there.
    2. A lot of people struggle with growing blueberries because of incorrect soil mix they use. If the soil is alkaline, you can make it acidic (make acidic soil for blueberries naturally)
  4. Carefully take out the plant from the container and lightly roughen up the outside surface of the root ball with hand. Place the plant at the hole in the pot. Plant slightly deeper than it stood in its nursery pot.
  5. Spread a 15 cm layer of organic mulch over the ground.
  6. Place the pot in a sunny position.

How to Mulch Blueberry Bush

  1. After planting, apply a 15 cm of mulch of sawdust, wood chips, straw, shredded leaves, pine chips, sugarcane mulch or grass clippings to conserve moisture and prevent weeds. This mulch will keep the roots cool and moist. 
  2. Do not use cedar or redwood trees bark or sawdust as mulch. Mix some kelp meal into mulch to add trace minerals.

Watering Blueberries

  1. Blueberry plants should be kept moist. Adding mulch will keep the humidity contained in the pot.
  2. Be careful when flower buds and fruits are forming. At this stage more water is needed. If the soil gets dried, then the flowers will drop and the fruits will be very less. If your blueberry is growing in containers, you may need to water your plants 2 times a day.
  3. As blueberries are sensitive to chemicals, rain water is ideal for irrigation because it contains few dissolved salts (rain that has no pollution in it has a pH of 5.6). Grey or recycled water is not suitable. If your water is alkaline i.e. hard water, acidify it with 4 teaspoons of vinegar per 10 litre.
  4. Avoid watering plants over their foliage to avoid leaf fungal diseases.
  5. Water your blueberry plants such that it does not come out of the drainage holes. This will save the nutrients, specifically the acidity of the soil.

Fertilizer For Blueberries

  1. Do not fertilize for at least six weeks after planting. Blueberries require nitrogen in plenty in the form of ammonium sulphate or urea. They don't like nitrates and chlorides. They enjoy Sulphate of Potash.
  2. Fertilize in early spring and in late spring with Azalea fertilizer to the drip line. Water thoroughly after fertilizing. Use less fertilizer than what is recommended since they are very sensitive to over-fertilization, the plant will die.
  3. You can apply some pelleted slow release organic fertilizer in early spring every year.
  4. A good 3 month slow release fertilizer or organic fertilizer every 3 months 
  5. Give a liquid feed (comfrey tea fertilizer) 2 times through the growing season.
  6. A good liquid foliar feed every 2 weeks from the first sign of fruit will increase fruit size.

Organic Fertilizers for Growing Blueberries

Organic fertilizers are ideal because they are less likely to burn the plant's delicate roots. These fertilizers have a slower release time. Slow release organic nitrogen sources are acidic cotton seed meal (6-2.5-1.7), feather meal (13-0-0), fish meal (10-4-0), soybean meal (7-1.6-2-3) or alfalfa meal (3-1-2). Blood meal (NPK 12-1.5-0.6) is a quick acting fertilizer that lasts 6 to 8 weeks.
  1. A 3-inch-thick layer of leaves or sawdust promotes a healthy blueberry bush.
  2. Coffee grounds are a good source of nitrogen. Rake 4 cups of coffee grounds into the top layer of soil.
  3. The fallen tree leaves can be crushed and racked into the top soil.
  4. Pine sawdust, wood chips, Blood meal, soybean meal, fish meal, Alfalfa meal, cotton seed meal, feather meal, etc. are good sources of organic fertilizers. Use soybean or alfalfa meal at the rate of 1/2 to 2 cups per plant depending on plant size.
  5. Never use any kind of manure.
  6. Foliage Feeding - Liquid seaweed or fish emulsion or compost tea can be sprayed on foliage of the plant at the time of first appearance of buds, before harvest and just after harvest.

Harvesting Blueberries

Blueberry bushes bloom in winter to produce fruits for picking up in summer. Harvest blueberries after a few days after they turn blue to allow them to reach their full flavour and aroma. You could tickle the blue bunches of berries, the fully ripe ones will fall off into your hand to reward yourself with the sweetest berries.

