Container or open field? How you should grow your Blueberry plants

The consumption of blueberries increases every year. The prediction is that this growth will continue for the coming years. This is good news for the blueberry growers. But what if you want to start as a grower, where – in a container or open field – do you start?

The answer is location.

The blueberry (vaccinium) is part of the heath family Ericaceae. As the other members of the family the blueberry plants do like to grow in acidic soil which is airy and humus-rich. Plots where naturally heath-like crops grow are suitable to grow blueberries. When having soil with a PH rage between 4,5-5,2 the blueberry plant is able to absorb  trace minerals.

Open Field

As mentioned before, the blueberry plants like to grow in airy soil. The root system of a blueberry plant is delicate, sensitive and a low absorption capacity. A well-drained soil but humid soil is important. The most part of the roots are in the upper 35 centimetres of the soil. Therefore it is important what kind of soil they are surrounded with.

Vaccinium Corymbosum Elliot

Or container?

When there is no suitable plot available with the above mentioned requirements it is possible to grow the blueberries in containers. The plants will grow in the same container for several years therefore the right substrate is extremely important. Young blueberry plants will grow well in a 10-20 litre pot and older plants in a 25-50 litre pot. When growing in containers, irrigation is necessary.

When you have access to irrigation, it is wise to implement fertigation in the system. The advantages of growing blueberries in containers is that you are not dependent on plots with the right soil, less problems with soil diseases and nutrition can be controlled. On the other side, the blueberry plants do not have endless excess to water and nutrition, the PH and EC can fluctuate strongly and growing in containers makes the plant more frost sensitive.

Blueberry plants

However, when growing in open field it is recommended to treat the planting hole with a soil improver as well. Also, fertigation is strongly advised in order to give the right amount of water and nutrition when needed. Be aware the irrigation is located at the bottom of the plants. In this way water is already on the right spot and the leaves will remain dry and this will result in less fungal diseases.

Both growing methods have their advantages and disadvantages. The better the soil, the healthier the plants, the better the quality of the berries. In our demo field we apply the container growing method. We are testing different containers but also different growing techniques. Feel free to visit our demo field and experience the different methods.

Plant material

Next to the choice – container or open field – for the right growing method there is also the choice for the right plant material. When choosing for a C2/ 2 litre plant, the investment for plant material will be higher compared to a MP60 plug plant. Obviously, it takes more years to harvest from a MP60 plug plant. When growing in open field Fairplant advises choose for a C2 / 2 litre plant.

When growing in containers it is possible to start with small containers and plugs plants. Of course, it is also possible to grow in bigger containers and start with bigger plant material. Fairplant offers plant material in different sizes and varieties.  

Looking for more in depth information about growing methods, plant material or varieties?
Feel free to contact me.