Did you know the first blueberry didn’t hit Australian shores until the 1970s? Now we’re spoilt for choice with so many different types of blueberries available:
- Northern highbush or Bluecrop: best for cold climates like Victoria and Tasmania.
- Southern highbush or Sunshine Blue: best for warmer climates like New South Wales and Queensland.
- Brightwell or Rabbiteye: one of the hardiest varieties around, best for moderately cool climates like New South Wales and Victoria.
- Sharpblue: known for its large fruit, best grown in New South Wales.
Climate and aspect
The only thing that blueberries are fussy about is where they are planted. Whilst they’ll tolerate part shade they’ll thrive in full sun. Blueberries can grow throughout Australia just pick a variety that is best for your area.
How to plant blueberries
The best time to plant blueberries is in late autumn and early spring.
- The easiest way to grow blueberries is from a small bush (2 to 3-year-old plants) which you can generally purchase in late Autumn and winter from bunnings or your local hardware.
- Blueberries like acidic soil (pH 4.5-5.5) that is rich in organic matter (like compost), so look for potting mix similar to mixtures made for camellias. Dig a hole bigger than the size of your pot and using your hands cover and submerge the plant firmly with soil.
- Lay an organic mulch mix at the base keeping it 3-5cm away from the trunk.
- For the best crop, it is recommended that you plant 3-4 bushes at a time.
If you want to learn how to grow blueberries in pots, follow this guide.
How to harvest blueberries
Wondering how long it takes for blueberries to grow? Experts recommend pruning fruits and flowers in the first year after planting but if you do so it is extremely helpful at promoting great roots for a longer lifetime of beautiful fruit.
Generally speaking, in Australia blueberry picking season is October to February but plants will fruit from July through to April.
Hint: give your blueberries enough time to ripen, wait until the fruit goes very dark and try a couple before harvesting.
How to prune blueberries
When it comes to pruning, blueberries are happy with very little attention. If you’re growing blueberries in a pot trim back any long stems to keep the bush nice and compact. It doesn’t really matter when you prune but during the growing season is best.
Plant care and troubleshooting
Don’t be alarmed but blueberries will drop their leaves in winter.
After planting water blueberries every 2-3 days without letting the soil get too soggy. Once established water once a week depending on the conditions.
Blueberries are also one of birds and possums favourite foods so keep your delicious blueberries protected with bird netting from Bunnings.
The best companion plants for blueberries are basil, thyme and rhubarb.
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