We love blueberries! There is a farm just outside of town where we pick a gallon or two of delicious Powder Blue blueberries every year. I have no intention of giving up the tradition, but when my daughter spotted some Pink Lemonade blueberry plants at the local home depot, we had to get them!
Growing Blueberries in Zone 8 – Berry Selection
Although Pink Lemonades are self-pollinating, blueberries do better when cross-pollinated with other varieties. Pink Lemonades are a rabbit-eye variety, so I selected Tifblue and Powder Blue. Tifblue is supposed to be a good pollinator for Pink Lemonade. Powder Blue and Tifblue are supposed to be good for each other.
So now we have four blueberry bushes: 2 Pink Lemonades, 1 Tifblue, 1 Powder Blue
Blueberries like full sun and acidic soil. A pH of 4.3 – 5.5 if recommended, depending on the variety and who you ask. I am aiming for a pH of about 5.0. There aren’t many places in my yard that get full sun. Plus the local blueberry farm closes in early July when the heat gets to be too much. I decided to put my raised garden bed at the back of the yard, under the edge of a tree. It will be out of the way when kids and pets are playing and it will be shielded from the sun during the hottest part of the day. It should get plenty of sun in the morning and evening.
We filled my raised garden bed about halfway with the lovely compost pile that I have been working on for about three years now. Our soil tester said that the compost was fertile but too alkaline for blueberries. So we worked in the soil from last year’s Earthbox crop along with some soil acidifier, perlite, and peat moss and topped with a little Miracle-Gro Shake ‘n Feed fertilizer.
I plan to re-test the soil next weekend and adjust as needed. I went ahead and planted our berries since I don’t think the numbers could be too far off, the weather is beautiful, and I think they will enjoy the upcoming rainy weather.
February 29, 2020: Planting Berries
It is suggested that you plant bushes about 6 feet apart. But my raised garden bed is only 8 feet long. And I know that the farm we go to plants their berries much closer. From center to center, we ended up leaving 32 inches between the Tifblue and Powder Blue, 28 inches between Powder Blue and Pink Lemonade, and 24 inches between the two Pink Lemonades. I assume this means I will have to stay on top of yearly pruning as the plants grow. But it will be nice to go out and grab a hand full of fresh berries as-needed in the summer.
My daughter and I were snacking on a banana while we discussed our planting plans. So we threw a piece of peel next to each plant before adding pine bark mulch, which is supposed to have a good acid-level for blueberries.
March 14, 2021: 1-Year Update
The TifBlue and Powder Blue blueberry blooms were beautiful last year! It was hard to make myself pinch them off. We did leave a few on the Tifblue plant, but the birds picked most of them. Each person at my house ended up with about 5 small, tart berries.
February 2021 brought the biggest Texas Snow Storm I have ever seen! It was beautiful, and we were fortunate to have running water and electricity throughout the whole thing. I turned to our local blueberry farm’s Facebook page in preparation, wondering if I should try to cover our plants or let them enjoy the cold. We ended up spraying each plant with water to make sure it had a protective layer of ice and hoped for the best.
Three weeks later, I can see that all four plants are still very much alive and going to be beautiful this year! (As are my grandmother’s peach trees … I have NEVER seen them bloomed out like this!)
March 12, 2023: 3-Year Update – Pink Lemonade Blueberries are Delicious!
We found a single berry on our Pink Lemonade Blueberries last September. The deliciously sweet flavor was unexpected. I do not think I could just sit and eat these by the handful like I would a normal blueberry, but I look forward to snacking and using them as a sweet, colorful addition to future meals.
I have been disappointed with the overall performance of our berry bushes over the last two years. Our TifBlue has some dead branches after 2 colder than usual winters. I saw some beautiful blooms, but only a few small clusters of berries that the local wildlife quickly picked off.
Home test kits show that the soil is fertile but not quite acidic enough. I contacted our local extension office to have our soil professionally tested. ($12 for the most basic test in my area.)
I did go ahead and add some acidifying fertilizer while I wait for the results. I assume I will need to add more once the results come in.