How to propagate blueberries?

riverman1February 19, 2011

Has anyone had luck propagating blueberries? If I take cuttings in the spring will they grow roots?

Any other methods other than seed?

thanks.

RM

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ravenh2001

Maine low bush blueberry spreads by rizones. If you take plugs from patches and plant 6" apart. mulch between them they will grow together in about 3 years for a carpet of berries.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2011 at 12:05PM
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lucky_p

Not really all that difficult to do, but it's hard to beat a healthy 2-3 yr old plant for $5-6 from the big professional propagators; makes it not worth my time and trouble to try to root 'em and baby 'em along for 2-3 years to get 'em large enough to plant out.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2011 at 4:09PM
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franktank232(z5 WI)

lucky-

Any sources for $5 $6 plants? Most of them i'm looking at are a couple bucks higher, i'd like to order 10+ plants, but if i can't find any cheaper ones online, ill just buy some locally...

    Bookmark   February 19, 2011 at 5:08PM
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MrClint

$8-$13 is about normal for southern highbush in my locale, depending on variety, size and grower. You'll need to decide if your time spent tending to cuttings has lesser or greater value than the purchase price. Also note that many of the newer varieties are under patent and cannot be propagated legally.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2011 at 6:26PM
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riverman1

Anyone?

Thx.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2011 at 8:57AM
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theaceofspades(7 Long Island)

I enjoy propagating plants on my window sill in winter, as if creating a new plant. By propagating plants I have many to give away to friends and swap for other plants. For root viewing I cut tops off of clear plastic juice containers and drill drainage holes. I place the containers in a flat tray over a heat mat. I harvest late winter 9" Blueberry cuttings and cut a 'V' on the bottom. Dip in root hormone(clonex red) and stick them into peat and perlite mix. Blueberries like peat and on other hard wood cuttings I use vermiculite and perlite for aeration. Over each container I put a clear plastic bag to hold high humidity. I have 50-100 cuttings rooting right now.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2011 at 2:59PM
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tc88

I have propagated blueberries successfully using hardwood cuttings, softwood cuttings, layings, and splitting the root ball. It's interesting to try if you haven't done that. I prefer hardwood cuttings. Also every winter after pruning, I have branches which I hate to throw awy.

The time to do it is now if you plan on hardwood cuttings. I prune after I don't expect deep freeze anymore for the winter and plant them immediately in small pots outside. That way they have time to rest, adjust and calluse before leafing out in spring. I use half peat, half bark mix. I prefer to use powder hormone instead liquid version. You can try without the hormone. But I found it to be more reliable if using rooting hormone. I leave them in a shady but not windy place next to the house. They can take some frost and slight freezing. But if it's going to be really cold, I move them into garage since they are in small pots and less hardy. Or you can just leave them in a cold garage until spring comes around. I seldom water them in winter unless the soil surface looks to be a little bit dry. In the summer, I put them under some shady place by the lawn and just let the lawn water spray get them. I do need to watch out the snails in the summer since they can eat the leafs and set back the growth. you can start to push them in late summer and fall with fertilizers though I don't bother since they may get burned if over fertilized. Overwintering the next winter will be a little bit tricky since they are still thin and less hardy. You may need to make sure they have enough chill hours, but not freeze to death.

I have also propagted the cuttings inside. I use inverted glass jars instead of plastic bags since it's easier to take off and clean. But it can do damage to the plant and others if it flips over. You also need to take it off and put on very often to enable fresh air. It could also get very hot inside it. My record is less steller and my conclusion is that naturely I tend to baby them and over watering when I see them often inside the house. Warm temperature, soggy soil and especially no air flow is a very bad combination due to fungus growth. I have failed many more times in propagating blueberries when babying them than not paying attention.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2011 at 5:29PM
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riverman1

Ace,

When you say you cut a "V" do you mean on the bottom of the clipped cutting stem? A small "V" or do you split the stem?

TC88,

What kind of success do you have with placing them outdoors? My plants are still dormant now but the buds are starting to swell. We are still freezing here most nights but highs in the 40's and low 50s. Is this a good time to try some cuttings?

thx.

RM

    Bookmark   February 20, 2011 at 8:56PM
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theaceofspades(7 Long Island)

I make two cuts on the bottom to form a wedge. BB cuttings root better near the wound.

