How to Grow Blueberries From a Berry
Blueberry species such as the highbush blueberry (Vaccinium corymbosum) and lowbush blueberry (V. angustifolium) serve a dual purpose in landscaping as both an ornamental ground cover and edible crop. They grow best within U.S. Department of Agricultural plant hardiness zones 8 and below, where they will start producing fruit during their second year in the ground.
Growing blueberries from seed is reliable when you’re working with fresh seed, although the resulting shrub may not closely resemble the parent plant. The seeds require no pretreatment to successfully germinate, but chilling them will enhance their germination rate and help ensure a successful outcome.
How to Prepare Blueberry Seeds
Gather blueberries in summer after they ripen to a solid, bluish-black color and the flesh yields to slight pressure. Collect several berries from your favorite blueberry bush to increase the likelihood of locating viable, intact seed.
Place the blueberries in a sealable plastic bag. Store them in the freezer for three months to cold stratify the seeds, which will help fulfill their dormancy requirement and help prompt germination.
Remove the blueberries from the freezer after the cold stratification period has ended. Place the bag on the counter for one to two hours, or until the blueberries have thawed to room temperature.
Fill a blender three-quarters full with fresh water and pour in 3/4 cup of blueberries. Secure the lid. Run the blender for 10 to 15 minutes to macerate the berries.
Pour the blueberry pulp into a large mixing bowl and let it stand for five minutes. Scoop out and discard pulp that floats to the surface. Carefully pour off the excess water. Add fresh water and let it stand for another five minutes.
Pour the contents of the bowl through a fine sieve or wire mesh colander. Collect the tiny, reddish brown seeds from the sieve. Spread them out to dry on a sheet of newspaper.
How to Germinate Blueberry Seeds
Fill 12-inch nursery pots with a moistened mixture of equal parts milled peat, coarse sand and loam. Sprinkle a pinch of blueberry seeds across the surface of the soil. Spread a very scant layer of milled peat over the seeds so they are barely covered.
Place the nursery pots outdoors inside a lightly shaded cold frame. Cover each pot with a sheet of newspaper. Warm the pots to between 60 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit with a germination mat if daytime temperatures stay below 60 F.
Maintain constant moisture in the top inch of soil while the blueberry seeds germinate. Use a plant mister or a spray bottle to water because a watering can or other strong water stream will dislodge the tiny seeds.
Watch for germination in approximately one month. Remove the newspaper and the germination mat after seedlings emerge. Crack open the cold frame to help acclimate the seedlings to normal outdoor conditions.
Thin the blueberry seedlings to two per pot once they grow to 2 inches. Keep the strongest, most vigorous of the seedlings and remove the weaker ones. Snip off the unwanted seedlings at soil-level with small scissors.
Move the nursery pots to a sheltered spot outdoors with dappled shade. Water to a depth of one inch every week. Transplant the blueberries into a sunny or lightly shaded bed with moist, acid soil the following autumn.
How to Grow Blueberries From a Berry. Blueberry species such as the highbush blueberry (Vaccinium corymbosum) and lowbush blueberry (V. angustifolium) serve a dual purpose in landscaping as both an ornamental ground cover and edible crop. They grow best within U.S. Department of Agricultural plant hardiness zones 8 …