Return to the Southwestern Gardening Forum | Post a Follow-Up

Growing Blueberries in High Desert??

Posted by snowbush z8 SoCal USA (My Page) on
Tue, May 16, 06 at 11:52

Has anyone done this? I found some potted blueberries at one of the big boxes which were abt. 33" high & had berries on them. Couldn't resist at what seemed a low price of less than $7.00/bush, so now have 4 different varieties of Southern Highbush blueberries, Jubilee, Misty, O'Neal, and South Moon.

Would you plant them in half a day (or a full day) of shade instead of full sun?

What other differences in cultivation might be needed to grow them successfully in the High Desert. We get enough chill hours here at 2,500' elevation, but the summer heat and dryness might be a challenge for them.

I plan to keep them in pots in order to provide them with an acid soil. Could any of you recommend a soil mix that has worked for you?

Thank you for any advice you can give me!

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Growing Blueberries in High Desert??

I am in an inland valley in So. Cal. where it gets quite hot, and have had no problem with southern highbush BB's. I have mine in containers, some are planted in 100% peat moss, others in a potting mix formulated for acid loving plants, which is available anywhere. I fertilize lightly usually 3 times a year. (They are sensitive to over fertiling.)During summer a couple of hours of afternoon shade wouldn't hurt, but I would judge it based on how your plants look. Where did you purchase your plants? That sounds like a great price.

RE: Growing Blueberries in High Desert??

Thank you Bigbear1! Your info. is just the type I need. It is good to know they are tougher than I thought. I'll be careful abt. fertilizing. What kind(s) do you find work? Would your acid-based soil mixes and (acid?) fertilizer be enough to keep them happy, or do you need to acidify your water as well?

I found the plants at Lowes and thought they looked quite good.

Thanks again!

RE: Growing Blueberries in High Desert??

I tried growing blueberries this year outside of Phoenix, AZ, and the plants did not do well. I had them planted on the east side of the property where they wouldn't get too much afternoon sun and heat. We have irrigation twice a month in the summer months and once a month in the fall/winter months, thought this would work, but no.

If anyone's tried this and succeeded here in my area, please do let me know how you did it!


RE: Growing Blueberries in High Desert??

I live on a mesa in central NM. I have a few potted blueberry bushes. I use peat and pine needles to provide the acid which all berries love. My blueberries are shaded from most of the hot afternoon sun.

I read about a person getting a government grant to try growing raspberriesin NM, a commercial venture. The person was very successful and has a working raspberry farm! I don't remember exactly where the person has their farm. I believe it is a mountain area.

RE: Growing Blueberries in High Desert??

I'm real high desert..5000ft elev in southern Utah. Our summers can get hot but they are pretty short since we average only about 60 days per year over 90 but not too many over 100 (except for this year!!). Pretty steady freezing over night for about four months. Soil here is red sandy and alky and needs mulch and cow manure to sweeten up a bit for my onions and peppers.

Due to two metal knee replacements kneeling is never going to happen anymore so I am building some cinder block planters about three feet high and I wanted to plant blueberries.

If I was going to prep the soil for the best blueberries to grow up here how would you do the chemistry? Which berry? How far apart you think?


a bluberrieholic.

RE: Growing Blueberries in High Desert??

I was so happy to see this post! I live in the high desert in SoCal and I was wondering this exact thing! I LOVE blueberries and was going to try to keep a few plants in pots. We have VERY hot dry summers (in the hundred and teens regularly) so I may have to move the pots to the shade during the hottest part of each day, which wouldn't be very practical.

RE: Growing Blueberries in High Desert??

I've had very good luck in pots. Have had some plants in the same 15 gal pot for 6 years. They produce every year and need frequent pruning or they'd be way too big. Ave yield is about 5-8 lbs per plant.

Acid soil is the key and it's best to plant only after the pH is 5.5 or below. I use rainwater as alkaline well water will kill the plants in a year or so. For fertilizer the slow release type for acid loving plants works well. Ammonium sulfate, 21-0-0, is good in small doses.

A good starter variety in medium chill areas would be Star. It blooms late and matures early.

RE: Growing Blueberries in High Desert??

Hi, I' in southern NM & planted a blueberry bush in a pot last spring. It is on the east porch. I put an organic fertilizer for blueberries in it twice. I also have been putting coffee grounds on it once per week. Is that too much? I haven't done a ph test. Should I?

I watered it once per week. It doesn't look real healthy.


This post was edited by TerriB5 on Tue, Oct 22, 13 at 13:28

 o Post a Follow-Up

Please Note: Only registered members are able to post messages to this forum.

    If you are a member, please log in.

    If you aren't yet a member, join now!

Return to the Southwestern Gardening Forum

Information about Posting

  • You must be logged in to post a message. Once you are logged in, a posting window will appear at the bottom of the messages. If you are not a member, please register for an account.
  • Please review our Rules of Play before posting.
  • Posting is a two-step process. Once you have composed your message, you will be taken to the preview page. You will then have a chance to review your post, make changes and upload photos.
  • After posting your message, you may need to refresh the forum page in order to see it.
  • Before posting copyrighted material, please read about Copyright and Fair Use.
  • We have a strict no-advertising policy!
  • If you would like to practice posting or uploading photos, please visit our Test forum.
  • If you need assistance, please Contact Us and we will be happy to help.

Learn more about in-text links on this page here