The Q&A Archives: Propagation of Blueberries

Question: What is the best way to propagate hybrid blueberries?

Answer: There are a number of methods to choose from, but some require more equipment than others. Keep in mind that any "new" plant will take two to three years before it will be mature enough to produce fruit.

Semi-ripe cuttings made in late summer can be rooted in a cold frame. Semi-ripe cuttings are made of stem wood of the current season's growth that is starting to get woody at the base, but is still green and soft at the tip. Once the cuttings have developed some roots, you can transplant them to a nursery bed.

At this time of year, simple layering is an option. Choose a few long, flexible branches that will reach the ground comfortably, and have vigorous "new" wood (current or previous season's growth). Moisten and loosen the soil where they touch the ground, and mix in some moistened peat moss. Mark the spot on the stem and on the ground where the stem will be planted. Strip the leaves 4" on either side of the "mark" on the stem, and cut the stem less than halfway through on the diagonal. Wounding stimulates the growth of roots. Peg the stem into the soil and cover it completely. The tip of the leafy stem should point upwards. You can stake the tip to encourage upright growth. Keep the area moistened, and within 12-18 months, a root system will develop. The layered stem will start to grow more vigorously when the roots are strong, and then you can transplant it.

Division is probably the quickest method -- in early spring, before buds open, cut the crown of the bush in half with a sharp spade or edging tool, and immediately transplant the division to its permanent spot.

Read more about the specific needs of blueberries in the National Gardening Magazine article at this location:

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