Help the development of the site, sharing the article with friends!

Blackberries, cider berries or blueberries, the blueberry (Vaccinium myrtillus) has many names and is one of the most popular berries to snack on. Compared to other berry fruit bushes, however, it is rarely found in gardens, which is partly due to its demands on location and substrate. The advantage of cultivated blueberries is that breeding has resulted in varieties that have different requirements and thus still deliver good yields under difficult conditions.

Plant blueberries

wild blueberries

In terms of their requirements, the cultivated and wild forms differ primarily in their locations. The wild Vaccinium myrtillus prefers shady to semi-shady locations. It tends to avoid direct sun, as it depends on rainwater in its natural environment and shade protects the soil from drying out quickly. When planting a wild blueberry, these requirements should always be taken into account. It is therefore often planted in shady locations as a ground cover, as it does very well in comparison to other plants.

One advantage of wild blueberries is that they don't need a lot of spacing compared to cultivated forms. In the forest they grow densely, but in your own garden you should make sure that there is 15 - 20 cm space between the individual perennials. Especially if they are not only decorative ground covers, but should also provide a yield. In addition, the wild blueberries need a very nutrient-rich soil, which not only improves the harvest, but also allows the plants to reach a height of up to half a meter without any problems.

cultivated blueberries


Although the yield from wild blueberries is quite acceptable in good site conditions, cultivated varieties not only bring significantly more yield, the harvest is easier due to the fruit size. When it comes to location, cultivars differ significantly from their wild relatives because they prefer sunny locations. They tolerate a maximum of a little shade per day, but then you can expect slightly lower yields. Sunny south sides that are protected from the wind are ideal. A location on a sunny house wall is also ideal and favors an earlier harvest. A sunny and warm place can also help the berries taste better.

When growing cultivated blueberries, you should also pay attention to a protected place, because cultivated forms also like slightly damp locations. Wind ensures that the soil dries out more quickly, and if the substrate is too dry, not only will the harvest fail, but in an emergency the plants will even shed their leaves prematurely. However, if you do not have a choice of planting location, you should use the perennials water regularly.
Alternatively, the ground can be covered with bark mulch in an unfavorable place. It ensures that the soil does not dry out too quickly and the rotting brings nutrients into the soil.


Calcareous soils are not ideal conditions for blueberries. This not only affects their growth, the taste also suffers. Anyone who has such conditions in the garden does not have to do without blueberries, the effort involved in planting is just greater. In calcareous soils must large planting holes be excavated. Then the floor is prepared with a layer of potsherds or expanded clay. With blueberries, you should avoid using gravel, as this is often too calcareous.

To prevent lime from getting back into the planting hole via seepage water or groundwater, it can also be lined with a sturdy plastic film. To prevent waterlogging, holes are cut into the bottom of the foil so that the water can drain off. The foil does not have to be cut on the sides of the planting hole.

notice: If there is too much lime in the soil, the blueberries usually show this by yellowing of the leaves. Problems with a calcareous soil can thus be clearly distinguished from the reddish autumn color of the plants.

What cultivated blueberries have in common with the wild form is their fondness for acidic soils. The pH value of normal garden soil is slightly acidic at most, but blueberries need a soil with a value of 3.5 to 4.5. If the substrate is not acidic enough, you should change it again. Potting soil for bog beds or rhododendron soil that has an acidic pH value is ideal. In order to keep the pH constant, acidic soil should be incorporated regularly. Mulching with bark mulch also promotes a constantly acidic pH value in the substrate.

Blueberries live in symbiosis with mycorrhizal fungi, which favor their development. The mycorrhizal fungi need bark compost or at least bark mulch to survive. When planting, you can already add bark compost to the soil and a layer of mulch provides additional supplies due to the constant rotting. The pH value in the soil remains constant if you supply the blueberries with bark mulch once a year.

planting distance

If you want to grow cultivated blueberries, you have to make sure there is enough space between the plants. Compared to their wild relatives, high-yielding cultivars of blueberries can reach heights of up to two meters. As shallow roots, the perennials need a lot of space to spread out. There should be a minimum distance of 1.5 meters between the plants. This distance should also be kept to other soft fruit varieties or walls. This allows the roots to spread well and the plant can absorb sufficient nutrients. Only with a slow-growing variety like "Sunshine Blue" can you reduce the distance to one meter.

tip: The location of the blueberries should generally be free of other plants. Avoid growing ground cover. Weeds should be removed by regular weeding. Alternatively, you can cover the ground with bark mulch.

Culture in rows or beds

Although blueberries self-fertile planting at least one additional perennial is recommended. The yields are usually higher. You can plant the blueberries in rows or in your own perennial beds. In a row culture, only a distance of 1.5 meters should be observed. When cultivating in beds or when growing in several parallel rows, a minimum distance of 2.5 meters must also be maintained between the individual rows. This means there is enough space for the roots of the plants to spread out and harvesting is not made more difficult by too much density.

Blueberries in the tub culture

Some blueberry varieties are also suitable for cultivation in a bucket. The advantage is that the choice of location is much easier in this case, since the tub can also be placed on a sunny terrace that is protected from the wind. There is also no need to consider the substrate or the soil conditions, as a suitable substrate can be purchased for the culture in the bucket.

Although only weakly growing dwarf varieties are suitable for a pot culture, they need a minimum distance in the pot so that the root system can spread well. The bucket should therefore have a volume of at least 15 liters. There is sufficient distance to the edge and the roots can develop both deep and wide. For the substrate, you can again choose soil for bog beds or rhododendron plants and mix it with bark compost.

For higher yields, you should plant several plants in the tub and arrange them as a group or in a row. The following varieties are suitable for culture in a bucket:

  • top hat
  • Coville
  • jersey
  • Spartan

One risk with pot culture is that the substrate is too wet or too dry. To prevent this, you should fill the bottom with a layer of coarse expanded clay. On the one hand, the clay balls can store water, which reduces the risk of dehydration, and on the other hand, they form a drainage layer that prevents waterlogging. You should also drill additional drainage holes so that rainwater can run off better. A substrate mixed with some sand ensures that the soil remains loose and permeable. Covering with bark mulch only provides limited protection against drying out in pot culture, but promotes an acidic pH value in the soil.

tip: With a limited space in the garden, you can also plant slow-growing varieties outdoors. A minimum distance of a maximum of 70 cm outdoors is sufficient for varieties with weak growth.

Help the development of the site, sharing the article with friends!