blueberry and blackberry bushes - Knowledgebase Question

New Port Richey, Fl
Question by sherribon
March 22, 2010
I bought 2 each of the
bushes. How specifically
do I take care of them?

Answer from NGA
March 22, 2010


Two types of blueberries grow well in Florida, rabbiteye (Vaccinium ashei) and southern highbush (interspecific hybrids of V. darrowi, V. ashei and V. corymbosum). However, only the low-chill cultivars of each are adapted to Florida. Generally, rabbiteye blueberries grow well in areas of Florida that have winters as cold, or colder, than Ocala. The southern highbush cultivars that are commonly grown in Florida are well adapted to areas south of Ocala and north of Sebring, although they will grow reasonably well in Alachua County. The southern limits of southern highbush adaptation in Florida have not been fully determined.

Both rabbiteye and southern highbush thrive on acid soils which contain more organic matter than is usually found in Florida's soils. If mulched, rabbiteye blueberries will usually grow satisfactorily on soils with 1% organic matter, but they do better with 2-3% organic-matter soils. Southern highbush blueberries are not recommended for soils with less than 3% organic matter and usually require mulching for optimum growth. Organic matter can be added to soils by incorporating peat moss prior to planting. Blueberries require a soil pH of 4.0 to 5.5 so you may want to test the soil after amending and prior to planting your blueberries.

Blackberries are tolerant of your native soil and no special preparation is required. Plant both your blueberries and your blackberries in sunny garden spots and water them deeply during the growing season.

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