It is preferable to grow blueberries with at least one other variety. The reason for this is that the cross pollinations of two different varieties of blueberry will produce higher-yielding crops and larger berries. The blueberry seeds I sell are a mixture of various highbush blueberry seeds. Not all blueberry varieties can self pollinate, so the plants need to be grown within 100 feet of each other, and preferably with a different variety of blueberry. Blueberry seeds require a cold dormant period in order to increase germination success. These seeds have been stratified (kept cold for 4-8 weeks) which increases the germination rate. All of my seeds come with growing instructions on the seed pack.
Highbush blueberry plants are deciduous shrubs that can grow up to 12 feet (4 m) tall, and often is found in dense thickets. They can be trained to grow as an edible, and ornamental hedge. The dark glossy green leaves are elliptical and up to 5 cm long. In the fall, the leaves change colour to a brilliant red. They have excellent ornamental value. The flowers they produce are white, bell-shaped, and about 10 mm long. The fruit is a dark blue and large. The blueberries are great for eating fresh, making desserts, or jellies.
Berry plants are also a great addition to the garden as they will attract a large variety of birds and insects that will also prey on nearby garden pests. It helps as a form of companion planting when added to a diverse garden. Wild strawberries, white strawberries, and alpine strawberries are also acidic loving plants that can be grown at the base of blueberry bushes, and this can really help to maximise the use of your garden space.
Perennial (hardy in zones 4-9)
Time to sow: Spring to early Fall
Ease of germination: Moderate because it requires patience and can take a few weeks.
Light conditions: Grows in full sun to partial shade.
Uses: Culinary, tea, medicinal
It’s important to note that blueberry plants need to be in acidic soil in order to thrive. Blueberries will thrive in soil with a pH between 4 to 4.5. One of the best grow mediums to germinate blueberry seeds in is Canadian Sphagnum peat moss. Sphagnum peat moss is sterile medium with a pH of around 4. If you are unsure of the pH level of your soil, you can purchase a pH test kit from your local garden store. You can also buy products to amend the soil and increase or decrease the pH levels.
When starting blueberry berry plants from seed, the plants will take at least three years to mature and produce berries.
Growing Blueberries from Seed
If growing blueberries indoors, surface sow the seeds onto 2 inches or sphagnum peat moss or potting soil. Place the seeds in a location with indirect light. Keep the seeds moist and humid until they germinate. You never want the soil soaking wet for long periods of time or you can run into mold problems. Once the seeds have germinated you can water a little less but keep the soil moist and don’t let it dry out completely. If starting the seeds outdoors do the same thing except cover the seeds lightly with peat moss or soil. Don’t give up if you think the seeds are taking to long. The seeds can take anywhere from 4 to 8 weeks to germinate depending on the conditions.
For more information and instructions on growing blueberries from seed, click here to read my blog post.
The Berry Grower’s Companion.