The Straight Dope

Go Back   Straight Dope Message Board > Main > General Questions

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 07-22-2007, 12:02 PM
Merijeek Merijeek is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Why won't my blueberry bush grow?

So, here's the situation.

Two summers ago I got one of those bags from Lowe's that had a stick poking out of it that's allegedly a blueberry bush.

I put it in a large pot, since I wasn't sure where in the yard I wanted it. It's probably a 2-3 gallon terra cotta planter.

Last year, it did nothing. It remained a stick. However, it never died, though. There was still a twinge of red and green that showed it was still alive, so I left it be.

This spring came, and I was finally going to get rid of the thing. When I went to do, it, though, it had some leaves on it! Victory! Probably about ten of them, even.

Now, nearly four months later, I have...a stick, allegedly a blueberry bush, that has about 10 leaves on it, stuck in a largish pot.

So, any suggestions?

-Joe
Reply With Quote
Advertisements  
  #2  
Old 07-22-2007, 12:10 PM
twickster twickster is offline
Illudium Q-36 Explosive Space
Moderator
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Philadelphia
Posts: 37,836
What kind of blueberry is it; what kind of sun is it getting; what kind of soil is it in? (High bush or low bush; should be getting a lot of sun and very acid soil.)

Did it get any flowers on it at all?

Blueberries cross-pollinate, so you need more than one bush, of more than one variety, in order to get fruit.
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 07-22-2007, 12:15 PM
Fear Itself Fear Itself is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 1999
Location: 847 mi. from Cecil
Posts: 28,272
I don't know where you are located, but this site from Ohio has some good general tips for growing blueberries that might apply in your case:
Quote:
Blueberries could make a good fruit crop for home gardens since they require small space. At present, blueberry plants are not common in home plantings because the plants require highly acidic soil conditions for best results. Few backyard soils in Ohio are naturally acidic enough to grow quality blueberries. The grower of blueberries must, therefore, make extra effort to acidify the soil before plant establishment. Then, the acidity level must be maintained over the life of the planting. Due to the special concerns associated with the rather demanding soil requirements of growing the crop, the soil must be amended with organic matter and the pH must be corrected before proceeding to establish the planting.

Blueberry plants begin to produce fruit in the third season; however, they do not become fully productive for about six years (Figure 1). Once in production, it is necessary to protect the fruit from loss to birds.
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 07-22-2007, 01:45 PM
Merijeek Merijeek is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Fear Itself, before asking my question I found that exact same site. FTR, I'm in Mississippi.

Anyways, maybe I'm assuming too much, but looking at the site I see things like "for best results". To me, that kind of means "If you want lots of fruit". That's kind of like worrying about a marathon when I can't even walk.

Except for the leaves sprouting this year, this thing has not grown. Period. It hasn't gotten taller, it hasn't gotten thicker, and it hasn't sprouted any additional branches.

As for twickster's questions, I have no idea. The bag it came in is looong gone. No flowers - never. Not even the hint.

If it's a matter of making the soil more acidic, sure, I can do that. I just don't want to if there's some big detail I'm missing.

-Joe
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 07-22-2007, 01:51 PM
Fear Itself Fear Itself is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 1999
Location: 847 mi. from Cecil
Posts: 28,272
Quote:
Originally Posted by Merijeek
If it's a matter of making the soil more acidic, sure, I can do that. I just don't want to if there's some big detail I'm missing.
Did you find anything about growing them in pots? maybe they don't like that.
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 07-22-2007, 06:02 PM
VernWinterbottom VernWinterbottom is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Just as a note, it's going to take a while for a home-improvement-center-stick-in-a-bag to develop a decent root system. It was probably nine-tenths dead when you bought it. Really, you're quite lucky it survived at all. Keep it watered well and in the sun.

The pot's big enough. You might want to add an acidifying fertilizer. The main thing, though, is it's doing stuff underground right now. It might be a couple of years at this rate before it even thinks about flowering.

If you want blueberries, go to a real nursery and spend twelve to fifteen dollars on a nicely established bush in a pot.

Sticks in bags are a very frustrating way to try to garden.
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 07-22-2007, 09:46 PM
Merijeek Merijeek is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fear Itself
Did you find anything about growing them in pots? maybe they don't like that.
No, but it actually spent its first year in the ground. When the missus of the house told me I had to get rid of it so we could get something else there, I stick it in the pot.

Thanks, Vern. I get what you're saying - it's not like it was a well-planned purchase or anything.

I'm not really looking for fruit (I don't even eat it!), I just like growing stuff and get annoyed when it doesn't seem to go anywhere. A dead plant I can understand. One in stasis is a bit different.

-Joe
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 07-23-2007, 12:38 AM
Wheeljack Wheeljack is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
I wish I had something more helpful to post...

Three years ago my dad cut me a stick-in-a-bag from a blueberry he'd had going for about twenty years. After the first two years I put it in a five gallon pot because it was getting too big. During the third year, this thing went absolutely nuts and started sending out new growth everywhere. It had berries all over, and the farthest branch probably reaches a good three feet from the pot. I really need to train it to something, but were were hoping to wait until we finished buying a house to stick it in the ground.

Anyway, here's the weird thing: besides the repot, I've done absolutely nothing to take care of this thing. No soil treatments, no cover in the winter, not even watering during the summer (it rains every day.) It is literally the easiest plant I've ever had to keep healthy. One day it was just sitting in its pot and decided to go buckwild. (People still go buckwild, right?)

So my suggestion would be to scrap this one and get a cutting potted up by someone who knows their blueberries. I think yours just got off to a bad start. If you're just doing something wrong with it, I have no clue what it might be, since nothing at all seems to do the trick with mine.

Good luck!
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 07-23-2007, 01:41 AM
Full Metal Lotus Full Metal Lotus is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Apply the three rules of fertilizer.. "up, around, in the ground"
they relate to the three numbers on a fertilizer bag.


a 30/30/30 fertilizer will just give a fast growth of "up"
in the first yr, which is good and gives few berries

switch to a 10/50/40 in the second yr to produce "bush" (expect a few berries)

switecht a 40/10/40 there after for yield.


The preceding assumes a normal soil pH of around 6, and a neutral humous (desicated bark/sand clay) ,mix


(extreme northern climate ( central Alberta Canada)

Regards
FML
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 07-23-2007, 04:55 AM
Gymnopithys Gymnopithys is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 1,125
Quote:
Originally Posted by Merijeek
No, but it actually spent its first year in the ground. When the missus of the house told me I had to get rid of it so we could get something else there, I stick it in the pot. -Joe
Planting and replanting will slow its growth. And blueberry is a slow growing plant.
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 07-23-2007, 07:59 AM
vetbridge vetbridge is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
My gf has a huge harvest of blueberries every year. She gives her plants meticulous care. They are mulched regularly with pine needles, fertilized with composted horse manure, and covered with netting to keep the birds from doing a premature harvest. It seems like a ton of work, but fresh blueberry pancakes on a Sunday morning, wow.
Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 12:44 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: cecil@chicagoreader.com

Send comments about this website to: webmaster@straightdope.com

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Publishers - interested in subscribing to the Straight Dope?
Write to: sdsubscriptions@chicagoreader.com.

Copyright 2013 Sun-Times Media, LLC.