Can I grow blueberry

The Blueberry is a handsome shrub that grows to 2m. The delicious berries are borne on one-year-old stems and ripen from spring to summer. Up to 5kg of fruit may be picked in a season.

Blueberry is easy to grow but does require a distinctly acidicsoil (pH 6 or less).  Neutral or slightly alkaline garden soils must be acidified with peat and sulphur. Maintain high levels of humus in the soil. Adelaide Hills soils will often be suitable without modification but still check the pH.

Blueberry is a successful pot plant. In limestone soil areas this may be the only successful method. Use acidic potting mix suitable for Camellia and Azalea.  On occasions use some acidifying fertilisers such as sulphate of iron and powdered sulphur to counteract increasing alkalinity due to tap water. Use a slow release fertiliser such as Osmocote to provide basic nutrition. Apply twice every year.

Place the plant in a sheltered but well lit position. Some shade in summer is helpful. Morning light is preferred to afternoon sun.

Prune for shape for the first two years. Each winter thereafter, prune out some old stems back to their bases to maintain 4-6 vigorous young bearing stems.

Low-chill varieties for places with mild winters.

Magnolia

  • Southern Highbush
  • Grows to 1.5m
  • Ripens mid to late January
  • Large sweet berry
  • Heavy crop
  • Very attractive evergreen

Highbush Varieties for places with cool winters

Approximately 750 – 1000 hours chilling required to satisfy dormancy. Mainly self fruitful but will perform better planted with another variety. Main type of blueberry for the cooler areas of Australia.

Northland
Spreading, vigorous bush to 1.5m. Very productive with medium size, dark, sweet fruit. Large picking scar makes fruit unsuitable for wholesale market sales, but is an excellent variety for U-pick, local sales, and for processing. Fruit hangs without dropping and gets progressively sweeter. Northland performs exceptionally well in areas of extreme summer and winter temperatures.  Ripen January to March.

Denise
Medium vigour and height to 1.5m, with slightly spreading growth habit. Fruit is very large and round, medium blue with red around stem end. Distinct tangy flavour. Heavy yields of big, attractive berries, makes this variety very popular with some growers. Berries usually delicious but can lose flavour once very ripe. Also can tear at picking scar. Seems to perform best in warm areas. Good for fresh sales including U-pick but does not keep well. Ripen January.

5 thoughts on “Can I grow blueberry

  1. Dear Sir/Madam,
    We visited Perry’s Nursery today and bought a Lime and a Pomegranate tree. Greg served us and was very helpful. I just went online and saw your write up on Blueberries. As they require acidic soil you mention acidifying adding fertilisers such as sulphate of iron and powdered sulphur. Is that the yellow powdered sulphur that is used for dusting tomatoes? We live in Hawthorndene which is east of Blackwood but not as cold as Mt Barker. We don’t get a lot of frosts in winter, rather a lot of wet drizzly and rainy days, but on occasions, some winter we have had a few early mornings with a white frost on the Hawthorndene School oval. We live a couple of blocks south of the school over up on a rise in Scroop Road. In view of what you call cool and mild winters, what variety/s of blueberry would you advise planting in Hawthorndene?
    Yours faithfully,
    Keith Richter

    1. Keith
      Pardon my slow reply.
      Dusting sulphur may work but Agricultural Sulpher is what would normally be used. I have some nice medium chill blueberry available now for $49, variety Blue Crop.

  2. Hi I live on Kangaroo Island, Kingscote. We have limestone, so your recommendation would be 1/2 barrel ?, with acidic potting soil ? Is it possible to plant more than 1 variety in the barrel ? early & later varieties.? What varieties would suit KI. Thank you

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