Blueberries are sweet. However, it takes a lot of time for blueberry plants to grow from seedlings to mature fruit-producing bushes.
So if you want to enjoy your own blueberries tomorrow, in a week or in a few months, planting blueberry seedlings today is not going to be of much help.
In this article, I will tell you exactly how long you will have to wait for your blueberry plants to become mature and start producing fruits.
So, how long do blueberries take to grow? From seedling to a blueberry bush capable of producing fruit, expect to wait at least 2 years, and as much as 4. Unlike other fruiting plants, blueberries take some time to reach maturity.
How Long Do Blueberries Take To Grow?
As mentioned above, blueberries take a lot of time to grow from young plants to mature fruit-producing bushes.
The time is normally in the region of years. More specifically, if you plant blueberry seedlings today, you will have to wait for two to three years to start enjoying your own blueberry fruits. This is in contrast to other plants such as tomatoes and peppers that grow quickly and are ready to be consumed within months.
As I have highlighted above, it takes blueberries two to three years to start producing. How soon your blueberries start producing depends on several things.
For example, if you buy and plant blueberry seedlings that are a few weeks old, you will have to wait longer for them to mature and start producing fruits than if you buy and plant blueberry bushes that are a few months or years old.
Climate also affects how long blueberries take to produce. If you are in the U.S. and you live in plant hardiness zones 3 to 8 (as classified by the Federal Department of Agriculture), your blueberries will grow faster and mature faster than if you live in any other zone.
The type of blueberry bush you grow also affects how long you will have to wait to start enjoying your own blueberries. This is because some types mature and produce fruits faster than others.
While it may take frustratingly long for you to start enjoying your own berries, once your bushes are mature, they can continue producing fruits for up to twenty years.
How to Make Blueberries Mature Faster
To make your blueberry plants mature faster and produce many fruits when they mature, you should snip their early flowers. So when two or three flowers appear on them you should pinch them.
Do this for about two months and you will encourage your blueberry bushes to focus on strengthening their roots and their foliage instead of trying to produce early fruits. It is the strengthened and well-developed roots and foliage that will make your bushes mature faster and start producing fruit.
If the berries you plant are early season types, their fruits will be ready for harvesting by June. In contrast, if the berries you plant are late-season types, their fruits will be ready to pick in late July or in August.
Therefore, even after your blueberry bushes mature, you may have to wait longer to pick fruits if they are late-season types. So grow the right type of blueberry bushes if you want them to mature faster.
How to Grow Blueberries in Your Garden for Plump and Juicy Berries
There are four common varieties of blueberries: rabbiteye, hybrid half-high, lowbush, and highbush. You can grow any of these varieties for sweet berries or to improve to make your garden look more attractive. The most frequently grown blueberry variety is the highbush variety. Wherever you live in the West, you can find a highbush blueberry hybrid that will do very well in your area.
Whatever type of blueberry you want to grow, follow the instructions below for success:
Buy 1 or 2-Year-Old Plants
Rather than buying blueberry seeds or seedlings, you should buy 1 or 2-year-old blueberry plants. This is because it takes much longer for seeds or seedlings to mature.
So if you want to enjoy your own blueberries sooner rather than later, you should look for and buy 1 or 2-year-old blueberry plants/ bushes. Make sure you buy your bushes from a reputable nursery to get quality bushes.
Plan to Plant Your Berry Bushes Early
According to experts, the best time to plant young blueberry plants is early in spring. If you do this, when they eventually get established or matured, their fruits will be ready for picking from late May or early June.
In contrast, if you plant your blueberry plants late in the season, their fruits will not be ready for picking early enough when they mature. So you will end up harvesting fewer fruits in the first season.
Find In A Sunny Spot or Sunny Spots For Your Blueberries
Blueberries can live under trees with open canopies. However, they love living in the sun more. This is because they thrive when exposed to direct sunlight.
The best way to expose your blueberry bushes to direct sunlight is to plant them in a patch somewhere in your garden away from trees. Doing so will make sure they receive direct sunlight and will make the bushes protect each other from strong winds. It will also make your blueberries produce quality fruits.
If you do not want to plant your blueberries in a patch, you should plant them along your wall or wooden fence. This is because either structure will protect them from strong winds but will not block the sun from getting to them.
Planting your berries away from trees is important because trees block sunlight and absorb too much water.
Once you find a spot or spots, you should dig holes 15 to 20 inches deep and about the same width. The distance between the bushes should be at least four feet whether you are planting them in a patch or a row.
Mix Organic Matter into the Soil in the Holes
Once you find a good spot to plant your blueberry bushes in a patch or multiple spots to plant them along a wall, you should dig multiple holes around the spot or along the wall as explained in the step above, and then mix organic matter into the soil in the holes.
The organic matter will help the soil to hold water (which your bushes will need) and will provide your bushes with the nutrients they need to grow into strong and productive bushes.
If you can get a loamy or clayey soil, you should mix it into the holes too before setting your berry bushes in the holes and packing them tightly with the soil you dug out.
Water Your Blueberries Regularly
After setting your bushes in the soil, you should water them regularly. Make sure the ground around six inches from their stems never gets dry. Stick a finger into it to ascertain its moisture content every morning before deciding whether or not to add water. If you do this, you will find yourself watering your blueberries three to four times every week.
In addition to watering your blueberries, you should be adding fertilizer to their roots at least every two weeks to give them the nutrients they need to grow further.
Blueberries take a lot of time to grow from young plants to mature fruit-producing bushes. Specifically, they take two to three years depending on their age, their type, and the climate they are in.
How well they are taken care of also affects how long they will take to mature and produce fruits. By following the guidelines provided in the second half of the post, you should be able to start enjoying quality blueberries sooner rather than later.