Blueberries make your garden look lovely with their purple fruit and white flowers. These tasty berries are renowned for their health benefits, and they’re delicious in desserts. To ensure your blueberry plants thrive and give you lots of tasty berries to enjoy, you must know if your blueberries need full sun?
Blueberries need to be planted in an area of the garden that receives full-sun conditions so they produce many blossoms and berries. Although blueberry plants can tolerate semi-shade conditions, this is not ideal for their healthy growth. The plants can look stunted if they don’t receive enough sun.
Do Blueberry Plants Need Full Sun?
There are different blueberry varieties, and they have slightly different requirements. Generally, though, all types of blueberries require lots of sun daily.
Blueberry plants require between six and eight hours of sunlight every day. The sun needs to be direct, not filtered through windows or tree leaves, so the blueberry plants will soak up enough light to get the resources to produce flowers and berries.
It’s, therefore, essential to plant blueberry bushes in areas that aren’t shaded by trees or other structures. If the region where you live is accustomed to dry, extremely hot afternoons, planting your berries in an area that receives sunlight in the mornings and a bit of shade in the afternoons when temperatures are hottest is ideal.
Impact of Full Sun on Blueberry Growth
Full sun conditions are vital to healthy blueberry growth. It gives the plants the energy they need to produce luscious, beautiful fruit. They will grow flowers and fruit much more than blueberry plants grown in shady areas. They’ll also have healthier leaves.
As long as you provide your blueberries with enough sun daily, you can grow them in the ground or in containers.
Of course, choosing a sunny spot for your blueberry plants is just one element of their care. The site should be well-draining and free of weeds that will compete with the plants for the sun and other resources.
Can Blueberries Get Too Much Sun?
Although blueberry plants crave lots of sun daily to ensure they grow healthy and avoid being stunted, you must be careful when exposing them to extreme temperatures.
Blueberries can get too much sun, which burns them. Known as sun scorch, this occurs when their foliage gets damaged by the harsh sun. They’ll become dry, turn yellow and brown, and wilt or droop.
The trick to preventing blueberry plants from being scorched by the sun is to avoid planting them in an area that receives harsh sun. Ideally, your blueberries should receive sun in the earlier part of the day and be protected from strong afternoon sun. Using canopies or sun nets can help to protect the blueberry plants if summers are extremely hot and bright in your region.
Can Blueberries Grow in Indirect Light?
If your garden doesn’t receive much direct light daily, this doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t grow blueberries at home. As long as your berries receive sunlight, they can still survive.
Blueberries can grow in indirect light. However, these plants won’t produce as many fruits as those planted in full-sun conditions. When planted in an area receiving indirect light, the plants still require a few hours of direct light to thrive.
If you plant blueberries in an area that receives indirect light, such as a spot where larger plants filter the light they receive, they could suffer various consequences, such as legginess and sparse leaves. This makes them look less attractive in your garden than healthy, sun-exposed plants.
Can Blueberries Grow in Shade?
Although blueberry plants can grow in indirect light and partial shade areas, they won’t be as bountiful. However, if your garden is exposed to partial shade, you can grow blueberries as long as you choose shade-tolerant blueberry varieties.
Blueberries grow best in sunny conditions, but some varieties grow better in low-sun conditions than others. An example is lowbush blueberry varieties. These grow well in partial shade, and they’re also more tolerant to cold temperatures than other types of blueberries.
Lowbush blueberry plants can be planted in garden areas that receive full-sun or partial-shade conditions. However, it’s not worth growing them in shady areas as they won’t produce many berries or blossoms. This is because shade reduces temperatures in spring, resulting in cold that can inhibit the plants from producing buds.
When planting blueberries next to larger plants or trees, it’s important to check that they’re not entirely in the shade. Avoid planting them next to black walnut trees. This is because all parts of the tree release a poisonous chemical that kills blueberry plants.
Blueberry Plants Requirements: Sunlight, Soil, Water, Fertilizer, Temperature
Ensuring your blueberry bushes or plants get enough sun is one element of their care. Here’s a rundown of how to look after blueberries so that they yield a large crop and look beautiful in your garden.
Plant blueberries in a site that receives at least six to eight hours of direct sunlight daily. However, ensure the site isn’t windy, as strong winds can damage the plants. Blueberry plants have shallow roots that are easily uprooted.
You shouldn’t plant blueberry plants or bushes in areas of the garden on the north or east side of a building, as this reduces how much sunlight they’ll receive.
Blueberries thrive in acidic soil with a pH of between 4.0 and 5.0. A good idea is to test the soil before you plant your blueberry bushes so you can amend it with ingredients such as sulfur to boost its acidity, if necessary.
Avoid planting blueberry plants in high-pH soil, resulting in slow or stunted plant growth, discolored leaves, and plant death.
The soil should be loose and well-draining so that it doesn’t maintain too much moisture, which can lead to root rot.
Blueberries need one inch (2.54cm) of water weekly, but you should increase this quantity if your region experiences low rainfall. Avoid getting water on the plant’s leaves, which can lead to fungal infections, so consider drip irrigation when watering the plant.
When blueberry plants are kept in containers, you should water them with a bit more water because their soil will dry out faster, and they won’t be able to draw water from the ground.
Blueberry plants benefit from being fertilized in spring, when you can see new growth on the plant. This gives the plant enough of the food and energy it needs to produce fruit and flowers.
If your plant is young, you can feed it again six weeks after the first fertilizer application. Once established, your blueberry plants don’t require fertilizer more than once a year.
Choose a fertilizer containing an ammonium form of nitrogen, like a cottonseed meal formulation. Unlike other berries, blueberries can’t tolerate any fertilizer containing nitrogen. The fertilizer should also contain slow-release nitrogen.
A product designed for other acid-loving plants, like rhododendrons or azaleas, will be suitable when shopping for fertilizer. If you’re growing blueberries in containers or pots, look for a potting mix suitable for other plants that love acidic soil. An alternative is to mix sandy soil with compost and peat moss.
Although different blueberry plant varieties have different temperature requirements, they all generally require temperatures between 60 and 70°F (15.5-21.1°C).
Blueberry plants are quite tolerant of low temperatures, with some varieties tolerating temperatures as low as -20°F (-28°C). But, this is only the case when they’re not in their growth phase. When you can see flowers on the plant, they become more fragile and require greater protection from frosty conditions.
When choosing blueberries, consider their chill hours, the number of hours the variety requires at 45°F (7.3°C) to enable them to grow flowers and fruit. In warmer regions, blueberries need fewer chill hours, so always check the blueberry plant’s specifications to ensure you buy one that will grow well in your climate.
Tips to Take Care of Blueberry Plants
In the previous section, we provided the most essential tips for planting and looking after blueberry plants, but there are other tips to bear in mind so that your blueberries produce delicious berries.
- Space them properly. Plant your blueberry plants approximately three feet (0.9m) away from each other to give them enough space to get enough sunlight and other resources.
- Pick the flowers for the plant’s first two years. This is essential to encourage the plant to grow more leaves and healthy roots to increase its lifespan.
- Prune dormant blueberry bushes (before they have formed buds). By removing branches that block out too much sun, you can ensure you meet the plant’s daily sunlight requirements.
- Apply a layer of mulch. When placed around the blueberry plant’s base, mulch helps the soil maintain its temperature and moisture. A four-inch (10.16cm) thick layer of mulch is sufficient.
- Plant blueberries during spring or late fall. If you live in a very cold area, such as Zone 5 or lower, plant blueberries during spring when temperatures are warm.