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Edition 25 - April 2023
Growing Northern Blueberries

Like blueberries? Who doesn’t? These tasty and delightful little blue fruits are a powerhouse of antioxidants and nutrition, promoting a healthy heart, reducing inflammation, and boosting brain function. But did you know that blueberries are relatively easy to grow, do not require much space, involve minimal care, and come in a myriad of varieties? And there’s more! Blueberry bushes offer lovely, dainty white flowers in spring, attractive, glossy green leaves in summer, and spectacular crimson foliage in fall, making them a valuable ornamental shrub. Whether you’re looking for a sweet, healthy snack or an attractive landscape plant, a northern blueberry bush is an excellent choice.


Northern blueberries are native to North America and are the most common type of wild blueberry.

These berries can be divided into two main types: highbush and lowbush.

Highbush Blueberries (Vaccinium corymbosum)
Highbush Blueberries, also known as hybrid or cultivated blueberries, grow on tall shrubs, about six to eight feet high. However, there are some compact varieties that grow three to four feet tall. Highbush are the blueberries most often grown commercially due to their larger size and yield. An added bonus is that bending is not required to harvest due to their height. Plan on planting highbush blueberries four to five feet apart.

Lowbush Blueberries (Vaccinium angustifolium)
Lowbush Blueberries, also called wild blueberries, grow on shorter shrubs, about two feet tall, and produce smaller yet highly flavorful berries. They are hardier than highbush and do well in a variety of soils, as long as they are well-draining. Plan on planting lowbush blueberries two to three feet apart.

Most blueberry plants are self-pollinating, but you’ll get a bigger yield with cross-pollination, which means you should plant at least two different blueberry varieties. Not all varieties flower at the same time. Some bloom and ripen early, while others flower and ripen later. Check with your knowledgeable local independent garden center to learn which blueberry varieties work well as pollinating partners in your area.


Blueberries may be planted in either the spring or fall, with the best availability being in the spring. Your local garden center can recommend the most suitable highbush and lowbush varieties for your garden. Once you've made your selection, it's time to plant. All blueberries have the same cultural requirements:

• full sun, but will tolerate light shade, 

• well-draining soil,

• lots of organic matter,

• and acid soil.

Select an appropriate planting site. Blueberries prefer soil with plenty of organic matter. Test your soil pH. Blueberries require acid soil with a pH of 4.5 to 5.5. If your soil is too alkaline, your local garden center will recommend the type and amount of soil acidifier needed to adjust it. This process will take place over time so as not to shock the plant, but it is best done one year before planting. If you have no time to waste and wish to plant blueberry bushes immediately, amend your native soil with Coast of Maine® Organic & Natural Planting Soil for Acid-Loving Plants. This product has everything that your blueberry bushes need at planting time. It is a low pH bagged soil enriched with premium quality compost. It will create the ideal growing conditions for blueberries!


Water blueberries well after planting, and make sure that they receive at least one inch of water per week. Mulch the area around the bushes to keep the soil moist and weeds at bay. Do not feed blueberries at planting time, as the roots are sensitive to fertilizer. Once established, however, blueberry bushes should be fertilized two times a year: once in early spring and again in late spring. We recommend using Coast of Maine® Stonington Blend Plant Food. This all-purpose, organic fertilizer will ensure healthy, robust growth and a high fruit yield.


Highbush Blueberries
Prune annually in late winter/early spring after the plant has been in the ground for about three years. Prune by removing approximately one-third of the oldest branches thicker than a pencil or that are sporting no new buds or flowers. This will help keep your plants healthy and promote vigorous new growth each season.

Lowbush Blueberries
Lowbush Blueberries should be pruned beginning in year six or seven. At that time, the plant may be cut back to the ground every two years to keep it strong and productive.


We love blueberries, and so do the birds! Draping bushes with bird netting at fruit set will ensure that you and your family enjoy the delicious berries, not our fine feathered friends. 

Growing blueberries in the home garden can be a rewarding experience, and with so many varieties to choose from, you are sure to find one that suits your needs. Whether you opt for high-bush or low-bush blueberries, both offer unique flavors and benefits that make them an ideal choice for any gardener. 

Organic & Natural Planting Soil for Acid-Loving Plants

Love acid-loving plants? Show your ferns, azaleas, rhododendrons, hydrangeas, hollies, and blueberries how much you care by planting them in, or top dressing them with, Coast of Maine® Organic & Natural Planting Soil for Acid-Loving Plants. Hand-crafted to meet the needs of crops, shrubs, and flowers that thrive in lower pH soils.


Learn why it is best to go with Coast of Maine®
when planting blueberries and acid-loving plants.


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