What is the best potting soil for blueberries?
Blueberries are one of those plants that almost everyone would love to have in their garden. Who wouldn’t love being able to walk outside and grab a handful of ripe berries off a bush to snack on or add to your cereal or oatmeal? Thankfully growing blueberries in your garden is quite easy to do if you have the right soil conditions.
With that being said, what are the right soil conditions? That is the question we are going to try to address in this post today, so let’s get started…
What is the best potting soil for blueberries?
Here is a quick preview of my favorite options that can be bought. For more information on each, please keep reading below.
- Farm Fox Ocean Forest Organic Potting Soil
- Espoma Organic African Violet Premium Potting Mix
- Black Gold African Violet Potting Soil
- Dr. Earth Acid Lovers Planting Mix
What to look for in a good potting soil for blueberries?
Before I mention a few of my favorite potting mixes on the market, let’s talk about what are the right soil conditions for blueberries.
One of the most important requirements for growing blueberries in your home garden is to have acidic soil. Blueberries grow best when the soil pH is between 4.5 and 5.5. For most of us unfortunately this is below the average pH of our garden soils, so it’s necessary to amend them slightly to make soils more acidic.
Care must be taken though to make sure you don’t drop the pH of your soil too low, as this will cause possible aluminum and manganese toxicity while also making calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium less available to the plants. If you live in an arid region where your garden soil is alkaline it may be easier to grow dwarf blueberry bushes in containers instead of trying to lower the soil pH to the proper levels and then maintaining it.
Growing blueberry bushes in containers is not difficult to do, nor does it require different management practices than growing blueberries in the ground. There are a couple of considerations to keep in mind to help make the endeavor more successful and the potting soil you use is important.
When growing blueberry bushes in pots it’s a good idea to start with a good-quality potting mix.
Potting soil acts as a reservoir for moisture and nutrients around the roots of the plants, it provides “empty” space for air around the roots to allow them to breathe, and it supports the plants by anchoring the roots. If you start by filling your pots with a poor-quality potting mix, it’s not going to hold moisture and nutrients, and it won’t have the right structure to anchor the roots while letting them get enough oxygen.
Potting soils are quite easy to make yourself, but many people prefer to the convenience of buying something premade. If you are going to buy one then make sure to look for a commercial product that is light and airy in texture, consisting of peat moss, pine bark, and perlite or vermiculite.
The peat moss and pine bark will provide moisture and nutrient retention with good air space for the root system. Over time they will both break down to add nutrients to the soil. Peat moss is especially good for acid-loving plants as it lowers the soil pH. Pine bark is what helps to anchor the plants in the soil.
Perlite and vermiculite are both volcanic and nature and extremely light; they help to keep a potting mix from getting too heavy and dense and adding extra air space. The perlite doesn’t add any nutritional value, but the vermiculite will help to hold nutrients in the root zone for plant uptake.
For the most part, all commercial grade potting soils are good quality and can be used for a variety of plants. With blueberries and their preference for more acidic soils, it makes it necessary to look for a potting soil that is more acidic than the standard mixes if you are going to try growing them in containers. The following products would be great options, but over time will need to be replaced or acidified slightly as the pH will slowly climb.
This 12-quart bag contains everything plants need for strong, optimum growth: earthworm casings, bat guano, composted forest humus, sandy loam, sphagnum peat moss, and pacific northwest sea going fish and crab meal. Farm Fox Ocean Forest Organic Potting Soil is a great all-natural product, providing a lightweight and well-aerated potted medium for container plants. It is also pH adjusted at 6.3 to 6.8 to allow for optimum fertilizer uptake.
Specially formulated for African violets and other houseplants, Espoma Organic African Violet Premium Potting Mix makes a great potting medium for blueberry bushes. It contains a rich blend of all-natural ingredients – premium sphagnum peat moss, peat humus, and perlite – with no synthetic plant foods or chemicals.
The light, airy texture of this organic mix improves aeration and moisture retention in the root zone around plants while promoting root growth at the same time. Potting soils specially formulated for African violets have an adjusted, more acidic pH and work well for other acid-loving plants.
The next to add to our list of the best potting soil for blueberries is what is called Black Gold African Violet Potting Soil. This is one of four specialty mixes offered by Black Gold, their African Violet Potting Soil is formulated with a blend of Canadian sphagnum moss, compost, pumice, earthworm casings, and screened forest humus.
The peat moss helps to increase the acidity, making it better suited for African violets, azaleas, rhododendrons, and blueberries.
Formulated to maintain a soil pH of 5.5, Dr. Earth Acid Lovers Planting Mix is designed specifically with plants such as blueberries in mind. It is rich in valley grown alfalfa meal, wild-caught fish bone meal, cold water kelp meal, peat moss, fir bark, elemental sulfur, and other organic nutrients; the planting mix also includes patented TruBiotic beneficial soil microbes plus both ecto and endo mycorrhizae. Lastly, Acid Lovers Planting Mix contains no GMO’s, no chicken manure, and no biosolids to taint the cleanliness or safety of the brand.
Growing blueberries in your garden is a fairly easy endeavor to tackle as long as you have the right soil conditions. They are acid-loving and do best when the soil pH is 4.5 to 5.5. If you have soil that is more neutral or alkaline, you will need to amend the soil to acidify it or plant your blueberries in containers using the special potting mixes listed above.
What have you found to be the best potting soil for blueberries? Share with us your thoughts in the section below.