Blueberries are one of my favorite berries. They are a wonderful summertime treat, and they are so easy and fun to grow! There is nothing quite like gathering a handful or bowl of fresh blueberries to make a pie or even to nibble on. Why else do I love blueberries? You don’t even need to buy seeds to grow them!
Don’t throw out all those extra berries you bought at the store; you can save them and use them to germinate whole blueberry bushes. Then you will never have to purchase blueberries from the store ever again. And it’s way easier than it sounds.
Curious to find out how to grow blueberries… from blueberries? You’ve come to the right place. Keep reading to find out!
Preparing Blueberry Seeds
There are a few steps to take before you even see that little blueberry seed. Follow these steps.
Gather all your berries into a Ziploc bag and place them in the freezer. Berry seeds need to go through a period of cold in order to germinate. They must remain cold for up to 3 months.
Once your berries have chilled for three months, take them out of the freezer and let them come to room temperature. This may take 2-3 hours.
The easiest way to extract the seeds from the berry itself is to blend them. Fill up your blender 3/4 of the way up with berries. Add a couple of cups of water. Start blending. You can blend for about a minute, stop it and see if any seeds are falling to the bottom. You may also find pulp starting to form at the top; you can remove that pulp and keep blending.
Once blended, filter out the seeds using a very fine mesh colander. They will look very small and like a reddish-brown.
Germinate the Seeds
Now that we have the seeds, it’s time to germinate!
Instead of planting these seeds, we will germinate them using the paper towel method. I like this method because it’s a mess-free way to germinate seeds before you even get soil involved.
Spread all your seeds out onto one side of a paper towel, and you may even want to fold the paper towel down. After folding, spray it down with water in a spray bottle to keep it moist. Don’t soak the paper towel; just get it damp enough.
Next, take the moist paper towel and place it into a clear Ziploc bag. Warm dark locations work best for this method. A cupboard or a warm closet will do. You can also place the Ziploc bag on a heating pad and cover it with a dark cloth. The key here is warmth and darkness. Blueberry seedlings will take a few weeks to pop or maybe even a month.
Plant the Seeds
After about a month, your blueberry seeds should have popped! Once they are about 2 inches long, you can plant them in pots. I would recommend placing one seedling into a 4-inch pot (or a pint-sized pot). You can even use red solo cups for this step.
Place your seedlings under a grow light or in a warm sunny spot. They need up to 14 hours of sunlight a day at this point. Keep them moist. Once they are about 6 inches tall, you can plant your blueberry wherever you’d like. Make sure it’s somewhere that gets a lot of sun.
Remember that blueberries are perennial, and they will keep coming back each year; however, it will take a few years and a lot of care until the plant starts producing. Blueberries are slow growers, so don’t be alarmed if your plant is only 1 foot tall after a year. It will start producing soon.
Tips for Growing Blueberries
Growing blueberries may seem a little daunting at first, and although it takes time and patience, it’s so worth it. Here are some inside gardener tips for growing blueberries.
* Blueberries are a summertime crop, and they love the sun. Make sure you plant them in a place where they get the most sun; the more sun they get, the more berries they produce.
* Unlike many garden plants, blueberries prefer acidic soil- with a pH of around 4 or 5. Adding peat moss to your blueberry garden is a great way to ensure that the soil remains acidic. Because blueberries stick around forever, make sure you test the soil’s acidity every few years to make sure it’s still in the right zone for blueberries.
* Blueberries love their water, especially during their first couple of years of life. Make sure to keep them moist. Putting mulch around blueberry plants is a great way to keep moisture in.
*Where you live matters! Different strains of blueberries can withstand different weather. Southern Highbush blueberries are better for climates with more mild winters and hot summers. Northern Highbush is better for harsher winters and more mild summers.
*Add netting! Birds love berries and so do deer. Make sure your blueberry plants have good netting around them and/or a fence to keep the animals out of your berries.
*Blueberries keep growing for a long time. They are best planted directly in the ground after they get to be at least 6 inches. However, you can wait till they are a foot or two. If they are planted right in the ground, they can keep growing for as long as they need, and their roots can stretch. In the long run, your plants will be much happier and healthier that way.
*If you are using store-bought blueberries to extract seeds, as we went over above, you can also use a potato masher instead of a blender to get those seeds out! The process is the same, except you are the blender.
Blueberries are a really fun plant to grow; all it takes is a little bit of time and patience. You can avoid buying blueberry seeds and use the extra blueberries you bought from the grocery store to grow yourself a blueberry plant that could last a lifetime! I’d say that’s worth it. Happy gardening!
Hi there, my name is Allie and welcome to my blog; GareningWithAllie!
Much of what you see written here is just our personal experiences with gardening. Along with the content I write here, there is also a unique collection of gardening topics covered by some of our close friends. I hope you find everything you read here to be helpful, informative, and something that can make your gardening journey the most lovely experience ever! With that said, Happy Gardening!