Blueberry – Jersey Blue

Though fairly undemanding, blueberries need ericaceous (acidic) soil.  Plant in a well-drained and moisture-retentive, sheltered sunny spot.  They can also do well in light shade.

Mulch the plant with bark compost, pine needles or composted sawdust.  Avoid adding manure to your blueberry plants as this is too alkaline.

If you absolutely feel the need, you can fertilise with sulphate of ammonia at 15g per sq metre. But be very careful not to exceed the dose as blueberries are sensitive to fertiliser levels. (We tend to stick to natural methods – mulching with pine needles and adding new ericaceous soil if needed or if re-potting).

Water well in dry spells.  They prefer rain water (over tap water) if possible.

Netting is usually needed to protect ripening fruit from birds.

Some cultivars are partly or fully self-fertile, but it is best to grow a minimum of two different cultivars for cross-pollination to ensure reliable cropping and good berry size.

The RHS recommends ‘Patriot’ (large flavoured berries, more tolerant to heavy soils & good autumn colour); or ‘Sunshine Blue’ (self-fertile & compact; suitable for containers; pink flowers fade white; high yielding)

ADVICE ON GROWING BLUEBERRY IN POTS: An acidic substrate such as Jon Innes ericaceous is best for blueberries in pots.  Pot up your plants to a final pot size of 40-50 cm across (16-20 cm).  Blueberry hate to dry out, so water regularly – ideally with rainwater.  Feed during the growing season with an ericaceous liquid fertiliser.  Keep in a sheltered spot during cold spells: cover with fleece or move into a shed.

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Plant Diary – Jersey Blue Blueberry, planted spring 2019

Whilst up North (The Wirral, Liverpool and environs) early spring 2019 we dropped into a lovely little garden centre just to the side of Ness Gardens, and picked up a potted blueberry for the lottie.

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Jersey Blue Blueberry in flower, early April 2020.

Jersey Blue were developed in 1916 and introduced in 1928, making this cultivar one of the oldest and most trusted varieties of blueberry to be grown in the UK.

They typically have heavy crops of medium sized dark blueberries late July / August, and are said to be particularly good for cooler regions (which is interesting to know but of no great concern in the South East of the UK).

Jersey Blue are – luckily! – self-pollinating.  Some types of blueberry you need two for fruiting, and even still it is said that the plants will yield larger crops if pollinated with another blueberry such as Bluecrop or Earliblue.

We’ve got our Jersey Blue in a plastic pot filled with ericaceous soil.

It went into flower early April 2020 (and remains in a pot, so that we can top up the ericaceous soil).

For more information on Jersey Blue see the RHS description.