Until recently, blueberries seemed to be as American as…well…blueberry pie, but the first blueberry plants were actually introduced in England in 1949, and the British blueberry is now one of the best in the world.
Lately praised as a ‘superfood’, blueberries have the highest antioxidant capacity of all fresh fruit – plus they are very low in calories and are believed to help control abdominal fat. The fruit is also expensive to buy in the shops, so growing your own to keep you supplied throughout the British blueberry season, from May through to October, can be a real money-saver.
Blueberries demand an acid soil. If yours is chalk or clay then we advise against growing blueberries in the ground. In perfect soil and left to grow, some varieties can reach 1.8m (6ft), but can be pruned to a manageable height.
However, blueberries are generally best grown in pots, and are perfect on the patio. Use very coarse, very ericaceous compost, ideally mixing conifer woodchip into standard ericaceous compost to give the roots their preferred texture.
For a continuous crop and to help with cross pollination, choose at least two or three plants, all of different varieties. In general, blueberry varieties all flower at similar times and there will be some overlap, but do ask our staff for advice on plants to buy for a continuous crop.
Blueberries like hard pruning, which improves the fruit size. They fruit on 2nd year wood, which should be cut out after fruiting, leaving the young, pinkish-red growth with fruit buds for next year.