The Blueberry Bush is Planted!

Newly planted blueberry bush in my Florida backyard.

I may be excited for no good reason, but I’m happy to have this blueberry bush in the ground.

This is a perfect example of why you shouldn’t buy things on a whim. I know that blueberries are hard to grow, and if I do manage to get berries, the animals will probably eat them before I can.

Florida Blueberry Shrubs

Certain types of blueberry shrubs grow in Florida, and if you want to succeed at growing blueberries here, find the right kind for your location. Normally blueberries need long cold winters. This is why they grow all over the place up north.

Special cultivars have been created for our warm winters here. Rabbiteye and Highbush are the types suggested – no lowbush berries here. Read the link below for more information.

Find good info at the IFAS Blueberry Gardener’s Guide at the UF site.

pine needles around base of blueberry plant

This bush was purchased at the Farmer’s Market. I only know that it is a “blueberry” and is supposedly “self-pollinating”. Three varieties are listed on the back of the card that was attached to one of the stems; Pink Lemonade, Sunshine Blue, and Emerald + Sharpblue.

I’m not one to let a shrub die if I can help it, so into the ground it went. The plan was to put it into the ground in a more out of the way spot, but because of roots, I couldn’t dig there. It had to go where I could dig a large enough hole.

hole dug for blueberry bush

My hope is that it will live and maybe be an attraction for birds and bees.

Although the card claims it is self-pollinating, everything I’ve read advises growing more than one bush. Elise of The Urban Harvest suggests growing a mix of blueberry varieties (link below to her video).

Planting Blueberries – The Urban Harvest

Blueberry season is April here in Florida, so the plants should be fertilized in January, or thereabouts, for a good crop.

planting the blueberry

The plant was very root bound and I tried to open up the soil a bit, then added peat moss, compost and pine bark (in the bottom). I also added some acid fertilizer, which I’ve read I should not have done… but it is too late.

I don’t have the space to create an acid-loving section of the yard for things like blueberries. Some vegetables like the soil a bit acidic, but blueberries require more. This is just one more growing experiment.

Adding soil mix around blueberry bush

I will probably trim those lower branches.

blueberry bush planted

The new garden area is a place where I plan to grow vegetables, which are not necessarily acid loving.

The bird feeder was moved to this open area in an attempt to keep the squirrels away from it.

Cardboard has many uses in the yard. Im using it here to cover the sandy area that was recently tilled. I also used a piece of cardboard to kneel on while I planted the blueberry.

florida backyard gardens

Read more gardening stories


Making Hydrangea Flowers Turn Blue: Lowering the pH

Blue hydrangea shrub
Blue Flowering Hydrangea Shrub

Certain plants need a low pH, or acidic soil to grow and thrive. The hydrangea will do well in any pH – acidic or alkaline – but the soil type will effect the flower color. If you don’t care what color your flowers are, then you will accept the fact that your alkaline soil will give you pink blooms, but many people want hydrangeas for their bright blue color.
The pH scale goes from 0-14, with 7 being neither acidic nor alkaline – it is neutral. If your soil is naturally alkaline, or has a pH above 7, you can try adding an organic amendment to bring down the pH which may change your hydrangea flowers to blue.

I live in an area that has acidic soil naturally.  We can easily grow acid soil loving blueberries, rhododendrons, azaleas and other plants – including blue hydrangeas – without adding any amendments.   I have never used any products to create an acidic soil, but I’ve read about it and this is what I’ve learned.
If you buy a blue hydrangea and want it to grow blue flowers in your yard, check your soil’s pH – in the place you plan to plant them.  Any soil that is high in lime can cause pink blooms, and that means plants near the cement walls of a house could be growing in a more alkaline soil.

There are various ways to bring the pH down to the right levels.   Making an acidic soil mix for a pot is relatively easy, but changing the pH out in an area of your yard is much more difficult, and it will need constant monitoring.  It is not a permanent fix and could take weeks to achieve.
In general, organic type matter will help lower a pH. When starting a garden add organic compost, composted manure, and / or pine needles which all help lower the pH.  Also, you may want to buy a bag of garden sulfur and follow the directions for application on the bag.

If your soil is naturally alkaline, you will be fighting the elements to get those blue flowers.  It may work better to grow them in a pot, or learn to love hydrangeas that are pink.

Read more at this page:  How to Lower Your Soil’s pH and Turn Hydrangea Flowers Blue

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