Growing Blueberries In Pots
Berries that are fit for a king
A super fruit that is worth our attention is the blueberry plant which is loaded with vitamins and contains so many benefits that will have you feeling like a king.
This superfood is a favourite of so many households and is grown in many countries. How would you love to have this superfood growing in your garden?
I can think of many delicious recipes like pancakes and muffins that are a real treat with this fruit how about you what is your favourite treats that include blueberries?
Blueberries can be planted directly into the ground or in pots and later transferred to your garden area. But what does it takes to be successful when it comes to growing and harvesting these fruits?
Growing Blueberries In Pots
- Blueberries love full sunlight so ensure that your container is placed in a sunny location
- Blueberries should be planted in early spring which is the best time but can also be planted later in the season.
- The soil should be an organic well-drained soil
- The soil ph of these berries should be between 4 and 5.5
- Ensure that the containers have drain holes to drain excess water because blueberries don’t like wet feet
- Using an organic fertilizer or triple 10 offers good results
- Adding about 2-3inch layer of mulch is good to help the soil stay cool, hold water and add nutrients as decomposition of mulch sets in
- In northern regions protect your plant during the cool season by wrapping in burlap, placing in protected areas or covering with straws.
When to harvest
You have put in the hard work an now it is time to reap a harvest. Harvest time for these berries is in late July to mid-August. When they turn purple don’t pick yet, wait for a few days then you are good to go.
Insect pest of blueberries
I know, you have heard of this one so often but the reality is as long as we have gardens there will always be insects pest that will have to get dealt with. In this group of insect pest, there are yellow jackets, scales, aphids, leafhoppers, leafworms, Japanese beetles, fruit maggots, cherry fruitworms, cranberry fruitworms, thrips, and a few others.
Controlling insect pest of blueberries
There are many ways to control these insects pest which includes
- Chemical control
- Biological control
- Cultural control
Chemical control- is with the use of chemicals such as oil sprays and insecticidal soaps. Read and follow the label because the label is the law.
Biological control- involves releasing beneficial insects in your garden area. For plants growing in containers, chemical control is preferred for a more direct and targeted approach.
Cultural practice-involves placing your container-grown plant in the right location as discussed earlier, the right soil, amount of water and fertilizer. When you meet your blueberry plants condition in this way this will help to ensure that even though invaded by insect pest your plant will have a better chance of survival as you use control methods discussed earlier.
As beautiful as our friends are with their amazing tone as they sing so sweetly birds can become a pest by inviting themselves to our berries. But don’t despair because using these methods will help you to breath easier.
- Draping nets on plants have proven to be effective
- Installing a bird feed will redirect their attention from your berries
- Using a scarecrow
- Adding pinwheels that spin
- Chicken wire can do a good job
- Using an artificial snake
These are just a few of the methods that have proven to be effective in keeping those uninvited guest from stealing your berries.
Like insect and bird pest blueberries has its share of disease which are
- Botryodphaeris stem canker
- Blueberry mummy berry
- Blueberry stem blight
- Blueberry botrytis blight
- Septoria leaf spot
- Blueberry leaf spot
Botryodphaeris stem canker signs are lesions that appear on the stem. Within a month the canker swells, the steams also has cracks. This disease is hard to control therefore the earlier you can detect this disease will determine the overall health of your plant. With a sharp pruner remove disease parts and dispose of.
Blueberry mummy berry signs include tiny mushroom looking substance growing from berries. Also, the veins of the new leaf margins turn brown, the infected leaves wilts and curves. Spores develop at the base of the plant that is light grey. These spores affect fruits and flowers.
The berries that are infected turns a pinkish colour and becomes rubbery as the fruits begin to ripen. The infected berries shrivel and drops from plant turning black.
To control keep plant bed free of infected berries, apply a fungicide early at first sign. It is a good idea though to plant resistant varieties.
Blueberry stem blight is produced by a fungus that causes the leaves to turn red to brownish in colour, the stem also takes on this appearance as the infection sets in because of the fungal spores that are produced under the surface of the stem. Control this disease by proper cultural practice, pruning infected parts and keeping pruners sterilized between making cuts. Do not fertilize plants after mid-summer.
Blueberry botrytis blight is a fungus that affects the twigs, blossom, and fruits. The entire plant is covered with a grey, hairy fungal growth the shoots tips also turns brown-black. Unripe fruits shrivel and turn purple-bluish and as for fruits that are ripe takes on a pale-brown colour. The flowers that are infected turn brown taking on a water-soaked appearance.
Control measures include placing the plant in well-drained soil, ensure that your plant has proper air circulation, do not over fertilize, water in the morning to allow the plant to dry. Also, keep plants free of weeds that encourage disease.
Septoria leaf spot is a fungus that thrives in damp conditions. Signs to look for are tiny flat lesions on stems and leaves. The lesions have tan or grey centres with brown-purplish margins.
Leaves turn yellow and may fall from plants. To control keep area free of weeds that encourage disease, it is good to plant resistant cultivars. Do not overwater.
Blueberry leaf spot is caused by a fungus that causes the leaves to die and fall as the disease progresses. The leaves take on the appearance of being sprayed with chemicals. This disease is brought on in the spring under warm and wet conditions.
Control measure includes removing disease debris and properly disposing of them. Also applying captan or benlate every two weeks from harvest time until August has proven to be effective.
The final word
Growing homegrown blueberries can be a success it is all about knowing how and the rest is history. There are a few challenges that are presented but the good news is these challenges can be brought under control as you garden for success.
Blueberries are a superfood that is worth the effort go ahead and plant these bushes and enjoy the benefits they bring.