QUESTION: Do blueberries grow better in pots or in the ground? I want to have the best odds of success. What do you think? – Janelle U
GARDENING CHANNEL REPLIES: As a rule of thumb, blueberries grow best in the ground. However, don’t let this deter you from growing blueberries in a container.
In fact, both methods have their perks and drawbacks. Let’s discuss each method, so you can make an informed decision for your particular situation:
Growing Blueberries in the Ground
When growing blueberries in the ground, they should grow well as long as they’re planted in a growing location with full sunlight, acidic soil with a pH between 4.5 and 5.5, and the soil drains properly.
The reason blueberries do best in this setting is they can thrive even if neglected. There’s enough soil that the shallow roots of the plant have room to move around and ensure the plant never fully dries out.
Keep in mind, you will need to water blueberries during their first year to ensure they receive one-inch of water each week either from you or nature.
Beyond this, provide pruning each year to remove any dead, damaged, or tangled areas of the plant, and your blueberries should have what they need to thrive.
A drawback to growing blueberries in the ground is that you must have ground to grow them in. If you’re an apartment dweller who would like to grow your own fresh fruit, this may not be a reality for you.
Thankfully, blueberries can be grown using other gardening methods. Let’s discuss another gardening method and how blueberries may still grow well in a different setting.
Growing Blueberries in a Container
The pros to growing blueberries in containers are many. The first positive to this growing method is that it allows you to grow blueberries when otherwise, you probably couldn’t.
By growing blueberries in containers, you’re able to grow this plant on a deck, balcony, or even a small patio. Even if you don’t have a larger yard, you aren’t excluded from growing blueberries if they’re part of a container garden.
The next benefit is that you have more control over the soil. When growing blueberries in the ground, you can amend the growing space.
However, when you’re creating the growing space from scratch, you have more control over the elements you wish to be included or excluded in your growing medium.
Lastly, you may move the plant around as needed to ensure it receives adequate amounts of sunlight throughout the day. This provides more flexibility with the plant’s placement.
The cons to growing blueberries in a container are the plants need water more frequently. Since there’s less soil to store moisture, the plants will need replenishment frequently.
Next, you must change the soil on a consistent basis (typically once per year) to freshen the ingredients of the growing medium and ensure the plant still has what it needs to thrive.
There’s less forgiveness from the soil when growing in a container because the plant doesn’t have support from the environment surrounding it.
Finally, blueberry plants must be protected over winter. When grown in the ground, you can mulch them to provide insulation, and they should survive the cold temperatures unscathed.
However, when growing in a container, you must move the plant to a location with temperatures ranging from 20- to 50-degrees Fahrenheit. This is cold enough to allow the plant to go dormant but not so cold that the roots will freeze.
If you don’t have a location like this, it’s best to plant the entire container in the ground and surround it with mulch to provide a few layers of insulation over winter.
These are the things you should consider when deciding how to grow blueberries around your home. Blueberries typically grow better in the ground because they have more support from their surroundings which puts less pressure on the gardener to perform each task right on time.
However, if you have a non-traditional growing location, you may still grow blueberries in a container. Be sure to take these tips into consideration when growing blueberries in containers to have a better growing experience. Good luck to you as you set out to grow and enjoy homegrown blueberries straight from your yard or balcony.
Learn More About Growing Blueberries
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