Blueberries in a Self Watering Container


It may not be pretty but Homegrown Revolution has blueberries.

To grow blueberries in a warm climate such as Los Angeles you’ll need to choose a heat tolerant southern highbush variety. Southern highbush blueberries are hybrids that don’t require the winter chilling of their northern relatives. Blueberries also need cross pollination so they should be planted in pairs. We mail ordered two different varieties, “Oneal” and “Misty” in bare root form earlier this year from Peaceful Valley Farm & Garden Supply.

Blueberries require an acidic soil, of the sort you’d find in a wet forest climate, so we planted them in a self watering container with a home made soil mix made up of 1/3 peat moss, 1/3 wood chips and 1/3 azalea mix.

Their special soil requirements and shallow roots make blueberries an ideal plant for self watering containers. And attention apartment homesteaders–blueberries will work nicely on that south facing balcony.

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10 Comments

  1. Dear Kelly and Erik,

    I am wondering how your blueberries are holding up in the containers. I just bought Misty and Sharpblue plants, 2 each, and wanted to pot them in SWCs. I’m wondering if yours are happy 4 years later, or ? I’d love to know.

    Thank you for your book and your blog. I love them both.

    Tracy

  2. @Tracy:

    Er…uh…well…we sort of forgot to fill the water reservoirs on the blueberries for a few weeks one summer and killed them. Embarassing but true.

    Before that they were doing well. It was my impression that they were a little constrained size-wise, and because of their small size, didn’t produce many berries. Don’t know if they would have filled in more if they’d lived longer. (We had them for maybe 3 years) They were fun to have around, and pretty, but not the most productive food source imaginable.

  3. Thanks for your candidness. I fear the same fate would befall a perennial in my care. By the time the plants are established they should be a little drought tolerant if they are in the ground. Darn it! Now I just have to source some ground…

    Thanks, again.

  4. @Tracy:

    A correction–Erik reminded me that one plant died of a disease–we believe it was sharpshooter’s–as it killed our grape at the same time. The other plant we killed on our own.

    If you’ve got the ground, I think the blueberries would be happiest in it.

  5. so then you have no idea what you are doing ?

    i hate it when people post stuff on the internet when they do not really know what the heck they are doing

  6. @anon: Apologies for not being omnipotent gods. However, we stand by the post. The containers work for blueberries and many other plants.

    We could do nothing about the diseased blueberry–we think the disease it got was similar to the disease that kills grapes here–it’s unavoidable and untreatable. And the second plant which one we thought we’d killed by under-watering actually revived and is doing well and making blueberries right now.

    Our real mistake is trying to push blueberries to grow in a climate that isn’t ideal for them. LA just isn’t blueberry country. We’ve learned that if you stay true to your local climate you’ll have less of these sorts of problems.

  7. My blueberry in Glendale, CA [next door] isn’t loving its SWC either but it is better than it was in the standard pot. In the ground may be the way to go. PS: the other @anon (above) is a grumpkin! LOL! Thanks for posting on this topic. Many people appreciate hearing the truth.

    • I think the problem is in part to the soil mix that you used I would just go with peat and a good amount of pearite for half then a high quality compostmade of many differen’t things as possible and a large handfull of soil sulfer per plant and see how this works. you may need extra sulfur, izalia plant food and soft rock phosphate depending on how the plant does.

  8. I’ve used SWC containers successfully for tomatoes, peas, squash, and peppers. This year I’m dedicating my largest (which is a tub exactly like yours photoed) to a blueberry plant. I’m really excited and hope I will get berries even this year (hahah, ambitious). I bought a Sharp Blue variety, but I’m to get a different variety for optimal berry production. I don’t think I’ll be able to do the second one in a tub, but maybe I will. I’m in LA also and am hoping for the best. I really wanted raspberries but the blueberries seemed hardier- I guess I’ll see!

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