En EspaŅol
Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Mr. Smarty Plants - Planting native blueberry bushes in Tennessee

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
4 ratings

Monday - July 07, 2008

From: Watertown, TN
Region: Southeast
Topic: Edible Plants, Shrubs
Title: Planting native blueberry bushes in Tennessee
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I have long wished to have wild blueberry bushes at my home. They are native to mountainous regions of my state, but I don't know whether or not it is reasonable to expect to be able to grow them where I live. I have considered constructing some planters for the project, but know that my soil won't get the job done. How can I acquire or prepare the soil I have to be just right?

ANSWER:

To begin with, you are very wise to choose plants native to your area, where they will be accustomed to the environment, and therefore need less water, fertilizer and maintenance. We found three blueberries that are native to Tennessee: Vaccinium angustifolium (lowbush blueberry) Vaccinium fuscatum (black highbush blueberry), and Vaccinium pallidum (Blue Ridge blueberry). We would suppose that this last would be the most likely to grow wild in Tennessee, but the care and planting of all of them will be pretty similar. Please see this Botany.com website on Vaccinium, which is the genus  name for blueberries. Blueberries seem to naturally grow in wooded areas. Fallen leaves will create a more acidic soil, which this plant needs. If they are planted in a more alkaline soil, such as we have in Texas, they will tend to get chlorosis because the alkalinity of the soil prevents the roots from accessing trace elements that they need from the soil, like iron and manganese. Read the above website thoroughly, as it gives very good instructions on what kind of soil you need to grow the plants you want. If you buy blueberry plants, they will most probably be hybridized, with more than one species as parents. If you want to plant the "real" natives, go to our list of Native Plant Suppliers, put your town and city in the Enter Search Location box and you will get a list of seed companies, nurseries and landscape professionals who work mostly with native plants. It would probably be preferable to purchase the plants than to try to transplant them-first because if they're on private land and you don't have permission, digging up plants is illegal, and second because you have a better chance of survival from potted plants that have been grown for nurseries than from digging up roots and moving them.

Vaccinium angustifolium (lowbush blueberry) - more information and pictures

Vaccinium fuscatum (black highbush blueberry) - more information and pictures

Vaccinium pallidum (Blue Ridge blueberry) - more information and pictures

 

More Edible Plants Questions

Spots on non-native naval orange trees from Stockton CA
October 20, 2012 - I have two mature Navel Orange trees. One tree has developed spotty chlorophyl depleted areas that were not on the oranges when they were smaller. In addition, the oranges on both trees are smaller ,...
view the full question and answer

Edible Plants for North Georgia
January 10, 2010 - We are planning a forest food garden in the hollers of the N GA Mountains. Which edible fruit, nut, berry, herb and creepers would be best for this reddish, clay-like soil? The food garden is in...
view the full question and answer

Landscaping with water garden from Pendleton SC
August 15, 2012 - Searching for native plants in SC. Your results miss some plants listed on your site. I noticed this reading the Mr. Smarty Plants response to "Edible Plants for North GA" We aren't far apart. ...
view the full question and answer

Is Texas Thistle edible from Austin
May 26, 2010 - Is Texas Thistle an edible plant?
view the full question and answer

Leaves of Chile pequin consumed overnight from San Marcus TX
June 23, 2013 - Something ate all the leaves of my Chile petin overnight. There is a ton of frass under the plants but no sign of a critter to be found. These plants have been in the same area for years and this is t...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center