QUICK REFERENCE PLANTING GUIDE
1. Light/Sun Exposure - Full to partial sun.
2. USDA Hardiness Zones - As indicated below.
- 'Top Hat' - 3 to 7 * 1,000+ chill hours
- 'Duke' - 3 to 7 * 800 to 1,000 chill hours
- 'Elliot' - 3 to 7 * 1,000+ chill hours
- 'Pink Popcorn' - 3 to 7 *1,000 chill hours
- 'Sunshine Blue' - 8 to 10 *150 chill hours
- 'Top Hat' - 3 to 7 * 1,000* chill hours
*Chill hours are required for the plant to satisify its dormancy to grow fruit the following year.
3. Planting Distance - 3 to 5 feet apart in ground.
4. Mature Height/Spread - As indicated below.
- 'Sunshine Blue' - 4 to 6 feet.
- 'Top Hat' - 36 to 48 inches tall and 24 to 36 inches wide.
5. Bloom Time - As indicated below:
- 'Top Hat' - Spring.
- 'Duke' - Mid spring.
- 'Elliot' - Late spring.
- 'Pink Popcorn' - Early to mid-summer.
- 'Sunshine Blue' - Spring.
- 'Top Hat' - Spring
Fruit will set the 2nd year.
.6. Planting Instructions - As indicated below.
For container planting: Fill the container with soil to within 4 inches of the top. Dig a hole in soil to insert the lower part of the root ball. Remove plastic containers and loosen up roots that have encircled the growing pot. Place the plant in the hole and back fill to original soil line. Water well, and if necessary, adjust the plant so that it is upright. Add additional soil to bring level back up to original soil line. Never insert the plant lower than the original top of the soil ball.
For in-ground planting: Dig a hole twice as wide and twice as deep as the pot in which your plant was grown. Please note that many of our pots are biodegradable. If your plant is not in a traditional plastic pot then you may place the entire biodegradable pot in the ground; otherwise, gently remove the root ball from the pot. Partially backfill the hole with soil and place the plant into the hole. The top of the root ball should be level with the ground surrounding the hole. Refill the hole with soil, firming the soil around the plant with your fingers. Check to be sure that the plant is not planted too deeply. If it is, raise the plant carefully and refirm the soil. Water thoroughly.
GET THE MOST ENJOYMENT
It is very important to test the pH of your soil prior to planting as blueberries prefer a very acidic soil. The soil pH should be in the range of 4 to 5. If soil pH is above 5, apply 1-2 lbs. per 100 sq. ft of granular sulfur to lower soil pH. Make sure to mix it well throughout the top 4 to 6 inches of soil as early as three months or longer before planting.
Note: Most blueberries need 800-1000 chilling hours for proper dormancy in order to set fruit the following year.
These blueberries do not require two different cultivars for cross-pollination in order to produce fruit. However, bigger berries and higher yield will result from cross-pollination.
If you ordered one of our container offers that includes our special planting mix there is no soil preparation. Open the bag of soil, pour the contents into the container, and water well. For in-ground planting, although these plants perform well in average garden soils of all types, we recommend having your soil tested periodically by the local County Extension Office. These tests can determine if the soil needs any amendments to enhance your plants' growth and performance. See below for our recommended practice to improve your soil without any additional testing:
1. Spade or till the soil to a depth of 12-18 inches.
2. To provide nutrients and improve drainage, add organic matter to your soil by mixing in a 2 to 4-inch layer of dehydrated manure, garden compost, shredded leaves, and/or peat moss.
3. After active growth begins, periodically feed with Cottage Farms' water soluble Carefree Bud-N-Flower Booster for Fruits and Vegetables or with Carefree Bud-N-Flower Booster for Acid Loving Plants. Plants in containers need more frequent watering and feeding, especially when in active growth and bloom.
Water - Your plants require 1" of rainfall (or equivalent watering) each week when planted in the ground. Do not allow plants in containers to dry out. In a container that is exposed to full sun, water it well at least once every other day, and possibly every day, during periods of intense summer heat. You may wish to temporarily move containerized plants to an area where they are shielded from the hot summer sun (i.e. in the shade of a tree, on a porch near an overhang).
Mulching - Apply a 2-4 inch layer of shredded bark, compost or other organic mulch around your plants to promote moisture retention, maintain even soil temperatures, and to discourage weed growth.
Weeding - Keep the area around your plants free of weeds. Weeds compete with all plants for food, water and light. Walk around the garden periodically and pull weeds, including the roots, as soon as you see them.
Pruning - Blueberry plants normally do not need pruning for the first three years. During the first and second years after planting you should remove any blossoms that appear in order to help stimulate vigorous growth. Allow the blossoms to mature into fruit during the third year.
During mid-March of the fourth year, prune your bushes while they are still dormant. Remove dead and weak branches as well as any thin, terminal wood with small buds. Prune interior crossing branches to permit light to reach the center of the plants.
In the following years, thin out older branches in order to force new growth. Flower buds of blueberry bushes are produced on tips and down the stems of two-year old wood. Blueberry bushes tend to produce smaller berries when they are overloaded with fruits. It is important not to have too many flower buds so that the plant may produce better fruit.
Feeding - Feed your plants once every 2-3 weeks during the growing season with a water-soluble fertilizer such as Cottage Farms' Carefree Bud-N-Flower Booster for Fruits and Vegetables or with Carefree Bud-N-Flower Booster for Acid Loving Plants. Discontinue feeding after September 1st so your plants can harden off for winter dormancy. Resume fertilizing when new growth appears in the spring.
Winterizing - Blueberries do not require special winter care outside of normal winterizing. After the ground has frozen apply a winter mulch of evergreen boughs, straws or leaves to prevent lifting of the plant's roots during alternating periods of freezing and thawing.
For container planting, move plants next to your home's southern foundation for added warmth and protection. They may also be moved into an unheated, protected area such as a garage or cellar. If moved to a protected area be sure you water them well once every 2 to 3 weeks as needed.
In spring, remove the mulch from in-ground plantings. Also, bring containerized plants back out into the garden sunlight where they will immediately begin to repeat their yearly garden performance.
CAUTION: Not all plant material is edible. Though most plants are harmless, some contain toxic substances which can cause headaches, nausea, dizziness, or other discomforts. As a general rule, only known food products should be eaten. In case of ingestion, please contact your local poison control center at once and advise them of the plant ingested. Keep out of reach of children.