Blueberries are a great plant to keep in your home or your garden. They are relatively easy to grow, and you don’t need a big area to develop a healthy crop. However, what do you do with potted blueberries during the winter?
Keep the potted blueberries insulated so they are in a safe and warm environment. Add mulch such as hay, dried leaves, straw, bark to the potting soil to keep the plant warm. Wrap layers of burlap around the pot for warmth.
Below, we’ll go into basic blueberry care and more detail about caring for potted blueberries in the winter.
1. Bury the blueberry pot to keep it warm
If you keep your potted blueberries outside, you’ll want to reserve some room for them in the garden. The bush will stay in the pot, but you will have to bury the pot around mid to late autumn to help the bush survive the winter.
Blueberry roots need to be kept warm in the winter, so burying the pot gives the roots a bit more protection against the cold winter than your pot’s thin wall. You’ll also want to cover the pot with dirt, mulch, and hay to give it protection on top. It is okay to put mulch and hay around the trunk because it won’t be growing at this time.
2. Cover the blueberry pot with a sack
You should also cover the plant in a burlap sack or some covering to keep it safe. Strong winds and lots of snow can cause damage to the plant. It will still need as much sun as it can get during this time, but protecting it from the snow is a priority. It can handle some snow, but too much could freeze and kill the roots or damage the branches.
3. Water the blueberry plant
You will also need to continue to water your plants. The snow will keep the plants hydrated enough in snowy areas, so you won’t have to water them in this circumstance. However, if there is little to no snow on the ground, you’ll want to check on your plant to ensure its dirt is still moist. If the soil isn’t moist at a depth of one inch, it needs to be watered.
4. Prune the blueberry plant
Be sure to prune your plants near the end of winter. You should cut off any dead branches and stems. You also need to remove about a third of the outside layer of branches. This is to encourage growth and reanimate the plant a bit to prepare it for spring.
5. Store the blueberry plant pot indoors
If you don’t have a spot in your garden to place your blueberry pot, you can store it in a garage, barn, or unheated building during the winter. However, you will still need to provide your blueberries with some sun during this time. The best thing to do is get an LED light to put over the plant. You should still cover the top of the pot and dirt with extra dirt, mulch, and hay to keep the roots warm.
If you keep your blueberry pot indoors at all times because you live in an apartment or don’t have a garden, you won’t be able to grow berries year-round. It still needs time to remain dormant while inside before it can start producing more berries. For your indoor bush, keep it in the sun, keep it watered, and give it an area that is a little cooler so it can go into its hibernation state for the winter.
How to care for potted blueberry plants
Taking care of any type of blueberries can be rewarding, but it’s also relatively easy. You will need to make sure you have a big enough pot, about 45 cm or 15 -18 inches deep and 18- 20 inches wide for potted blueberries. Standard bushes grow to be about 6 ft tall and wide, but dwarf blueberry bushes will fit nicely in a pot with these dimensions.
The best types of dwarf blueberries are tophat, north sky, north blue, and sunshine blue. They grow to be about 18 inches tall, so you don’t have to worry about creating a monster of a plant that takes over the whole pot. The pot you get should also not absorb a lot of heat, so avoid black plastic ones. This is to prevent the roots from overheating and dying.
Blueberry plants need exposure to about 6 to 8 hours of sunlight, a typical day of light. On long summer days, be sure to move your blueberries to shade, so they don’t get too dry. When it comes to watering these plants, do it regularly. The soil should be moist but never soggy; you don’t want to drown your blueberries. If the top of the plant begins to feel dry, that is a good time to water them a bit.
Keep your blueberries fed with fertilizer or compost, but not all the time. When the blueberries first start to grow leaves and bud, you give the plant its first bit of fertilizer. Use about half a cup for the size of the pot we mentioned above.
Give it about two months before giving it a second dose of fertilizer. Then wait two more months before its third and final dose for that season on growth.
When the bush is in full berry bloom during late summer, cover the soil in mulch to help keep the roots cool and trap the cool water in. This also prevents some insects from getting into your plant and eating it up. However, you shouldn’t put mulch around the trunk because it can prevent new blueberry branches from growing.
Leave about an inch or 2 of space around the trunk. You can also put netting over the bush to prevent hungry birds from eating all your blueberries before you get the chance to try them.
If possible, it is good to grow two blueberry bushes simultaneously because they will be able to pollinate one another.