Blueberry plants (Vaccinium spp.) can be grown in most parts of the United States, and depending on the variety, they can thrive in USDA zones 3 through 10 if they have suitable care. Along with ensuring that blueberry bushes have access to the correct amount of light and water, choosing the right soil is essential.
With so many types of soil available, it can be difficult for gardeners to narrow down the options. To help make the search easier, we selected the following soil recommendations for blueberry gardeners based on their quality formulas, versatility, and value. Keep reading to learn about several key features to consider when shopping, and then explore the picks for some of the best soil on today’s market for gardeners attempting to grow blueberries.
- BEST OVERALL: Coast of Maine Organic Acid-Loving Planting Soil
- RUNNER-UP: Espoma Organic African Violet Premium Potting Mix
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Miracle-Gro Performance Organics All Purpose Mix
- BEST ACIDIC SOIL: Dr. Earth Organic and Natural Acid Lovers Planting Mix
- BEST ACIDIFIER: Jobe’s Organics Soil Acidifier
- BEST FOR RAISED BEDS: FoxFarm Ocean Forest Potting Soil
How We Chose the Best Soil for Blueberries
Years of experience covering home and garden products as well as extensive product research went into creating this guide. We explored more than 20 soil options and weighed a number of practical considerations before making our recommendations. All of the products on the list had to meet blueberry gardeners’ needs for drainage, acidity, and value.
- Drainage: Blueberries require a well-draining loamy soil that also remains slightly moist, so we prioritized products with these attributes.
- Acidity: The most important factor for a blueberry soil is its acidity level, so we gave priority to soil blends that promise high acidity. That being said, there are limited options on the market for high-acidity organic soil that’s ready for blueberries without adjustment, so we also included high-quality all-purpose formulas that will likely require an additional soil acidifier.
- Value: Since plant soil varies widely in quantity, we calculated the overall value based on the amount per cost for each of our recommendations.
Our Top Picks
Knowing more about blueberry bush care and the plant’s soil requirements can help narrow the vast soil choices available in garden centers and online. After extensive research, we’ve gathered the following as some of the best options when planting blueberries in a garden.
This large 20-quart bag of planting soil from Coast of Maine is an excellent and affordable option for blueberry growers. It’s crafted for plants that require acidic soil to thrive, including rhododendrons, azaleas, ferns, hollies, hydrangeas, strawberries, and blueberries. This is a versatile formula that’s just as suitable for container gardening as it is for inground planting.
The mixture includes natural ingredients like compost, tree bark, and peat moss, which serve to both lower the soil’s pH level and contribute macronutrients and micronutrients.
- Bag size: 20 quarts
- Key ingredients: Composted manure, aged bark, sphagnum peat moss
- Target pH level: 5.0
- This mixture is suitable for both inground or container planting
- It’s specially formulated for acid-loving plants, so it will help blueberry plants thrive
- With a quantity of 20 quarts, this product offers excellent value
- Does not require an acidifier to reach ideal pH for blueberries
- The bag is not resealable, so storing extra soil may be somewhat messy
- Large quantity of soil may not be ideal for small container gardens
Get the Coast of Maine soil for blueberries at Amazon.
While African violets and blueberry plants may seem to have little in common, they actually share very similar soil requirements. Even though few soil mixes on the market are formulated specifically for blueberries, there are plenty made for African violets that thrive in a soil pH of 6.0 to 7.0. This potting mixture from Espoma is best for use in containers and raised beds and includes perlite, which helps create a perfect balance of aeration and moisture retention.
The formula contains between 35 and 45 percent sphagnum peat moss and includes limestone, which contributes to elevating soil acidity and is ideal for both blueberry plants and African violets.
- Bag size: 4 quarts
- Key ingredients: Sphagnum peat moss, humus, perlite, limestone, yucca extract
- Target pH level: N/A
- Due to the inclusion of peat moss and perlite, it’s ideal for moisture retention and aeration
- This product is specifically formulated for container gardening
- It includes pH adjusters, which are necessary for acid-loving plants like blueberries
- A soil acidifier will likely be needed to make the soil acidic enough for blueberries to thrive
Get the Espoma soil for blueberries at Amazon.
Not all gardeners are seeking to purchase soil that’s exclusively for blueberry plants, and many prefer a more versatile option that can work for a variety of outdoor plant varieties. This inground soil mixture from Miracle-Gro is designed for flowers, herbs, and vegetables, and is also suitable for blueberries. While it’s sold as an inground soil, it can also be used in raised beds or container planters, furthering its versatility.
