Blueberry Plants to the Rescue!
Unlike raspberries, boysenberries or blackberries, blueberry plants will give you fresh, tasty, delicious, enjoyable, healthy, (o.k. I’ll stop, you get the picture) fruit on a very well managed plant, actually one you can keep nicely clipped to 3-4 feet tall and wide, so a forever plant in a container or a garden bed on the small side. No big piles of menacing, thorn laden branches practically screaming at you “Hey, watch out”…blueberry plants are well-mannered and well behaved but are equally prolific and worthwhile in the garden. I say this because not only are they easy to use, but they have pretty cool looking flowers and plants with gorgeous fall color. Read on….
One of my most fond memories as a child was visiting my cousins who lived in Washington state. Besides doing the typical ‘kid’ stuff such as horseback riding, tossing a frisbee, swimming and just general mischief (hey, we were teens on vacation), one late evening we spent picking berries. At the time, I wasn’t sure what I was saying yes to when the comment ‘hey, come on, I have something cool we can do’ was heard over the dinner table, so off we went after dinner as the sun sank in the mid-summer sky. But of course we forgot the buckets, but at the time I wasn’t sure why that was important. After a short walk, my cousins said we were here, but I wasn’t sure where ‘here’ was…I just saw a HUGE cluster of mishmashed branches, brambles, stems, leaves, thorns, but NO berries. I was told we had to go ‘digging’ for the prize…the berries. Really? With what?
Fast forward to our walk home, the berries actually delicious (we ate as we picked), legs full of scratches, and I don’t know how, but no one got stuck down in the old river bed where the berries were growing, BUT…..as I mentioned, we forgot the buckets to carry home the berries, SO….we pulled our shirts up and made little pouches to carry some picked berries home to our parents, our shirts of course now permanently stained. After scratched up legs, a couple of ‘looks’ on our stained and sweaty appearance, as well as a belly full of berries (plus the few we managed to get home) we drifted off to sleep, a really fun day in the books.
Fast forward about 3 decades…blueberry plants to the rescue! Don’t you hear the trumpet sounding, one more gardening dilemma solved? What does this guy mean you may be saying to yourself; let me explain…
With blueberry plants growing more shrub like, you don’t have to banish them to the back of the property, easily using them up close and personal since they are SO well-mannered. And for those who live in the city and have just a ‘postage stamp’ sized piece of space to make your outdoor oasis, consider the blueberry. You may be thinking you’d rather have color, but what do you think of adding some color AND some fruit, something the blueberry plant can easily do. And before you say “I see lots of snow out my window”, again no problem, the blueberry plant hardy to about 20 degrees below zero. When the end of summer approaches, the plant becomes a literal rainbow of color as the leaves turn colors as autumn slips into winter. The color does not stop here, as the barren branches seen in winter take on a refreshing beauty all its own, peaceful almost. The colorful stems, stylish looking container (find a really attractive pot if your blueberry will be in your outdoor container garden) against a backdrop of snow and ice will look simply stunning. As a finishing touch, add some cold hardy, easy maintenance evergreens, ground cover, or ornamental grasses appropriate for your zone for texture and visual interest, and you will have lots of layers of beauty. Now for the fruit….
One blueberry variety you may want to consider is the O’Neal Blueberry, one we currently have in inventory in five gallon container and shipping weekly….and yes, we ship all of our plants in soil so you will most definitely get berries to eat sooner than later. Back to the O’Neal. This variety is what they call a Southern Highbush, one that will make fruit in moderate to mild regions of the country, yet still easily succeed in colder locations (down to minus 20 degrees) as mentioned above. In milder climates, it may not drop all its foliage, so gardeners here may want to use other fruit bearing plants grouped around their blueberries—considering late season tomatoes or herbs for the added visual interest gardeners in the north can enjoy. The O’Neal makes berries that are sweet and firm ripening early, so definitely an extended harvest with fruit to enjoy early summer to the beginning of fall. You will most definitely get fruit from just one plant (self fertile) but should enjoy a larger crop with two different berry varieties.
As far as soil, if planting in containers, use a good, high quality soil purchased from a ‘real nursery’ if possible (not chain store bargain soil), and keep soil consistently moist. If you have the room and will plant in the ground, till in peat moss into your native earth to improve the soil’s consistency and drainage. Like azaleas or rhododendrons, blueberry plants like a soil that is rich, moist and slightly acidic.
Now let’s think about this a minute….a plant that is cold hardy, easy care, attractive in all seasons AND makes lots of good tasting fruit ‘children of all ages’ will enjoy…..you need one. Log on to our site and soon you will see a large box on your doorstep, your new blueberry waiting for a new place to call home.