How to Grow Blueberries From a Berry
Blueberry species such as the highbush blueberry (Vaccinium corymbosum) and lowbush blueberry (V. angustifolium) serve a dual purpose in landscaping as both an ornamental ground cover and edible crop. They grow best within U.S. Department of Agricultural plant hardiness zones 8 and below, where they will start producing fruit during their second year in the ground.
Growing blueberries from seed is reliable when you’re working with fresh seed, although the resulting shrub may not closely resemble the parent plant. The seeds require no pretreatment to successfully germinate, but chilling them will enhance their germination rate and help ensure a successful outcome.
How to Prepare Blueberry Seeds
Gather blueberries in summer after they ripen to a solid, bluish-black color and the flesh yields to slight pressure. Collect several berries from your favorite blueberry bush to increase the likelihood of locating viable, intact seed.
Place the blueberries in a sealable plastic bag. Store them in the freezer for three months to cold stratify the seeds, which will help fulfill their dormancy requirement and help prompt germination.
Remove the blueberries from the freezer after the cold stratification period has ended. Place the bag on the counter for one to two hours, or until the blueberries have thawed to room temperature.
Fill a blender three-quarters full with fresh water and pour in 3/4 cup of blueberries. Secure the lid. Run the blender for 10 to 15 minutes to macerate the berries.
Pour the blueberry pulp into a large mixing bowl and let it stand for five minutes. Scoop out and discard pulp that floats to the surface. Carefully pour off the excess water. Add fresh water and let it stand for another five minutes.
Pour the contents of the bowl through a fine sieve or wire mesh colander. Collect the tiny, reddish brown seeds from the sieve. Spread them out to dry on a sheet of newspaper.
How to Germinate Blueberry Seeds
Fill 12-inch nursery pots with a moistened mixture of equal parts milled peat, coarse sand and loam. Sprinkle a pinch of blueberry seeds across the surface of the soil. Spread a very scant layer of milled peat over the seeds so they are barely covered.
Place the nursery pots outdoors inside a lightly shaded cold frame. Cover each pot with a sheet of newspaper. Warm the pots to between 60 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit with a germination mat if daytime temperatures stay below 60 F.
Maintain constant moisture in the top inch of soil while the blueberry seeds germinate. Use a plant mister or a spray bottle to water because a watering can or other strong water stream will dislodge the tiny seeds.
Watch for germination in approximately one month. Remove the newspaper and the germination mat after seedlings emerge. Crack open the cold frame to help acclimate the seedlings to normal outdoor conditions.
Thin the blueberry seedlings to two per pot once they grow to 2 inches. Keep the strongest, most vigorous of the seedlings and remove the weaker ones. Snip off the unwanted seedlings at soil-level with small scissors.
Move the nursery pots to a sheltered spot outdoors with dappled shade. Water to a depth of one inch every week. Transplant the blueberries into a sunny or lightly shaded bed with moist, acid soil the following autumn.
How to Grow Blueberries From a Berry. Blueberry species such as the highbush blueberry (Vaccinium corymbosum) and lowbush blueberry (V. angustifolium) serve a dual purpose in landscaping as both an ornamental ground cover and edible crop. They grow best within U.S. Department of Agricultural plant hardiness zones 8 …
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.