Monday, June 20, 2011

Propagating Blueberries through Cuttings - My First Attempt

Last week I acquired three blueberry bushes in a secret deal from my local big blue box store. OK it really wasn't a secret since they were offering them for half off to anyone. But what they don't know is that those three blueberries bushes I bought for $15.00 (Total) might become 50 one day, that is if I can get the plants to root from the cuttings I made over the weekend.  There are two big advantages to taking greenwood cuttings of blueberries. First, and most obvious, you might be able to make a few extra blueberry bushes. Second, each new cut will spur new growth and since blueberries flower and produce fruit on the previous season's growth it should encourage a higher yield.


Here's how I made my blueberry bush cuttings:

  1. I took 4-6 inch greenwood stem tip cuttings from two of the same variety of blueberry bushes. I made my cuts just above a node on the plant. After that I cut back the remaining stem so that a node was left at the bottom of the cutting.
  2. I removed all but the top two leaves from the blueberry cuttings. More leaves means more water loss. I probably could have left another pair of leaves on the cutting which is in fact what my favorite plant propagation book says to do.
  3. While I was getting the rooting hormone prepared in a clean baby food jar I placed the cuttings in a jar with water so they would remain hydrated. I always put my rooting hormone in a separate container just in case any cuttings may be contaminated with a disease. I don't want to put any pathogens into the original jar of rooting hormone.
  4. I dabbed the cuttings in the jar of rooting hormone and covered the base of the stems as much as possible with rooting hormone. Having the cuttings moist to begin with helps significantly!
  5. Then I stuck the cutting into a previously prepared container with a mix of sand and peat. 
  6. My last step was to put the cuttings into my plant propagating box

Now I have to wait to see when the plants will root. I'm estimating about 6-8 weeks but that could vary greatly. Since blueberries need a pollinator for cross pollination I'll be attempting a few cuttings from my other variety soon. Maybe one of these days I'll have my backyard orchard ready to grow!

8 comments :

  1. Excellent Dave! Never thought about taking cuttings from blueberry bushes..hmmm We have been picking berries and freezing them until we have enough to cook/bake with.

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  2. Great post - I am interested to follow your progress on this since my husband has done something similar with Raspberry bushes.

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  3. Love those Blueberries. Big box store had them on sale. Should have gotten some. The one I have is food for the birds they are so small.

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  4. I planted 3 new blueberry bushes in the spring. This is a great idea.

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  5. You should have good luck rooting these - and hopefully have blueberries for years to come!

    I have propagated blueberries like boxwood before - in a sandy soil medium with cuttings - no rooting hormone. I've also had luck simply putting cuttings in a pot of peat and setting in a cool shady part of the garden - by fall I have a few small plants.

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  6. Taking cuttings is a wonderful idea. I just made my first attempt to grow full size blueberries. (I have 3 dwarfs that do well). The teo newcomers will remain in pots this year and then next year we plan to put them in the ground. We pruned off the flowers so they will produce foliage. Hoping for berries in a year or so.

    Yael

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  7. When, what do you use and how do you fertilize your blueber
    ries?

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  8. It won't work. Blueberry cuttings, need constant humdity; not so much in the 'soil' as much as in the environment they are in. The air humidity around the cuttings has to be high. Or they just die. how to do that? Greenhouse with a sort of device that will create 'mist'; If you haven't got both of them, be creative and get yourself a large container, the ype of large container that would hold mineral water(a large bottle of Mineral Water/clear plastic, so that light can get in. Not direct light; indirect light at this stage ). cut it into 2 halves; make holes at the bottom ( to drain water/ use a very hot 'thick nail' to make holes in the plastic), place some small stones (pebbles) at the bottom, fill it up with vermiculate,place the cuttings there ( the way the guy here said/rooting hormone, etc), and then with the other half of that container(cap), close it. You have a greenhouse, the air is going to get moist, that's the way your cuttings will survive.Drainage has to be good though. If you don't use this sort of system... your cuttings won't survive, or if they survive, 70-80% of them will die. If you keep the air around the cuttings with high humidity (80-90%), it is going to work. Of course that everynow and then you will 'lift the cap', to let in fresh air, and 'spray' some water at the cuttings; and re-cap again. Your success rate will increase dramatically with this method.
    Do not fertilize your cuttings at this stage. When they have roots on, they should go to individual bags/pots. The soil has to be acidic. So, good deal of organic material,etc.and if possible the 'new roots' could do with a type of mychorizza used to infect the roots of small blueberries plantas (they occur naturaly in some places in the USA).When they infect their roots, they create 'long arms' that actually work like extra roots for blueberries plants, increasing their capacity to absorb nutrients and water from the soil. Resulting healthier and stronger plants.They do not occur where I'm from. Brazil, so I had to import it. If you want to fertilize your plants, use organic materials. They are very sensitive to industrial fertilizers. To the point they could die.Good luck.

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