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Potted blueberry bushes...

Posted by steverosen ca,11 (My Page) on
Sun, Apr 1, 07 at 14:28

I have two potted blueberry bushes in medium sized pots. They're about 3 months old and the leaves are turning brown - it doesn't look so great. I followed all the tips on the piece of paper my nurser gave gets maybe an hour of splattered sun, and the moist meter says it's "moist" so I rarely water it, maybe once a week. It has the propper soil in it as well.

What am I doing wrong?

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Potted blueberry bushes...

I'd think it might need more sun than that, but I am not sure where you live. Mine do okay with morning sun, in Sacramento, specially now that it isn't blazing hot yet, but I have southern highbush varieties. Sometimes browning leaves mean that it's getting TOO much water. Do they have drainage?
Another thing is acid, they like acid soil, though they may be getting burnt?
Other than that, with my limited knowledge and without pics, I can't offer anything more.

RE: Potted blueberry bushes...

I believe the problem is in the soil. Knock one out of the pot and take a look at the roots. Al

RE: Potted blueberry bushes...

My blueberry bush lived in a pot for over 10 years without ever needing repotting. I attribute it's survival to the right soil and fertilizer. I used soil made for acid loving plants (i.e. an azalea mix with peat moss mixed in). Then every year I would top it off with more peat and fertilizer intended for azaleas, camelias, and other acid loving plants. It got half day sun.
I also started off with the right kind of blueberry bush for my area, it was a highbush blueberry I bought from a local nursery that knows what grows well in our zone. Don't buy blueberries from catalogs unless you know it will do OK in CA.
What kind of soil did you fill the pot with? Have you added fertilizer or perhaps added too much and burned the plant? My plant would occassionaly die back on one limb, for no apparent reason. I would cut off that branch and then it was OK. But I never figured out why a cane (not sure what it's called so I'll use my rose terminology!) would die but it just did and the rest would be fine.

RE: Potted blueberry bushes...

I live in LA (W. Hollywood) Hmmm, all good things to consider. I might have over fertilized combined with not enough sun. My nurser told me that it needs very little sun, but maybe more than it's getting. It has the right soil mix.

How much sun do they need?

How much water do they need?


RE: Potted blueberry bushes...

In West Hollywood you could give them at least a half a day of sun, I have a friend there who can give some tropicals a wee bit more sun than I can. They like a pretty decent amount of water... They were everywhere when I lived outside of Crescent City, a rainforest. :D

RE: Potted blueberry bushes...

You may have guessed the problem: excessive salinity due to over-fertilization. Try flooding the pots with fresh water to flush the soluble salts out the bottom of the pots. I'm not sure how long this should take. I would allow at least 15 minutes per pot.

You mentioned that you don't water very often. This probably means that water never drains out the bottom of the pots. So any salts that are in the soil, including the salts in your tap water, are still in the pots. Also, I don't know how good your local tap water is. It might be part of the problem. Sometimes with big plants in pots, the top inch or so is wet, and the rest of the root ball is bone dry, if you don't water heavily enough.

I would advise you to place the pot inside of a larger one that is filled with coarse bark or gravel. This will shade the inner pot and insulate it from high air temperatures. And keep the rooting medium well-mulched with coarse bark, to keep the roots cool and moist.

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