When/how to plant:
- Late fall through winter, using 2–3 year old plants.
- Blueberries require acidic soil; a soil test will help determine how much to acidify your soil. Be sure the soil has a pH between 4.5 and 6.5. If it's a clay soil, use organic mater to amend the soil, preferably peat moss. Oregon State University has information on acidifying soil for blueberries.
- Blueberries do well in containers like half wine casks. Be sure there is a drainage hole.
Harvest window: May–September, depending on variety. Most ripen in June. Protect from birds with netting.
Fertilization: From the California Master Gardener Handbook: Four weeks after planting, apply 10-10-10 fertilizer at the rate of about 1 ounce (1½ tbsp) per plant. Sprinkle it evenly within 12 to 18 inches of the plant but not directly on the crown or stems. If possible, use mixes in which the potassium is supplied as potassium sulfate rather than potassium chloride. One of the best nitrogen sources is ammonium sulfate, which helps acidify the soil. As the plants reach mature size, apply the above fertilizers at a rate of ½ cup per plant 3 or 4 times per year, starting in the early spring when growth starts and at 2-month intervals. Organic-based fertilizers can also be used. Apply 1 pound of feather meal, blood meal, or fish meal per plant. Slow-release fertilizers also work very well.
More information on fertilizing blueberries is available from the Purdue University Cooperative Extension.
Annual care overview:
- Blueberry varieties appropriate to Santa Clara County [Southern highbush and Northern highbush] bloom in late January through March. These flowers become berries for harvest in late May through early September. New branch and leaf growth begins after berry harvest and continues until fall colors appear in September through November. Some, not all, blueberry varieties are deciduous and drop their leaves in late November–December. The plants are dormant December–January.
- Blueberries need annual pruning to maintain the right balance of new & previous season growth.
- Adding sulfur during our wet season helps maintain acid soil conditions.
- Mulch in hot summer / early fall weather so roots remain cool and moist.
Blueberry Trial Summary, 1997: Growing Blueberries in Santa Clara County
Fall Creek Farm & Nursery offers comprehensive information about growing blueberries and new varieties for the home gardener.
Dave Wilson Nursery offers Growing Blueberries for Home Gardens.
Some Recommended Varieties for Santa Clara County*
Blueberries: Bluecrop, Chandler, Georgia Gem, Gulf Coast, Jubilee, Miramba, Misty, O'Neal, and Reveille. More details are available on our blueberry varieties page.
* Many other varieties may also do well here in Santa Clara County. This list is based on UC Master Gardener trials, taste tests, and feedback from local growers.
No endorsement of named products or companies is intended, nor is criticism implied of similar products or companies that are not mentioned, nor is currently availability guaranteed.