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Fresh berries from our own cultivation are always a pleasure. In order to be able to harvest plenty of blueberries from the garden, good care is a prerequisite. There are even more blueberries when the stock of plants increases. This is done by propagating by means of seeds, cuttings and offshoots and the following professional instructions from the plant magazine with expert tips on the topic of "propagating blueberries".
type of propagation
offshoots and cuttings
What is the best way of propagation depends primarily on whether your own blueberry plants (Vaccinium myrtillus) are available or whether neighbors or friends have access to them, for example. Here it is advisable to use cuttings or offshoots for propagation, especially since they prove to be the most promising propagation options. They also offer the fastest methods of growing a bush with blueberries.
Seeds can also be obtained from an existing (Vaccinium myrtillus) or obtained from specialist retailers. Propagation by seeds takes much longer than by offshoots and cuttings, because it takes a lot of time from germination to growth. In addition, seeds generally involve a higher risk of non-germination. However, for those who do not have a shrub nearby, this is the only way of propagation, unless a fully grown plant is bought in stores from the outset, which is relatively expensive.
Propagation with cuttings
This type of propagation is optimal with new shoots (cuttings) that already show slight lignification. That is usually between June and August the case.
In addition, you should make sure to choose a warmer but overcast day for cutting and planting. This will prevent the shoots from wilting too much. This would reduce the chance that a new plant would grow from a cutting.
Propagation with offshoots
It often takes up to a year for the offshoots of blueberries to form firm roots. It is optimal to use the growth period from spring to late summer and accordingly to pull an offshoot in the spring to start. There is a good chance that an independent young plant will have emerged in the following spring.
Propagation with seeds
Seeds can be sown in both spring and fall. Autumn is a good time when the seeds are harvested from the fresh fruit after the last harvest. That way they don't have to be stored until spring, which can drastically lower the chances of germination. Seeds purchased from specialist retailers are best suited for sowing in spring.
Whether you decide to use cuttings, offshoots or seeds, when planting it is important to ensure that the soil meets certain conditions. For seeds, you should use a special potting soil, while for cuttings and offshoots, the requirement sometimes goes in a different direction.
Soil for cuttings and offshoots propagation
- Loose and permeable
- lime free
- Rich in nutrients and humus
- High moisture content
- pH between 4.0 and 5.0
- Sour bog soil is best suited
Soil for seed propagation
- Low in nutrients and humus
- Loose and well permeable to water
- Slightly sandy or clayey for improved moisture retention
- pH between 4.5 and 5.8
tip: The condition of floors can be determined easily and without much effort using specific test strips. They can be found relatively inexpensively in gardening shops.
Propagating blueberries: instructions
- Medium sized flower pot with drainage hole
- Translucent plastic film
- Suitable soil - peat soil is ideal
- A handful or two of gravel or quartz sand for drainage
- Three to four wooden sticks (three times as high as the shoots)
- Lay out the bottom of the pot with around two centimeters of quartz sand or gravel for drainage
- Then fill in suitable soil
- Distance to the edge of the pot between two and three centimetres
- Moisten the soil well
- Look for two to five new shoots from the current year that are semi-hard and woody
- Cut off five to eight centimeters long
- Separate fresh tips from shoots with soft tissue
- Lower cut below a bud with leaf
- Top cut between three and five centimeters above leaf/bud
- Remove the bottom two or three leaves
- Stick the part of the cuttings free of leaves into the soil at regular intervals
- Should be about three to four centimeters in soil
- Firmly press down the soil around the shoots
- Moisten the soil well again without provoking waterlogging
- Spread a few sticks around the edge of the pot and stick them in the ground
- When the soil has dried slightly, place translucent plastic film over the outer sticks
- Cuttings are completely surrounded by the foil
- Height distance between foil and cuttings should be at least three times the height of the plants
- Air the film for 20 minutes a day and water the soil if necessary
- Location: bright, sunny and warm - best on a light-flooded windowsill
- Root formation: between two and three months
You can easily find out whether roots have formed by plucking: gently pull on the cutting - if there is resistance, roots have grown. This is the moment when further action should be taken:
- remove foil
- Plants remain planted
- Keep young plants cold to -5 °C for overwintering
- Gradually get used to higher temperatures in spring
- Plant in a larger pot or in the garden or bog bed in June at the earliest
Propagation with offshoots is often used, although a little luck and a lot of patience are required. Older specimens of Vaccinium myrtillus are best suited for an offshoot. Find a thinner, pliable, ideally annual shoot that is near the ground.
Instructions for offshoot growth
- Loosen the soil well along the shoot that is close to the ground
- Dig a “ditch” about five centimeters deep into which the shoot is pressed
- The tip of the shoot should look out of the "ditch".
- Close the “ditch” with the excavated earth again with a shoot
- To weigh down the shoot, place a stone or something similar on the entry point (prevents the shoot from pushing out)
- Alternatively, the shoot can be fixed with branch forks that have been cut to size
- Waiting time until roots develop: up to a year
tip: Offshoots can also be grown from a potted blueberry. To do this, a second pot with soil is placed directly next to the potted plant and a shoot is sunk into the ground. The procedure is the same as previously described.
If an offshoot with roots has developed from the lowered shoot of the blueberries, it can be separated from the mother plant. The cut must be made in such a way that no root parts are damaged. Once the separation has taken place, the offshoot is to be planted as described below:
- Fill the bottom of the plant pot about two centimeters with a drainage layer made of gravel, broken pottery or quartz sand
- Fill the pot halfway with suitable soil, ideally with peat soil, and moisten
- Wait a moment for the soil to dry slightly (this way the soil will settle)
- Position the young plant in the middle of the pot (roots must not snap off)
- Fill in the soil again until the plant stem is two to three centimeters below the surface of the soil
- Press the soil down lightly to give the plant stability
- Water moderately
- Location: warm, bright to sunny, likes full sun, but no direct sunlight
- The young plant should not spend the first winter outside - after that it can be planted outside
Blueberries reproduce in large numbers in the wild, so that rearing them in your own garden can also work in a targeted manner. If you would like to purchase the seed from a specialist shop, the description hardly reveals which blueberry type/variety it is. If you want to be sure that only certain varieties will grow, you should take the seeds from fresh berries whose variety you know. This works in the following way:
- Using a very sharp knife or razor blade, cut open the berries all the way around
- Carefully remove the seeds with tweezers
- Alternatively, the seeds can also be squeezed out of the fruit
- Pour the seeds into a fine-mesh sieve (a tea strainer works best)
- Rinse under a stream of water to remove pulp residue
- Lay out on kitchen paper and let dry
Instructions for sowing
- Fill the plant container such as a pot or a seed tray with potting soil
- An old plastic fruit packaging with a lid, in which air holes are pierced, is also ideal for this
- The seeds are then distributed on the potting soil
- Never press the seed into the ground and/or cover it with soil (light germinators)
- pour soil
- Stretch transparent plastic film with small air holes over the seed
- Open the foil regularly for a few minutes and moisten the soil
- Location: bright and sunny, but not too hot or direct sunlight
- Germination: after a few days
- The first shoots are usually visible after two to three weeks
- Roots can take up to six months to appear
- Prick out as soon as the young plant has reached a height of about 15 centimetres