En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

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 Shrubs Questions

Native trees or shrubs for containers on roof in Wisconsin
March 17, 2010 - Looking for native trees/shrubs to be planted in containers on a flat roof w/south-southeast exposure. Gets pretty warm in the summer and pretty cold in the winter. How big would the container have to...
view the full question and answer

Identification of lantanas safe for use in Florida
February 10, 2008 - Why do you list lantana camara as a native to the U.S. and as a native plant in Florida? It is a category one invasive exotic on the Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council's list of invasive exotics. La...
view the full question and answer

Wilting stems on beautyberry in Georgetown, TX
August 16, 2009 - Last summer I discovered that a 4-year old beautyberry had one (of many) stems that died. Leaves on this single stem wilted and dried up. This year the same happened to two or three stems. The rest of...
view the full question and answer

Hot Sunny Planter Suggestions for Florida
March 05, 2013 - We have a large, raised, concrete planter (about 15' L x 2' W) separating us from our condo neighbor in Clearwater, FL. We would like suggestions for shrubs that tolerate full sun and hot conditions...
view the full question and answer

When does Ziziphus obtusifolia leaf and flower in Austin?
March 22, 2010 - Hello Mr. S.P., Do you know when the Texas buckthorn, Ziziphus obtusifolia (I believe), flowers (and leafs out) in Austin? Is there one at the Wildflower Center?
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