Late last summer I took cuttings of Jostaberry and planted them in clear pots on the windowsill. The leaves soon fell off but every cutting rooted perfectly. I put the pots where it gets cold so they get their chill period. The buds are green and they should leaf out after their chill period. I am going to try this with BB next September. All dormant hardwood cuttings will leaf out. The cuttings many times die before roots form. Starting pre dormant BB (and other hardwood cuttings) out with roots first might be another good method.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2011 at 10:13PM
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apexgrower(6b NJ)

I too would like to try hardwood propagating in the coming weeks. My only question is, can I make cutting out of any part of the BB bush? If anyone knows of a video or pictures of how to do this the correct way that would be helpful.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2011 at 10:42PM
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tc88

Riverman1, I would hurry as soon as possible if trying hardwood cuttings. The swelling buds are probably flower buds and should be pinched off or maybe even be cut away. They take plant's reserve. Giving the cuttings some time to adjust before leafing out will help. It may slow out the leafing out, and that will help the water retention. I personally get 80 to 90% success reliably these days. Your individual climate may affect differently. But I'm sure after few years, you would have adjusted your method to fit your condition. And you should have plenty of materials to try since you have to prune blueberries yearly.

Regarding how to cut, slanted cuts are suggested. Like the V cuts, they increase the wound area which induce the nature response to generate new roots. It's also suggested that you scrape the side near the cut very slightly to show green. That also increase the wound area and the green cambium is where the root will form.

There are quite a few websites that describe the procedures for blueberry propagations. Check out the blueberry websites at NC State, Michigan State and Oregon State. The setups may be for large scale propagation, but the principles are same. My take away from reading those: reduce evaporation, don't make the water soggy and watch for fungus. Those match my personal experience.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2011 at 10:47PM
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tc88

Apexgrower, regarding which parts to cut, the websites I cited should have good information.

But as a summary, the only one that's not to be used is the top most part with flower buds. The flower buds are rounded and leaf buds are very pointy and don't show much at this time of the year. Now if your cutting contains flower buds at the top, pinching them may not be enough. The plant hormone at that location may regenerate flower buds at the same location or translate the leaf buds below them into flower buds and waste valuable energy reserve. I have seen those happen and it's best to cut that part away completely.

The best part is the healthy early vegetative growth of last year. Thin cuttings do not have much reserve and will take very long to grow. Old growth has weak buds under the bark and will also take a very long time to leaf out as well as rooting. But in my experience, they can all root and grow, just more difficult.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2011 at 11:05PM
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riverman1

I will give a few a try TC, one other thing, how long should the cuttings be? I'm guessing 5 or 6 inches yes?

RM

    Bookmark   February 21, 2011 at 12:04AM
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lucky_p

franktank,
Check out Simmons Berry Farm and Dan Finch blueberry nursery - I've had good success with plants from both places. Good prices, and Finch has the largest selection of varieties I've seen anywhere.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2011 at 8:49AM
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franktank232(z5 WI)

lucky-

Thanks I'll check them out. Also may try some hardwood cuttings today and see what happens.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2011 at 11:06AM
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djofnelson(7ACtrlVAfoothills)

If you can fill out your order to 100 plants total (of any variety, including brambles), you can select from a very wide variety of rooted cuttings for $1.30 a piece or well-rooted, potted 2 year (12-18") plants from Hartmann's for $2-3 a piece at wholesale prices. I've also had luck calling them and asking them to give me wholesale prices for orders lower than 100.

Here is a link that might be useful: Hartmanns

    Bookmark   February 21, 2011 at 11:30AM
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TOM A Z5-IL.

franktank,
I have ordered 2-3 foot blueberries from pense nursery
on several occassions with good success. He's charging
around $4 each.
tom

    Bookmark   February 21, 2011 at 1:00PM
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tc88

Riverman1, 5-6 inches sounds about right. I prune my old growth near the base. I then cut them into multiple pieces that are relatively equal length, but also depends on where the branches are and where the buds are. It doesn't need to be exact. Try to cut just below a bud. The buds I think have higher concentration of hormone and nutrients. So the lowest bud of the cutting is close to the wound and help with generating root, while the extra material above the top most bud helps prventing drying out of the bud as well as supplying addition reserve to the bud. At least that's my interpretation.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2011 at 8:08PM
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riverman1

Thanks TC. I did five cuttings today and took them most from the outer edge of the plant at either the top or side. I pulled off the flower buds as you suggested, scraped the bottom inch or so of the cutting down to the cambiam layer, dipped in hormone powder, then planted into a mix of fir bark and peat. I left them outside on my deck. Hope it works! If not, it's still fun trying.

thx again.

RM

    Bookmark   February 21, 2011 at 10:33PM
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apexgrower(6b NJ)

I was curious to know if I can propagate indoors? I would like to collect cuttings in a couple weeks and place them in my house under fluorescent grow lights. If I place the tray on a heated grow mat would that help any? The reason I want to try this is to see if the cutting will break dormancy and root sooner. I'm almost positive all of the bb bushes have received their required chill hours. Also, I was wondering if a 1:1:1 mix of peat/sand/pine bark mulch is a good propagation medium?

