Plant blueberries in containers ready for a bumper harvest of mouthwatering slatey-purple fruits next summer. Blueberries make fantastic ornamental shrubs as well as adding to the fruit harvest: as well as white blossom in spring and those gorgeous fat berries, the foliage turns vivid red each autumn before it falls.
They do however need very special conditions to grow well. In the wild, blueberries grow in swampy American and Scottish peatlands, in damp, acidic soil, conditions not often found naturally in gardens. So growing in containers is the best way to make sure you give them the growing environment they enjoy.
Choose a compact variety like 'Sunshine Blue' or ‘Top Hat’ and give it a pot at least 45cm in diameter. Line terracotta containers with old plastic compost bags to create the damp conditions blueberries love, but puncture several holes in the bottom as good drainage is essential too. Then plant your blueberry bush into ericaceous (acidic) compost: you’ll find a good selection of ericaceous composts, as well as the blueberry plants themselves, at our garden centre here in Bitton and Warminster. Once you’ve planted your shrub, top with bark chips, water plentifully with rainwater and by next year you'll be enjoying handfuls of rich, sweet berries.