Ask a Question forum: Care sheet for germinating upland blueberry

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Name: Tom Cagle
SE-OH (Zone 6a)
Old, fat, and gardening in OH
Dec 11, 2017 4:08 PM CST
Is there lurking in a cub-cellar somewhere a care sheet for germinating upland (shorty) blueberry, from seed?
free for them in need:
Name: Sue
SF Bay Area, CA (Zone 9b)
Container Gardener Canning and food preservation Dog Lover
Dec 14, 2017 10:44 PM CST
Does it have to be from seed? I did a ton of research on western blueberries, referred to as huckleberries in WA. I accidentally got some cuttings to root by being lazy. Some pieces of some plants I'd transplanted ended up in the transplanting sacks that were full of peat moss. They ended up in the peat moss, in the dark, under snow all winter and voila! they had rooted in the dark, in the peat moss, when I finally got around to dealing with the sacks of peat moss in spring.

So, if it doesn't have to be seeds, and you're just trying to propagate any way you can, try the above. Even the forest service up where I used to live in WA couldn't figure out how to get cuttings to root back then. It was just one of those fluke accidents we discovered. The forest service was letting me transplant huckleberry bushes to a plot at a lower elevation to see if I could keep them alive and get them to produce.

Anyway, I digress. but, if it doesn't have to be seeds - try cuttings in damp peat moss in the dark and cold over winter. Heck, maybe that's the trick for the seeds, too. I never tried it. I was trying to get true cultivars from cuttings.

And just in case you didn't know (or someone reading this later)- you need to plant more than one plant so they'll cross-pollinate, or you won't get berries. Have fun! I miss blueberries. Smiling
[Last edited by Zuni - Dec 14, 2017 10:47 PM (+)]
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Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Sages Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Seed Starter Vegetable Grower
Greenhouse Region: United States of America Region: Michigan Enjoys or suffers cold winters Butterflies Birds
Dec 15, 2017 8:15 PM CST
Tom -- I stumbled across this YouTube video about growing blueberry plants from the seeds of store-bought blueberries a while back:

I haven't tried it, but maybe his technique would work for you... there are other videos on YouTube about growing blueberries from seed as well.
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Name: Mary
Lake Stevens, WA (Zone 8a)
Near Seattle
Bookworm Garden Photography Plant and/or Seed Trader Plays in the sandbox Region: Pacific Northwest Seed Starter
Winter Sowing
Dec 15, 2017 9:25 PM CST
I am guessing you are talking about Vaccinium angustifolium, the Lowbush Blueberry. There are a LOT of Vaccinium species, and the Highbush Blueberry (Vaccinium corymbosum), is different, and seeds do not need any special treatment. V. angustifolium is native to the eastern USA and Canada, and there are some cultivars available for the garden. It would be fun to try it from seed. Apparently what people call Maine Wild Blueberries are these, and even Blueberry producers just manage large stands of native blueberries.
Lowbush Blueberry seeds seem to need a period of cold moist "stratification". You can do this in the fridge, or outside as you live in a cold climate.
My germination info is from The Reference Manual of Woody Plant Propagation, 2nd Ed, by Dirr and Heuser. They mention a scientific article that got 52% germination at 169 days, using an 83 day cold moist stratification period. So - start now!
And please let us know how it works out.

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