    Bookmark   February 22, 2011 at 9:03PM
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tc88

Riverman1, good luck!

Apexgrower, 1:1:1 peat/sank/bark is fine. Coarse sand is better and you need to wash them. You can keep the cuttings inside. People use propagation houses in commercial operations. Fungus is more likely to be a problem inside though due to warmth and little air flow, and commercial operations try to keep clean by using fungicide. You could sanitize the mix first and/or use fungicide. I think indoor it grows faster, but the condition needs to be more exact.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2011 at 11:30AM
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apexgrower(6b NJ)

-TC88

I was curious to know what you think about my setup. Here are a couple pictures of what I have so far, just finishes constructing this an hour ago. The first picture is a photo of the cuttings I made earlier. I placed the cuttings on top of a heated mat which will hopefully help speed up the rooting process. The air temperature during the day stays between 70-74 degrees and at night the temps are between 65-68.

The second photo is the whole setup with a tray of blueberry seedlings that I started in the beginning of January. I placed a small fan at one end to give the seedlings a little bit of air circulation. Should I leave the fan on all day or can I have it run just for a couple hours each day? I figure once(if) the cuttings start to leaf out I can place them under the lights. I know it looks like a cheap setup, which it is, but I figure its not bad for a beginner.

thanks,
Apex

pic 1

pic 2

    Bookmark   February 23, 2011 at 6:52PM
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tc88

Apexgrower, your cuttings look very healthy, that's very good. Now one caveat you may want to think about. Blueberries generate a lot of thin spreading fiber roots. It will be difficult to separate them when it's time to pot them up individually. This is from my personal experience only since I have done same thing before by putting a bunch of cuttings in one container. You can still separate them, but there will be some damage done to the roots. It's best to put them individually in small pots. I use 2 to 4 inches square pots for the initial cuttings. You can then put the small pots in a big container to make them easy to move. Also individual plugs/pots slow down fungus movement if there is an outbreak. But if you don't have small pots at hand, you will have to do with what you have. It is by no means a showstopper. Just not optimal and something to think about next time. Good luck!

    Bookmark   February 23, 2011 at 11:26PM
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apexgrower(6b NJ)

TC88, thanks for the helpful information.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2011 at 9:05AM
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axier - Z10, Basque Country (Spain)

Apexgrower, how did your cuttings? success rate?

I am thinking to root blueberry softwood cuttings. Maybe in the winter I will try hardwood cuttings.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2011 at 4:22AM
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Noogy(6 sw mi)

Axier- Soft wood cuttings are best using a hydroponic set up. The soft wood cuttings I've taken have performed poorly, primarily because of the mix I used. It lacked aeration. Be sure to add the sand/perlite ratio in the above descriptions.
Of my hydroponic cuttings, I only lost 1 of 72, and they rooted in 19-22 days.
I designed my own "rapid rooter", as they call it in
cannabis circles. Just a thought, it's nice and clean. I add a little peroxide in addition to the fishtank bubbler
noogy

    Bookmark   June 30, 2011 at 8:08AM
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axier - Z10, Basque Country (Spain)

Thank you Noogy, I will browse about your method.
If it is viable for me, I will try it.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2011 at 2:31AM
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axier - Z10, Basque Country (Spain)

Noogy, I have read in forums and sites about "rapid rooter" and it seems to be a rooting medium more than a hydroponic set up.

Please, could you post any information or links about your method?
Thanks.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2011 at 2:48AM
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Noogy(6 sw mi)

Axier, I see the plugs you're refering to

It's basically a hydroponic configuration with a humid dome and rooting solution. Take a 1'X2'x 18"deep bin with a tight cover, cut 2" circular holes in the top, where you will be inserting the basket,whick contains the neoprene inserts and the cuttings. I put 6-7 cuttings per insrt/basket, not just one.
You can also use a bucket with a lid, but it's hard to find a humidome that fits.
For the solution I use 1c of olivia's rooting solution, 1/4 cup of hormex/ 1/8 cup of kelp/ 1/8 cup of hydrogen peroxide, and water up to 2-2.5 gallons. Add 1/8 cup of hydrogen peroxide 3% every 4 days.
Use an aquarium bubbler, hydroponic pump to move your solution. I use a sprinkler head to irrigate the cuttings, some use misters, but they clog. Keep the solution clean, make sure what ever irrigating method used, that the solution actively drips from the cuttings. Check it often, add 1 liter of water every 3 days for evaporation.
Mist often and cover with inverted clear bin/ flourescent light. The hydroponic stores have the unit$100+, but they have the essential components, pump, tubing, emmiters, cheap.

