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Blueberries are one of the most popular fruits available today. Combine that with their 'super-fruit' status and you have an ideal choice for trying to growing at home. Native to North America, blueberries require a moist, well drained acidic soil to produce a decent crop, but if you don't have the right conditions do not worry. You can grow a perfectly good fruit in a container.
|Wild American blueberry - image credit Berean Hunter|
Blueberries are very fussy about the acidity of the soil. If it is neutral or alkaline then the roots of the blueberry will be unable to take up certain, important such as iron and magnesium. This will cause discolouration in the leaves, stunted growth, and a very poor crop, if any. However this is easily managed when growing blueberries in a pot by purchasing a bag of good quality, soil-based ericaceous compost such as John Innes 'Ericaceous'.
If you are unable to get hold of ericaceous compost then you can lower the acidity by adding sulphur chips. Check the soil acidity can be measured by a pH meter, which you can buy from DIY stores, or garden centres. The pH of your soil needs to be pH 5.5 or lower for blueberries to thrive.
Growing blueberries in containers
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When planting, place some crocks (small pieces of broken concrete, clay pots, or polystyrene) in the bottom of the containers to help retain moisture.
Place the container in a sunny, sheltered spot and do not allow to dry out over the period. Keep the compost moist, but not waterlogged and using rain water over tap water is preferable.
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The blueberry berries will begin to ripen from mid-summer onwards. This is marked by the berries changing colour from green to dusty blue. Once blue they can be harvested, just keep an eye on competition from birds. If birds become a real problem then protect your plants under bird-proof netting.
Pick over the plants several times as not all the fruit ripens at the same time.
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