The major downside is that, unlike all of the other recommendations on our list, this mixture is not specifically formulated for acid-loving plants, so a pH modifier will be necessary in order for blueberries to thrive.
- Bag size: 6 quarts
- Key ingredients: Aged compost, yucca, sphagnum peat moss, coconut coir, perlite
- Target pH level: 5.5 to 6.5
- This product is available in smaller quantities for those planting in small containers
- The soil is designed to drain efficiently to prevent root rot and other disorders
- The potting mix includes added nutrients to feed plants for up to 3 months
- An additional soil acidifier will be needed to attain the correct pH level for blueberries
Get the Miracle-Gro soil for blueberries at Amazon.
Dr. Earth’s Organic and Natural Acid Lovers planting mix is crafted to create perfect soil conditions for plants that require acidic soil. According to the manufacturer, it’s ideal for blueberries, evergreens, hydrangeas, hollies, gardenias, ferns, tropical plants, and shade plants. This soil mixture is formulated to maintain a pH of 5.5, which is at the top of the ideal pH range for blueberries.
The formula is completely natural, organic, and genetically modified organism (GMO)-free, and Dr. Earth is committed to sustainable resource management practices.
- Bag size: 8 quarts or 1.5 cubic feet
- Key ingredients: Redwood sawdust, composted green waste, alfalfa meal, fish bone meal, kelp, peat moss, fir bark, dolomite lime
- Target pH level: 5.5
- Specifically formulated for acid-loving plants like blueberries and does not need an acidifier to reach ideal pH
- Certified organic and GMO-free; registered to be compliant as organic input material by the California
- Fertilizing Materials Law and Regulations
- The resealable bag ensures that the product is easy to store when it’s not being used
- While reviews for this product are positive, fewer reviews exist than those for comparable picks
- It carries a Proposition 65 warning, which indicates potential exposure to cancer-causing chemicals
Get the Dr. Earth soil for blueberries at Dr. Earth.
This soil acidifier from Jobe’s Organics stands out from the other products on our list because it’s not a potting soil. It’s a specialty product that’s formulated to lower a soil’s pH level, boosting soil acidity and making it ideal for acid-loving plants like blueberries and hydrangeas. Sulfur is the key ingredient when it comes to altering the soil’s pH, and this mixture has a guaranteed 30 percent sulfur formula.
It comes in an easy-pour bag and should be applied when initially planting seedlings and reapplied two to three times per year. Since only a couple of tablespoons are needed each time, the 6-pound bag can last a long time.
- Bag size: 6 pounds
- Key ingredients: Sulphur
- Target pH level: N/A
- With 30 percent sulfur, this product does an excellent job of lowering the soil’s pH level
- Since only a small quantity is needed for each application, this product offers excellent value
- The easy-pour bag is resealable, lending to neat and tidy storage
- This product isn’t widely available and may be tricky to find in store
- Is not designed for use without another soil product
Get the Jobe’s Organics soil for blueberries at Amazon.
This organic potting soil includes ingredients for pH adjustment, nutrition, and drainage. It’s designed for optimal aeration, which makes it ideal for blueberries that need well-draining soil since they need to be watered frequently.
The formula is natural and organic, containing nutritious ingredients like bat guano, earthworm castings, and crab meal. Its pH is adjusted to between 6.3 to 6.8, which is an ideal range for nutrient absorption but isn’t quite acidic enough for blueberries, meaning additional pH modifiers will likely be necessary. It comes in a 12-quart, 1.5-cubic-foot, 3-cubic-foot, 27-cubic-foot, or 55-cubic-foot bag and is ideal for both indoor and outdoor container plants.
- Bag size: 12 quarts
- Key ingredients: Earthworm castings, bat guano, seagoing fish, crab meal
- Target pH level: 6.3 to 6.8
- The mixture includes ingredients for optimal aeration, providing well-draining soil
- The mix includes a wide variety of nutrient-rich ingredients
- Comes in a range of sizes from a 12-quart bag to a 55-cubic-foot bag, offering excellent value
- This product is pH adjusted at 6.3 to 6.8, so a soil acidifier will be necessary
Get the FoxFarm soil for blueberries at Amazon (12 quarts) or The Home Depot (40 pounds).
Or, DIY Your Own Soil for Blueberries
While there are plenty of commercially produced brands of soil on the market, it’s also possible to create a homemade potting mix that’s ideal for blueberry bushes.
