Northland Blueberry in container

Asked May 28, 2019, 1:08 PM EDT

I recently purchased a Northland Blueberry shrub from my local Menard's. I bought a large wooden half barrel planter garden soil (Master Gardner brand) and mulched with Cedar chips. I have been reading that these plants can do well in containers so long as they are cared for properly. My questions are these:1) Is commercial garden soil that does not say it is high in acid provide a high enough PH for blueberries, and if not what would you recommend I add to the soil. This soil is made up primarily of Sphagnum Moss, Peat Moss, and Perlite. 2) This shrub had white blossoms on it when I purchased it. Would you recommend I remove those this year or is this plant likely old enough to produce fruit? It came in a 4 inch diameter pot. 3) What other species of blueberry would you recommend I plant for cross-pollination? 5) The barrel planter I bought was a 25" wooden whiskey barrel. Is this large enough for the plant at maturity, or will I need to replant to something larger in a couple of seasons?

Ramsey County Minnesota blueberries fruiting shrubs

1 Response

Thank you for the question. I found a wonderful publication from University of Wisconsin Extension specifically addressing growing blueberries in containers. It really answers all your questions except you don't know the pH of the potting soil you purchased. Please contact the manufacturer and ask them what it is. If the pH is greater than 5, you will want to add sulfur according to package directions to lower it.
Removing the buds is optional. Some people will do so in order for the plant to put its energy into root growth and establishment. There won't be much fruit production for several years. Planting another mid season ripening blueberry will help boost yield. Check out the chart showing which varieties ripen at the different times in the season in our publication on growing blueberries in the home garden: https://extension.umn.edu/fruit/growing-blueberries-home-garden

The barrel you purchased is probably big enough but it won't protect your plant in the winter. You will need to bury the barrel and mulch for best overwintering. Here's the Wisconsin publication: https://hort.extension.wisc.edu/articles/growing-blueberries-containers/

Thank you for contacting Extension.