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Blueberry Seed Planting: Tips For Growing Blueberry Seed

Blueberries are heralded as a super food — extremely nutritious, but also high in flavanoids which have been shown to reduce the damaging effects of oxidation and inflammation, allowing the body to fight off disease. Most home growers purchase cuttings, but did you know that blueberry seed planting will result in a plant as well?

How to Grow Blueberries from Seeds

First, is a blueberry a seed? No, the seeds are inside the fruit, and it takes a little work to separate them from the pulp. You can use fruit from an existing bush or from those purchased at the grocers, but the results may be poor or non-existent. Blueberries do not self pollinate, which means they are rather unpredictable and their offspring do not duplicate the parent. It is better to purchase viable blueberry seeds for planting from a nursery, but if you would like to experiment, here is how to prepare blueberry seeds for planting.

To prepare blueberry seeds for planting, the fruit will need to be macerated. This can be done in a food processor, blender or mashed in a bowl. Add a little water to the berries as you do this. Once the fruit is mashed, remove the floating pulp. Seeds will sink to the bottom. You may need to add water several times to remove the pulp completely.

Once you have gathered the blueberry bush seeds, they must be scarified. Place them in some damp paper towels and put them in the freezer for 90 days. Cold stratification will break the seeds’ rest period so they are ready for planting.

Blueberry Seed Planting

Once the 90 days have elapsed, the seeds can be used immediately or kept in the freezer until you are ready to plant them. Blueberry seed planting should commence in the fall in warm climates and in the spring in more northerly climes.

Plant the seed in dampened sphagnum peat moss in seed trays and cover them with ¼ inch (6 ml.) of soil. Keep the medium consistently moist. Be patient; blueberry seed planting may take six to eight weeks to germinate, some not for three months. The hybrid high bush seeds germinate more unreliable than their wild low bush relatives.

Keep the seeds in a warm, sunny area (60-70 degrees F/15-21 C). If lacking in sunlight, suspend a fluorescent light about 14 inches (36 cm.) above the seedlings. The resulting seedling from the growing blueberry seeds will look like grass with a few tiny leaves atop. During the first year of blueberry seed planting, the seedlings may get no taller than 5-6 inches (13-15 cm.) in height.

Once the blueberry bush seed plants are big enough to transplant, move them into pots in a sunny, warm area and keep moist. The growing blueberry seed plants can be fertilized with a liquid fertilizer after two to three weeks in their pots. The resulting blueberry bush seed plants will bear fruit during year two when the plant is 1-2 feet (30-61 cm.) tall.

It may take several years when growing blueberries from seed before the plant will produce any significant amount of fruit. So, again, be patient, but once established, the plant will keep you supplied with this super food for decades to come.

Most home growers purchase cuttings, but did you know that blueberry seed planting will result in a plant as well? It?s true, though it will take longer to produce. Read this article for tips on growing blueberry plants from seed.

Blue berry seed

Growing Blueberries From Seed

Blueberries can be grown from seed very easily, but you do need to follow these instructions very closely. Best results are obtained if started inside in late winter or early spring, but they will germinate anytime of the year provided they are given ample light and warmth. Plant the seeds in a flat or tray of Canadian Sphagnum Peat Moss, or the Premium Concentrated Seed Starting Mix we offer, either will work fine, but we do not recommend using anything else. Make sure the tray is at 3 inches deep for root development. Sprinkle the seed onto the top of the peat moss, and barely cover seeds with a very light ( 1/8-1/4 inch ) sprinkle of peat moss. The tray should be placed in an area that is warm, with bright light and the peat moss must be kept moist. If fungus develops on the surface of the moss, spray with any type of garden fungicide to control it.

Blueberry seeds are slow germinators, the first seeds will probably start to germinate in about a month, and finish germinating over the next 2-3 months. Leave the new seedlings in the peat moss until they are about 3 inches tall, then transplant into individual pots, being very careful not to damage the tiny root systems. Feed young plants with a weak solution of Miracle Gro Acid Plant Food, feed monthly and raise them in small pots until they are about 8 inches tall, then transplant into one gallon pots. Transplant 1-2 year old seedlings outside in the fall.

Plants will start producing berries when about 2 years old, but will not mature and offer maximum berry yield until they are about seven years old. In order for blueberry plants to produce berries the soil pH needs to be between 4.5 – 5.2. Soils not within the range of pH acceptability for blueberry plant growth must be prepared before planting. If the pH is too high, the growth of the plant is slowed and the foliage turns yellow. If the pH is too high for an extended period of time, the plants will die. When several plants are to be grown together, more satisfactory results will be obtained if an entire bed is prepared rather than digging holes for individual plants. With the lowest soil pH requirement of all berries, blueberries grow in the same acidic conditions that please other native shrubs such as rhododendron and azaleas. If the pH of the soil is between 5.5 and 7.0 and the texture is sandy to sandy loam, the following method can be used. Mix 4 to 6 inches of acid peat into the top 6 to 8 inches of soil. In addition to acidifying the soil, the peat increases the soil organic matter content. In addition to adding peat, you can also add pine needles or untreated pine wood shavings or bark to the soil. The pine needles and wood shaving are very acidic and will assist in lowering the pH level of the soil.

Soils with a pH greater than 7.0 will require higher rates of acidifying amendments and are not recommended for blueberries. If your soil pH is higher than 7.0 consider planting blueberries in a raised bed or a large container. Planting blueberry plants in a raised bed allows you to instantly achieve the correct soil pH by the amendments that you add.

Blueberries require adequate water, especially the first year that they are planted, to properly establish a good root system. During the growing season, blueberry plants typically require 1″ of water per week

Blueberry Guide