The Q&A Archives: blueberries

Question: My husband bought me a blueberry bush last year for Mother's Day. He said he forgot the actual name of it, but it was a cross between Bluecrop and Blueray. He looked very unsure when he said that. (A lot of times, my clueless husband doesn't want to appear so unknowledgeable!) It has red canes, reddish burgundy leaves (it's Feb.), but when it was not dormant, it had green leaves. I didn't get any blueberries last summer, no flowers, either. The whole bush with rootball weighed about 60 lbs. Any idea what kind it is? To be sure to cross pollinate, I just bought Jersey, Earliblue, and Bluecrop. Jersey hasn't been delivered yet, but the other two are bare rooted in a plastic bag (one is already starting to bud.) I know that sometimes directions on the package aren't always correct, so do I leave them in the package, or plant them now, or put them in a pot, or leave them outside, or pot them, then leave them inside? I am so confused!

Answer: Unfortunately I can't tell you what variety you have. Perhaps the retailer where he purchased the plant could tell you.

I am a little concerned about the plant that is already budding or leafing out. It is still too early to plant. Bareroot plants should be kept completely dormant up until they are planted, and planted as soon as the soil can be worked, meaning it is not too wet or frozen and the weather has begun to turn. Usually this is in the March to April time frame. Frost would not hurt dormant plants. However the roots should not be allowed to freeze, any leaves should not be allowed to freeze. But you do not want to try to grow them indoors as that is too warm and not bright enough so any growth will be very weak as a result.

To delay growth and leafing out, you need to keep them cold -- in the 40 to 45 degree range -- but above freezing. I would suggest potting them in soilless potting mix kept barely damp and setting them in a cool but bright location until the weather settles. (Maybe near a window in an unheated garage would do.) If they leaf out you should wait until after frost to plant. Set them outside on nice days but shelter them on colder nights so they receive ample sunlight in the meantime.

You may find the following information about planting and growing blueberries helpful in developing your care routine for your plants. It also discusses pollination.

Enjoy those blueberries!

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