First, start with ingredients that will help ensure the right pH balance for blueberries. A base of peat moss or coir is ideal for creating acidic soil. Compost or aged manure will also help add extra nutrients and minerals that blueberry plants need to thrive.
Next, mix in some perlite to improve aeration and drainage. Perlite is especially important if users live in an area with heavy clay soil because it will make the compost more light and fluffy so that roots can develop freely and easily absorb water.
Last, use a soil meter to test the pH of the soil to ensure that it’s within the optimal range for blueberries.
We recommend Coast of Maine soil for blueberries as our top pick for its organic formulation, pH-lowering formula, and added natural nutrients. There are other popular potting soil options, including Miracle-Gro Potting Mix and FoxFarm Strawberry Fields Potting Soil. However, they do not meet our sustainability guidelines and are not recommended in our top picks due to their potentially harmful ingredients and negative impact on the environment.
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Soil for Blueberries
While it’s easy to assume that all plant soils offer similar performance, a number of factors affect their functionality and appropriateness for different plants. Keep reading to learn about several of the most important features to consider when choosing the best soil for blueberry bushes.
Drainage and Moisture
Blueberry bushes have shallow root systems, so they need to be watered frequently to prevent the soil from becoming dry. Because of this, they need well-draining loamy soil that also retains moisture well.
Consider adding a layer of mulch to the soil to aid in moisture retention. If inadequate drainage or moisture is causing blueberry plants to fail, consider moving them to a raised bed or container where the soil is more easily controlled. Check on the plants regularly, and water them if the top inch of soil is dry to the touch.
One of the most important factors when choosing soil for blueberries is the pH level. Blueberries do best in acidic soil with a pH of between 4.5 and 5.5. Before planting blueberry bushes, check the soil’s pH level to determine if it needs to be raised or lowered. Gardeners can add sulfur to the soil in order to increase acidity. Blueberries have shallow roots, so only the top 6 to 12 inches need to be prepared.
Since the soil in the United States isn’t naturally acidic, soil that includes a pH modifier may be necessary. Choose a soil blend that includes peat moss or sphagnum moss because they both work to increase a soil’s acidity level. Coconut coir is an ingredient that acts as an eco-friendly alternative since moss-harvesting practices are not considered to be sustainable. While choosing the right soil blend for acid-loving plants is key, it will still usually be necessary to add a soil modifier in order to reach the ideal pH level for blueberries.
Blueberries typically do best if their soil contains organic matter that provides both macronutrients and micronutrients. Some great options include oak leaves and fir or pine bark, all of which acidify the soil while providing essential nutrients.
While some soil blends include organic matter that helps with fertilization, gardeners can also supplement with a dedicated fertilizer. Blueberry plants should be fertilized during their blooming season, and fertilizing stops in late summer in order to discourage further blooms before winter comes. For optimal results, choose a fertilizer with a balanced nitrogen-phosphorus-potassium (NPK) ratio of 10-10-10 or similar.
While you now know more about choosing the best plant soil for blueberry plants, you might still want more information about how to grow blueberries, how to care for a blueberry bush, and how to use the soil. Here are some answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about blueberry plant soil.
Q. How do I prepare the soil for blueberries?
Before planting blueberries, test your soil’s pH level using a home test kit. Ensure the soil has an acidity level of between 4.5 and 4.8 by adding sulfur as needed. It’s best to continue to test the soil throughout the year to ensure it remains within the ideal range.
Q. What is the best soil acidifier to use for blueberries?
Most soil in the United States is not ideal for blueberries, so a high-quality soil acidifier containing sulfur like Jobe’s Organics Soil Acidifier can help. It’s also important to test the soil’s pH after using a soil acidifier to make sure it’s at the optimal acidic level for blueberries.
Q. What is the best mulch for blueberries?
Pine needles, wood chips, or bark mulch are the best mulch options for blueberry plants due to their low pH.
Q. Where should I plant blueberry bushes?
Plant blueberry bushes in an area that receives full sun, unless you live in a particularly warm climate where they appreciate a little afternoon shade.
Q. What type of blueberry plant is best for my area?
Choose a type of blueberry plant based on your USDA hardiness zone. Lowbush varieties are hardy to Zones 3 to 6, half-height varieties can thrive in Zones 3 to 5, highbush blueberries do well in Zones 4 to 7, and rabbiteye blueberries are best grown in Zones 7 to 10.
Q. How do I protect blueberry plants from birds and other animals?
Since birds and other animals are attracted to blueberries, consider installing bird netting over your plants in order to protect them.
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