- Home Gardeners -
Blueberries can be grown in home gardens anywhere in New Zealand. As well as culinary uses for the fruit, the plants have many landscape uses including hedging and use in mixed plantings. Blueberries vary in height between 1-3 metres and should be planted around one metre apart. The bushes have delicate white or pink spring flowers, the summer fruit has an attractive sky blue colour, and the autumn foliage adds great red and yellow colours to the landscape.
POLLINATION: Most blueberries are at least partially self fertile but will produce bigger and more consistent crops if cross pollinated. Planting a combination of varieties of the same type will ensure good cross pollination and therefore good cropping.
SOIL REQUIREMENTS: It is important that the soil is prepared prior to planting. Blueberries need an acidic soil with a pH of around 4.5. Most New Zealand soils have a pH of between 6 and 6.5. This can be easily achieved by adding the following to the planting hole or container: peat moss (for acidity), bark (for good drainage), acidic potting soil (e.g. Azalea, Camellia & Rhododendron mix) and a handful of ammonium sulphate. When fertilising Blueberries, make sure you use a slow release fertilizer. Blueberries do not like Blood & Bone, lime and Nitrate-based fertilizers like Nitrophoska and Novatech.
TYPES: Southern Highbush varieties flower very early in Spring so are best in areas north of Canterbury. Northern Highbush varieties need high levels of winter chilling so are best planted south of Auckland. Northern Highbush varieties are very hardy to cold so are the best choice in Southland and Otago. Rabbiteye varieties are suitable for all regions, though may need frost protection on the mid-Spring flowers.