He notado en tu correo la referencia al pais basco en tu correo, Son populares los arandanos (como dicen los chilenos)en espana?
Good Luck

    Bookmark   July 1, 2011 at 8:50AM
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riverman1

Early this spring before leaf-out I put 6 cuttings in cups filled with pure peat. I also put root hormone on the stems. They leafed out but slowly all of them died. I checked the stems and not a single root had sprouted. Zero success for me.

RM

    Bookmark   July 1, 2011 at 12:19PM
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axier - Z10, Basque Country (Spain)

Thank you Noogy for your very detailed description and Riverman for your feed back, I am sorry the cuttings failed.

Noogy, it is a bit complicated set up, but maybe I will try it.

Los arandanos no son muy conocidos en Espana, pero poco a poco se estan haciendo populares entre los aficionados como yo. Aprendiendo de foros como este. Gracias por tu ayuda!

    Bookmark   July 6, 2011 at 4:16AM
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Noogy(6 sw mi)

Axier- The easiest blueberry plants to propagate, for me are Elliot, forementioned earlier. I'm not familiar with the southern varieties you'd begrowing in the pais vasco, except for the very notable 'Legacy'.
What variety are you growing?

I think winter hardwood cuttings are, by far, the most forgiving.

Good luck to you.
noogy

    Bookmark   July 6, 2011 at 8:27AM
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vegangirl(z6 VA)

We've rooted softwood cuttings under a home made mist system.

I also wanted to second the Hartmann's recommendation. We ordered 90 2-year-old blueberries from their wholesale division for $2.95 each. We had combined our order with some friends to reach the 100 mark. They say 10'18 inches for the 2 yr olds and all of them were at least 18" or more. Very healthy. Part of the 90 were Meader blueberries that were supposed to be 3-6 inches tall. All of them were at least 8" tall.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2011 at 2:21PM
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marc5(6aOH)

Noogy, thank you for the tips on propagation with a home-built setup. Very cool, and your success rate is amazing. I believe this is how I would like to establish more blueberry bushes, as I don't trust nursery grown stock to be disease-free. The last bushes I bought had blight and died. I have some older disease-free bushes I will propagate. We are in the same zone. When do you take cuttings?

Many thanks,
Marc

    Bookmark   July 8, 2011 at 11:34PM
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riverman1

Have you thought about trying from seed? If you go to youtube.com there is a good video that shows how to start blueberries from seed and it looks really straight forward.

just a thought......

RM

    Bookmark   July 9, 2011 at 12:23AM
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skyjs(z8 OR, USA)

For another perspective, when I moved, I simply divided my large blueberry plants in half. I cut half of the root ball to go with each. They all have done well, and they are growing back to that original size. Soon I will have 12 full sized plants instead of 6.
John S
PDX OR

    Bookmark   July 10, 2011 at 2:46PM
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Noogy(6 sw mi)

Marc, I took cuttings 5 weeks ago. I had poor results with other varieties @ 30-50% rooting. Elliott roots VERY easily.
Keep things clean.
noogy

    Bookmark   July 22, 2011 at 8:35AM
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Noogy(6 sw mi)

Marc, I read this upon review and though of your post.
Re: Vegetative cuttings and timing from book Blueberry Culture...
"Since plant development doesn't proceed at the same rate in different locations, cuttings taken at a certain date would be at different stages of maturity. The appropriate stage for taking cuttings is when secondary growth from lateral buds first appears in new shoots (Webber, 1954, Johnston, 1930) This period occurs as the first fruit are ripening in michigan.(July1) Although cuttings taken as early as June 10 have shown a higher proportion of rooting than cuttings taken later, it takes longer for these plants to reach a size suitable for field planting, and are more suceptible to field injury" Eck, Childers, 1966
I'm not sure why they wouldn't do as well, maybe their cambium system isn't as durable, developed/lignified?

    Bookmark   August 2, 2011 at 8:06AM
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marc5(6aOH)

I wanted to bring this thread back to share the news of my success in propagating blueberries, and to thank those who contributed here to my success. I had failed in previous attempts. I took cuttings last March, made wedge cuts, dipped in Hormodin 3, potted in a mix of peat and pine bark. They were babied in a high tunnel all summer, and fertigated with acidified water and plenty of soluble food in a 3-1-2 ratio. They thrived (well-- 6 out of 8 containers did). Thank you all!

Marc

    Bookmark   December 26, 2013 at 12:23PM
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ravenh2001

Looking good marc. this year I tried 12 grape cuttings 3 from each vine I had. only 2 actualy grew to plant out. There were 4 pots in a square tray in the window of my office. I put an x on my date pad each time I turned them to know which plant they were. When I planted them out I told wife the concord and green seedless made it. She asked how did I know because the pots weren't marked? I showed her my system and she said "oops any time I was in the Office and they were leaning I turned them".lolI hope you labeled pots.

    Bookmark   December 26, 2013 at 8:07PM
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