If you don’t have an expansive backyard to grow your favorite fruits, or the harsh winters in your region do not support perennials, growing blueberries indoors as a houseplant is a good option. Yes, if you love berries, you’re lucky since blueberries are one of the easiest fruits to grow indoors all year-round.
As long as you choose the correct variety to plant indoors, find it a nice, sunny spot and give it all the right conditions, you can have a beautiful blueberry bush right on your windowsill. If you give it everything it needs, there’s no reason why you can’t have a handful of berries to grab off your potted bush before heading to work!
So how do you get started with growing blueberries indoors and help it thrive all year-round? Here’s a complete guide to planting and care for your indoor blueberry bush.
Which Varieties Are Best For Growing Indoors?
The first question that may pop up in your mind, and an important one, is which blueberry varieties will make the best houseplants? The usual highbush varieties can grow up to 6 feet tall and 6 feet wide, unsuitable for growing indoors.
Your best bet is to go for lowbush blueberries or dwarf varieties. Lowbush blueberries are native to the northeastern US and grow close to the ground. They won’t take up much space in your living room and will grow into a small, easy-to-maintain indoor bush.
Here are some of the most common dwarf blueberries you can grow indoors:
- “Top Hat” varieties are the most popular options for indoor growing since it’s a dwarf blueberry bush that only reaches a height of 24 inches. It works well in warm climates.
- “Northsky” is a lowbush blueberry variety that can grow in the cold and reaches a height of 18 inches.
- “Northblue” is another is a lowbush blueberry. It takes a bit more space, reaching about 40 inches but yields more than most other dwarf varieties.
- “Sunshine Blue” is a semi-dwarf variety and reaches a height of 48 inches.
How Do You Start Growing Blueberries Indoors: Seed Or Seedling?
If you start from seed, you’ll have to wait at least 2 to 3 years to see any berries on your plant. Most growers choose to propagate it from cuttings brought at the nursery or purchase a year-old plant. Even though they’re self-pollination, grow at least two to encourage cross-pollination, and enjoy a bigger yield. Plant a different variety that blooms at around the same time in another pot and place it close by.
Prepare The Pot
Choose a container with a depth of at least 15 to 18 inches for growing a single blueberry plant. You can also start with a smaller container and re-pot it as the plant grows bigger. Since they don’t have a big root system, they won’t require a pot bigger than this size and will easily fit on a window sill. Make sure the pot has drainage holes at the base before you fill it with soil.
Blueberries thrive in well-drained, fertile soil with a pH between 4.0 and 5.0. Since blueberries love acidic soil, the regular potting mix isn’t the best choice. Adding peat moss, sulfur, or pine bark will make the soil acidic. The best medium for your potted blueberry bush is a 50-50 mix of peat moss and potting soil. If you’d rather prefer pre-prepared bagged soil, go for those labeled for azaleas and hydrangeas.
Transplant the nursery plant into the pot you just prepared, planting it to the same depth as it was in the original pot. Cover the roots with soil and water well.
Indoor Blueberry Bush Care
Indoor blueberry bushes will require a bit more attention than outdoor ones. Unless they enjoy their preferred conditions, they won’t give you as many blueberries as you’d expect from an outdoor plant. In an unsuitable environment, they might not produce at all. Here are some of the things you need to be particular about:
Blueberries are sun-loving species. Typically, they need about 6 to 8 hours of direct sunlight to grow their best. Place them at a window that gets plenty of direct sun throughout the day. Though they’ll tolerate fewer sunlight hours, the yield will drop. If you don’t have a sunny window, you can install LED grow lights over them.
Blueberries are very sensitive to dry soil. Water regularly, keeping the soil evenly moist but not too damp. In summers, you may need to water the pot daily to keep it moist. Poke your finger in the soil; even if the topsoil feels slightly dry, it’s time to water the plant.
During the first year, feed every few months with an acidic organic fertilizer as directed on the package. Cottonseed meal or feather meal are good options for indoor blueberries. After the first year, you can start feeding monthly with light doses of organic fertilizer.
Different varieties have different temperature requirements. Lowbush varieties prefer cooler climates. Most blueberries need a few months of cold temperatures (chilling hours) to go dormant before blooming and fruiting. You may need to move it to a colder spot, such as an unheated basement, for the winters.
After a couple of years, once the plant is mature, you’ll need to prune it lightly each year to promote yield and keep it from invading your space. The best time to prune is in autumn, once you’ve harvested all your berries for the season. Remove all the weak, dead, and low-hanging branches. Also, remove the older canes, since they’re not going to be as productive as the newer ones.
There’s nothing more satisfying than picking berries off your window blueberry bush – years of waiting will ultimately pay off! The clusters will ripen at different times. Pick them once they’re entirely blue. You can leave them on the bush for as long as ten days once they’re completely ripe.