How to grow blueberries

Blueberries are nature’s superfoods, packed with antioxidants and filled with flavour. These pretty bushes make a wonderful dwarf hedge or in small gardens, try growing them in pots to enjoy flowers in spring and fresh berries throughout summer.

What you need to know about blueberries

Name: Blueberries, Vaccinium sp. 

Height: typically 1–2m, depending on variety

Foliage: deciduous or evergreen, depending on variety and climate.

Climate: suitable for most climates, including cold temperate, warm temperate, arid/semi-arid and sub-tropical climates. Some varieties are better suited to warmer areas than others, due to lower chill requirements (less cold days required to set fruit).  

Soil: blueberries need good drainage and prefer a soil enriched with compost and decomposed manure. Blueberries need an acidic soil to thrive, preferring a soil pH of around 4–5. 

Position: full sun, protected from strong winds. 

Flowering and fruiting: small, bell-shaped flowers are produced in early and late spring, with fruit following in spring and summer. 

Feeding: apply a slow-release camellia and azalea fertiliser in spring or as directed. 

Watering: potted plants require daily watering, while garden plants need watering every 2–3 days depending on the weather and soil.

Blueberry Plant

Appearance and characteristics of the blueberry and blueberry bush

Blueberries are compact shrubs that grow to 1–2m high. Divided into highbush (Vaccinium corymbosum), lowbush (Vaccinium angustifolium) or rabbiteye (Vaccimium ashei) varieties, each has its own characteristics and preferred growing conditions. 

Highbush blueberries are divided into southern highbush for warmer areas with low chill requirements, and northern highbush, for cool-climate gardens with high chill requirements.

Lowbush varieties are shorter, but are not available in Australia due to climate suitability. 

Rabbitye blueberries are the most tolerant to extremes of temperature and soil moisture. These are ideal in sub-tropical areas, as well as southern gardens.

Uses for the blueberry

Blueberries are primarily grown for their berries, but they also make wonderful garden or hedging plants. Great in pots or garden beds, blueberries are decorative shrubs with spring flowers, summer berries and autumn foliage. They do well planted with camellias and azaleas because they all like soil with a similar pH. 

How to plant and grow blueberries in the garden

The most critical factor to growing blueberries successfully is the soil. Originally from forests littered with pine needles, blueberries prefer a soil enriched with organic matter, decomposed manure and a low pH of around 4–5. Most soils will need an application of sulphur to help lower pH to this range. A pH test kit will accurately tell you the pH of your soil and how much sulphur you need to add to lower the pH to within the correct range.  It is critical to improve soil prior to planting.

How to plant and grow blueberries in pots

If growing in pots, select a premium potting mix designed for azaleas and camellias. This will provide blueberries with the best possible start and the right root conditions.

Caring for your blueberry bush

Blueberries will benefit from an application of sulphate of potash each year in spring to maintain soil pH and the ideal nutrient profile in the soil. Net plants with bird-netting after flowering to prevent birds stealing your entire crop!

Blueberries need a moist but free-draining soil. Raise garden beds if soil is heavy and water every couple of days, especially in dry weather. Always water potted plants daily. 

Mulch with pine needles and spent coffee grounds.

How and when to prune your blueberry bush

Blueberries should be left to grow for at least 3–4 years prior to pruning, to allow the roots time to develop and the plant to establish. When pruning, remove any damaged or frost-affected branches in early spring once frosts have passed

Diseases and pests affecting blueberries

Blueberries are generally pest- and disease free. Aphids can be a problem in some areas—if found, treat with a soap spray or eco-oil

Birds are probably the worst pest, eating your entire harvest in the blink of an eye. Net your plant to prevent birds stealing your crop.

How to propagate your blueberry bush

Growing blueberries from cuttings

  1. Take a tip cutting in spring, dipping the cut end in rooting gel or cutting powder before inserting into moist propagating mix.
  2. Use a pencil to create a hole for the cutting to prevent scraping all the root powder off the cutting at planting.
  3. Water daily.

Propagating blueberries by layering

  1. Push a branch into the soil, while still attached to the parent plant.
  2. Roots will develop from the branch where it touches the soil.
  3. This section can then be removed from the parent plant and potted up or planted separately.

If you like this then try

Strawberries: delicious juicy berries suitable for gardens of all sizes.

Raspberries: produces a bountiful crop of berries in autumn and summer.

Kale: packed with antioxidants, kale is another of nature’s superfoods. 

Start planting today

Check out our huge range of plants now and get your garden growing!

How to build a garden bed 05:37

Planting & Growing How to build a garden bed Transform your outdoor area by learning how to build a garden bed. It’s easy to do, just follow our step-by-step guide.

variety of indoor plants

Planting & Growing Discover 12 plants that are the best for indoors Striking foliage and stunning colour isn’t just reserved for the garden. There’s a wide variety of indoor plants you can use to bring colour and life to your home explains Bunnings Greenlife buyer Katrina Gatt.

Person planting spinach 03:11

Planting & Growing How to grow vegetables Watch our step-by-step guide and find out everything you need to know about how to grow fresh vegetables in your garden.

Person trimming the hedge with battery shears 01:28

Planting & Growing How to trim hedges Hedges are an excellent way to add shape to your garden. Here are a couple of tips to effectively trim and maintain a hedge.

Person putting on protective edging on the raised garden bed 01:38

Planting & Growing How to build a raised garden bed Building a raised garden bed is a simple project you can do yourself. Learn how to build a raised garden bed with this guide from Bunnings Warehouse.

Person adding compost and manure to the soil 02:01

Planting & Growing How to improve sandy soil Good soil is the foundation for any healthy garden. We can show you how to improve sandy soil to retain more nutrients and water.

succulents 02:01

Planting & Growing How to plant and care for succulents Succulents come in a huge range of colours, shapes and sizes, will grow just about anywhere and don’t need much looking after, making them a plant that’s perfect for even the most novice gardener. If you’re new to succulents, here are some tips from...

Person cutting the corrugated edging 03:08

Planting & Growing How to install garden edging Garden edging can help to make your garden beds look neat and tidy. We’ll show you how to install plastic or corrugated garden edging around your garden.


Planting & Growing How to create an allergy-friendly garden If you suffer from hay fever or other allergies, then being out in the garden can, at times, be less than enjoyable. But there are some steps you can take to create an allergy-friendly garden so you can spend more time gardening and less time sneezi...


Planters How to choose the right plant pot Pots are a great way to add colour, interest or texture to your outdoor space. Tuscan Path’s Elaine Foster shares her top tips on how to choose the perfect pot.


Planting & Growing How to plant and care for sunflowers Sunflowers are a great way to add colour to your garden, and they’re easy to grow and care for. Bunnings Greenlife buyer Katie explains the basics of how to grow sunflowers and shares some tips on how to care for them.


Guides & Projects How to upcycle almost any piece of furniture with paint Rather than throwing out old household items, you can restore them with paint. It’s a quick, easy and affordable way to give anything from furniture to fences a new lease on life. Learn how to paint and prepare different surfaces to get the finish y...

DIY balcony and courtyard garden

Planters D.I.Y. balcony and courtyard garden Even if your outdoor space is limited to a balcony or courtyard, it doesn’t mean you have to miss out on having a garden. The team at Tuscan Path, who have been supplying pots to the Australian marketplace for over 40 years, share some ideas on how ...

 kitchen benchtop materials

Benchtops & Cabinets A guide to kitchen benchtop materials The perfect benchtop will add style to any kitchen. It’ll also see the most action, so choosing the right benchtop for your kitchen – and budget – is an important decision explains Bunnings Kitchen Designer Ben Carey.

Top of the content