Pruning Tips For Blueberry Bush

  1. In the first 2 years, remove most of the flower blooms as they appear. This allows plant to put all of its energy in growing.
  2. Remove low growth around the base.
  3. Remove the old, dry and damaged stems every winter.
  4. Annual hard pruning of the older branches when the plant is dormant  will encourage healthier and more vigorous growth producing larger fruits. prune these older branches to the ground level every year.
  5. Keep vertical branches to promote upward growth and remove horizontal branches which may touch to the ground. Open the canopy to promote air movement. Also reduce branches touching to each other.
  6. Avoid over-fruiting which results in small fruit or poor growth, so prune your plant to half its size each year for vigorous growth after 3 years.
  7. Remember, blueberries produce fruit on the tips of the previous season's growth.

Pests, Diseases and Problems on Blueberries

The blueberry plants are generally trouble-free. Caterpillars can damage the plant. The plant is susceptible to fungal leaf diseases under high humidity. Apply a good fungicide to protect against this.

Birds will undoubtedly be after your berries. Luckily there are several things to protect your berries from birds. The effective way that I do to deter them is by covering the bushes with a netting.

Storing Blueberries can be frozen in a freezer proof container or zip lock bag without doing damage to their antioxidant properties.

Note: Plant 2-3 varieties of the plant to allow them to cross-pollinate and produce better yield with bigger fruits. You may plant an early, a mid and a late variety together to get berries for a longer period.

Growing Blueberries in Containers

Video on Blueberries
How to Grow blueberries in Containers
Blueberry Flowers To Fruit Grown in Container
The video shows the hundreds of blooms or flowers on my blueberry plants, which will grow as blueberries in 2 months time.
How to make soil acidic naturally
Blueberry propagation by cuttings


  1. Plants Profile: Vaccinium corymbosum L., High bush blueberry, US Department of Agriculture, National Resources Conservation Service. 2013. plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=VACO 
  2. Yi W, Fischer J, Krewer G, Akoh CC, Phenolic compounds from blueberries can inhibit colon cancer cell proliferation and induce apoptosis, J Agric Food Chem. 53 (18), 7320–9, 2005. 
  3. The benefits of berries, Chicago Tribune, 2011-03-03. featuresblogs.chicagotribune.com/features_julieshealthclub/2011/03/the-benefits-of-berries.html 
  4. In-depth nutrition information on raw blueberries Nutritiondata.com,
  5. Antioxidants and Cancer Prevention,Fact Sheet. National Cancer Institute.
  6. Basu A, Du M, Leyva MJ et al., Blueberries Decrease Cardiovascular Risk Factors in Obese Men and Women with Metabolic Syndrome, The Journal of Nutrition. Bethesda: Sep 2010. Vol. 140, Iss. 9; p. 1582-1587. 2010.
  7. Still AJ, Cash KC, Johnson WD et al. Bioactives in Blueberries Improve Insulin Sensitivity in Obese, Insulin-Resistant Men and Women. The Journal of Nutrition. Bethesda: Oct 2010. Vol. 140, Iss. 10; p. 1764-1768. 2010.
  8. Carroll J et al., 2013 Production Guide for Organic Blueberries, NYS IPM Publication No. 225, nysipm.cornell.edu/organic_guide/blueberry.pdf


Anonymous December 08, 2014 8:37 AM
Should I prune my blueberry plants?
P. Mehta December 08, 2014 8:40 AM
For the first 3 years, no pruning is required except removing dead tips and branches and horizontal thin branches near the base.
Anonymous December 08, 2014 8:42 AM
What is the best time to plant a blueberry plant?
P. Mehta December 08, 2014 8:47 AM
You can plant a potted blueberry plant that you buy from your nursery at any time because these potted plants have a good root system, so they undergo minimal transplant shock.
George September 23, 2015 8:30 AM
How big a blueberries bushes grow?
P. Mehta September 24, 2015 7:09 AM
Blueberries bushes can grow to a height of 4-7 feet depending on the blueberry bush type. Low bush type grows to less than 2 ft high.