Blueberries bring a unique combination of delicious fruit and striking, year round ornamental beauty to the garden and landscape. They're relatively easy to grow and require minimal care. By following just a few basic steps, your blueberry plants will thrive for many decades and provide you with abundant fruit every year. We highly recommend you read the Blueberries Simplifed section of our site for a primer on selecting varieties. Below are some basic tips to help ensure your success with blueberries:


Blueberry Site Selection

Select a sunny location with well-drained soil that is free of weeds and is well-worked. It's best to locate your blueberry plants in an area where irrigation is readily available as best results will be achieved by keeping the root zone moist throughout the growing season.

Locations where the soil is not ideal or marginally-drained, raised beds are an excellent option. Blueberries also do well in patio containers and offer a great way for apartment and condo dwellers and those with little or no yard to enjoy growing blueberries.


Soil Conditions

Blueberries prefer acidic soils, ideally with a pH range between 4.5 and 5.5. Before planting, test the soil pH and make necessary adjustments to ensure it meets these acidic requirements. Lowering soil pH can be a gradual process, often achieved by adding sulfur or other acidifying agents.

Remember to talk to your local garden center. They’re experts in your area and can best advise you on soil amendments.


Site Preparation for Planting Blueberries

A fail-safe way to grow blueberries in almost any soil is to incorporate peat moss into the planting medium. For planting directly in the ground:

  1. Work up a planting area approximately 2½ feet in diameter and 1 foot deep for each plant.

  2. Remove 1/3 to 1/2 of the soil.

  3. Add an equal amount of pre-moistened peat moss and mix well. (One 4 cubic foot compressed bale will usually be sufficient for 4-5 plants.)

  4. For raised beds mix equal volumes peat moss with bark (not cedar or redwood), compost or planting mix.


Blueberry Plant Spacing

Blueberries can be planted as close as 2 - 2½ feet apart to form solid hedgerows or spaced up to 6 feet apart and grown individually. If planted in rows, allow 8 to 10 feet between the rows depending on equipment used for mowing or cultivating.


Ideal Seasons for Planting Blueberries

In most areas, it is ideal to plant in the fall or spring although in many regions you can plant year round.


Planting Blueberry Plants

If you purchased containerized blueberry plants, remove from pot and lightly roughen up the outside surface of the root ball. Mound the plant’s top soil about 1/2 inch higher than the existing ground and firm around root ball. Then mound soil up along sides of exposed root mass and water well.



Blueberries do best with 2-4 inches of mulch over the roots to conserve moisture, prevent weeds and add organic matter. Bark O Mulch, acid compost, sawdust and grass clippings all work well. Repeat every other year. Do not use bark or sawdust from cedar or redwood trees.


Pruning Blueberry Plants

It's a good idea to allow blueberries to get established before allowing them to bear fruit. If you start with smaller plants, simply remove most of the flower blooms as they appear. In future years, blueberry plants should be heavily pruned each year to avoid over-fruiting which results in small fruit or poor growth.

In our three decades of experience at Fall Creek®, we know that one of the biggest mistakes home gardeners make with their blueberries is lack of pruning. We assure you that aggressive, annual pruning will result in healthier, more vigorous plants and more prolific fruit production. Here are some simple tips:

  1. Remove low growth around the base

  2. Remove the dead wood, leaving bright colored lateral branches. Cut out any short, discolored branches.

  3. Continue pruning until you have removed 1/3 to 1/2 of the wood out of your plants each year. Remember, this will promote growth and berry production so prune away!



Once established, blueberries like acid fertilizers such as rhododendron or azalea formulations. (Ask your local garden center for recommendations.) Take care when fertilizing, since blueberries are very sensitive to over-fertilization. Follow label instructions.

It's ideal to fertilize once in early spring and again in late spring. Be sure to always water thoroughly after fertilizing. For organic fertilizers, blood meal and cottonseed meal work well. Avoid using manures as they can damage the plants.


Watering Blueberries

Blueberries require consistent and adequate watering to thrive. Provide about one inch of water throughout the growing season and increase it to around five inches while the fruit is ripening. This helps maintain optimal soil moisture for healthy plant development and fruitful yields.


Common Pests and Diseases in Blueberry Plants

Blueberries are resilient plants but can be susceptible to various pests and diseases.


Blueberries in the Northeast may face threats such as:

  • Mummy Berry

  • Phomopsis Twig Dieback

  • Anthracnose

  • Phytophthora Root Rot

  • Botrytis Blight/Gray Mold

  • Armillaria Root Rot

  • Scorchmosaic

Each has specific management strategies, including proper pruning, sanitation, fungicide applications, and good air circulation.


Blueberry plants may encounter pests such as:

  • Aphids

  • Sawflies

  • Spider Mites

  • Fruit Flies

How to Determine When Blueberries Are Ripe

Ripe blueberries are easily distinguishable by their dark blue color. They should have no tint of pink or red. Unripe berries have a tart taste and are firmer in texture.


Harvesting Blueberries

The best time to pick blueberries is in the early morning when they are cool and firm. Ripe berries will effortlessly fall off the stem with minimal effort.



How do you make soil acidic for blueberries?

Blueberries prefer soil with a pH between 4.0 and 5.5. Acidifying halos can be created by pouring acidifying granules in a circle around the drip line of each shrub.

Elemental sulfur is another effective method of increasing soil acidity, but it should be applied well in advance of planting, as it takes time to take effect.

Adding peat moss into the planting area is also helpful in maintaining soil acidity.


Where do blueberries grow best?

Blueberries grow best in sunny locations with well-drained soil. While they prefer full sun, blueberries can tolerate partial shade.

Ideal conditions for blueberries include loose, well-drained soil rich in organic material, and acidic soil with a pH level between 4.0 and 5.5.

Suitable locations for blueberry cultivation include various regions in the United States, Canada, Mexico, South America, and other parts of the world.


What is the best month to grow blueberries?

The best month to grow blueberries largely depends on whether you are considering planting or harvesting.

For planting, the fall or spring months are recommended. Fall planting allows for root establishment before winter, while spring planting takes advantage of the growing season.

As for harvesting, blueberries are typically ready for harvest between June and mid-September, depending on the specific variety and local climate.

Harvesting is typically done when the berries turn completely blue and are springy when gently squeezed. Therefore, the best months for growing blueberries span the spring, summer, and early fall seasons.


A NOTE TO HOME GARDENERS: We regret that we don’t have staff available to respond to home gardening questions on the phone or by email. If you have more questions, please contact your local garden center or extension agents. They’re the experts in your area.