Garden tip from Monrovia
Monrovia, founded by Harry E. Rosedale in 1926, grows more than 2,300 varieties and 22 million plants annually, with each plant nurtured by hand. Monrovia is committed to enhancing the beauty and value of the North American landscape — one garden at a time.
The ever-growing popularity of blueberry shrubs in the garden is no passing fad. Savvy gardeners have discovered that they’re easy to grow, attractive in the landscape, teaming with delicious plump berries and most are pest and disease resistant. They don’t have thorns, so they are child- and pet-friendly.
With plenty of varieties for both cold and warmer climates, you can enjoy growing your own anti-oxidant-rich fruit just about anywhere. Then in the fall, they put on a show of dazzling color.
Blueberries have specific growing needs:
- Acidic soil is essential. Your local garden center will have home tester kits if you don’t know the pH of your soil. If you have more alkaline soil, adding peat moss, pine needles and old coffee grounds can help enhance the soil’s acidity. Another option is to plant the blueberries in large containers, using an azalea-camellia potting mixture or similar mix made for acid-loving plants. This way you’ll have more control over the soil and moisture levels.
- Moisture is important. Blueberries have shallow root systems, so they need more frequent watering than other shrubs.
- A sunny spot in the garden is another requirement. In very hot climates, full sun in the morning and dappled sun in the afternoon is recommended.
- Light pruning is important. Blueberries are pretty low maintenance — just a light pruning once a year, after the season’s harvest, and the shrubs will maintain a tidy appearance.
Varieties to look for:
Bountiful Blue (pictured, left) — a delightful hybrid of an eye-catching ornamental with a long season of prolific fruiting
Beautyberry — a fabulous shrub for fall color with branches loaded by clusters of bright-colored berries that last for weeks
Early Amethyst — yellow-green foliage contrasts nicely with its berries
Profusion (pictured, right) — noted for its abundance of long-lasting violet berries
Pyracantha — another great choice for colorful, bright-red and orange long-lasting berries (the berry-laden branches can help create stunning flower arrangements)
Photographs courtesy of Monrovia