How to Germinate Blueberry Seeds
Blueberry seeds require many of the same types of environmental conditions as other plants to germinate successfully. Having just the right temperature and water levels can make or break a successful germination, or sprouting of seeds prior to planting. Blueberry seeds are particularly picky about the conditions needed for germination. Because they are very small, for example, blueberry seeds need ample amounts of light.
Place the planter box on a table or other flat surface.
Line the bottom of the planter evenly with about 1 inch of finely ground sphagnum moss. Spray the moss with a spray bottle filled with water until the moss is moist, but not soaking wet.
Sprinkle the blueberry seeds evenly on top of the moss. Spread the seeds with your fingers so there are about 10 seeds per square inch.
Cover the seeds with a very fine layer of moss, just until the seeds are covered. It’s important to give the seeds access to light to spark the germination process.
Spray the top of the moss with the water bottle until moist. Place the container in a room where the temperature is regulated at between 60 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit. It is not important to place the container in direct sunlight at this point, but it should receive at least partial sunlight.
Check to make sure the moss is moist every day, and spray with the water bottle to keep the moss moist.
Place the planter in direct sun once the seeds begin to sprout, which takes about one month on average. Continue to keep the moss moist until the sprouts are about 3 inches tall. Once the seeds reach that height, it is safe to plant them in soil.
- Colorado State University Extension: How Does a Blueberry Seed Know When to Germinate?
- University of Main Cooperative Extension: Growing Blueberries From Seed
- Don’t oversaturate the planter.
- Most seeds, including blueberry seeds, require a period of four to 12 weeks of cold storage prior to germination.
- Blueberries will grow in U.S. Department of Agriculture zones 3 through 10, but they do require at least 100 chill hours during the winter to set fruit — most require much more. If you live in a warmer USDA zone, make sure that the variety you select is suitable for your conditions.
- Do not allow germinating seeds to be exposed to temperatures lower than 60 degrees, or the plants may die.
Heath Roberts has worked as a professional reporter for several Colorado newspapers. He has covered breaking news and features for the “Denver Post” and other local publications. Roberts holds Bachelor of Arts degrees in both journalism and political science.
How to Germinate Blueberry Seeds. Blueberry seeds require many of the same types of environmental conditions as other plants to germinate successfully. Having just the right temperature and water levels can make or break a successful germination, or sprouting of seeds prior to planting. Blueberry seeds are …
Blueberry Seed Planting: Tips For Growing Blueberry Seed
Blueberries are heralded as a super food — extremely nutritious, but also high in flavanoids which have been shown to reduce the damaging effects of oxidation and inflammation, allowing the body to fight off disease. Most home growers purchase cuttings, but did you know that blueberry seed planting will result in a plant as well?
How to Grow Blueberries from Seeds
First, is a blueberry a seed? No, the seeds are inside the fruit, and it takes a little work to separate them from the pulp. You can use fruit from an existing bush or from those purchased at the grocers, but the results may be poor or non-existent. Blueberries do not self pollinate, which means they are rather unpredictable and their offspring do not duplicate the parent. It is better to purchase viable blueberry seeds for planting from a nursery, but if you would like to experiment, here is how to prepare blueberry seeds for planting.
To prepare blueberry seeds for planting, the fruit will need to be macerated. This can be done in a food processor, blender or mashed in a bowl. Add a little water to the berries as you do this. Once the fruit is mashed, remove the floating pulp. Seeds will sink to the bottom. You may need to add water several times to remove the pulp completely.
Once you have gathered the blueberry bush seeds, they must be scarified. Place them in some damp paper towels and put them in the freezer for 90 days. Cold stratification will break the seeds’ rest period so they are ready for planting.
Blueberry Seed Planting
Once the 90 days have elapsed, the seeds can be used immediately or kept in the freezer until you are ready to plant them. Blueberry seed planting should commence in the fall in warm climates and in the spring in more northerly climes.
Plant the seed in dampened sphagnum peat moss in seed trays and cover them with ¼ inch (6 ml.) of soil. Keep the medium consistently moist. Be patient; blueberry seed planting may take six to eight weeks to germinate, some not for three months. The hybrid high bush seeds germinate more unreliable than their wild low bush relatives.
Keep the seeds in a warm, sunny area (60-70 degrees F/15-21 C). If lacking in sunlight, suspend a fluorescent light about 14 inches (36 cm.) above the seedlings. The resulting seedling from the growing blueberry seeds will look like grass with a few tiny leaves atop. During the first year of blueberry seed planting, the seedlings may get no taller than 5-6 inches (13-15 cm.) in height.
Once the blueberry bush seed plants are big enough to transplant, move them into pots in a sunny, warm area and keep moist. The growing blueberry seed plants can be fertilized with a liquid fertilizer after two to three weeks in their pots. The resulting blueberry bush seed plants will bear fruit during year two when the plant is 1-2 feet (30-61 cm.) tall.
It may take several years when growing blueberries from seed before the plant will produce any significant amount of fruit. So, again, be patient, but once established, the plant will keep you supplied with this super food for decades to come.
Most home growers purchase cuttings, but did you know that blueberry seed planting will result in a plant as well? It?s true, though it will take longer to produce. Read this article for tips on growing blueberry plants from seed.