Blueberry plants (Vaccinium spp.) can be grown in most parts of the United States, and depending on the variety, they can thrive in USDA hardiness Zones 3 through 10. Along with ensuring that blueberry bushes have access to the correct amount of light and water, it’s also essential to choose the right soil.
With so many types of soil available, it can be difficult for shoppers to narrow down the options. To help make the search easier, the following recommendations for the best soil for blueberry gardeners were selected for their quality formulas, versatility, and value. Keep reading to learn about some key features to consider when shopping, and then explore the picks for some of the best soil for blueberries on today’s market.
- BEST OVERALL: Dr. Earth Organic Acid Lovers Fertilizer
- RUNNER UP: Espoma Organic African Violet Potting Mix
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Coast of Maine Organic Acid Loving Planting Soil
- BEST ALL-PURPOSE: Miracle-Gro Performance Organics Potting Soil Mix
- BEST FOR RAISED BEDS: FoxFarm Ocean Forest Potting Soil Mix
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 your blueberry bush.
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 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 4.8. Before you plant blueberry bushes on your property, 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.
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 NPK ratio of 10-10-10 or similar.
Our Top Picks
Knowing more about blueberry bush care and the plant’s soil requirements can help narrow the vast soil choices available. To make the search even easier, the following are some of the best blueberry soil options for a garden.
Dr. Earth’s Organic & Natural Acid Lovers Fertilizer 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 and shade plants.” This soil mixture is formulated to maintain a pH of 5.5, which isn’t quite acidic enough for blueberries but comes closer than most other premixed formulas on the market.
The formula is completely natural, organic, and GMO-free, and Dr. Earth is committed to sustainable resource management practices. There are two bag sizes available: 8 quarts and 1.5 cubic feet.
- Bag Size: 4 pounds
- Key Ingredients: Alfalfa meal, fish bone meal, kelp, peat moss, fir bark, elemental sulfur
- Resealable: Yes
- Specifically formulated for acid-loving plants
- Organic and GMO-free
- Affordable price
- Resealable bag
Get the Dr. Earth fertilizer at Amazon, The Home Depot, and Walmart.
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. 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
- Resealable: No
- Ideal for moisture retention and aeration
- Formulated for containers
- Includes pH adjusters
Get the Espoma potting mix on Amazon and at Walmart.
This large 20-quart bag of planting soil from Coast of Maine is an excellent option at an affordable price. It’s crafted for plants that require acidic soil to thrive, including rhododendrons, azaleas, ferns, hollies, hydrangeas, and blueberries. This is a versatile formula that’s just as suitable for container gardening as it is for in-ground 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. One downside is that this product has limited availability online, though it is available through several major retailers.
- Bag Size: 20 quarts
- Key Ingredients: Compost, bark, peat moss
- Resealable: No
- Suitable for in-ground or container planting
- Formulated for acid-loving plants
- Affordable price
- Somewhat limited availability
- Not resealable
Get the Coast of Maine soil on Amazon and at Walmart.
Not all gardeners are seeking to purchase soil that’s exclusively for blueberry plants, and many would prefer a more versatile option that can work for a variety of outdoor plant varieties. This in-ground soil mixture from Miracle-Gro is designed for flowers, herbs, and vegetables but is also suitable for blueberries. While it’s sold as an in-ground 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
- Resealable: No
- All-purpose formula
- Made with organic ingredients
- Suitable for in-ground and raised bed gardening
- Requires additional pH adjusters
Get the Miracle-Gro soil at Amazon, The Home Depot, and Walmart.
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. It’s 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 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
- Resealable: No
- Formulated for container gardens
- Made with organic ingredients
- pH adjusted
- Not resealable
- Not ideal for in-ground planting
Get the FoxFarm soil mix on Amazon and at Walmart.
After reviewing many different soils for blueberry plants, we recommend the Dr. Earth Organic Acid Lovers Fertilizer for its well-draining formula, relatively affordable price, and pH balancing ingredients. Those on a budget may appreciate the Coast of Maine Organic Acid Loving Planting Soil, which offers similar performance in a bigger bag.
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 soils on the list had to meet blueberry gardeners’ needs for drainage, acidity, and value.
Blueberries require a well-draining soil that also remains slightly moist, so we prioritized products with these attributes. The most important factor for a blueberry soil is its acidity level, so we only featured soil blends that promise high acidity, with one exception. Additionally, since plant soil varies widely in quantity, we calculated the overall value for the cost for each of our recommendations.
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 sulphur like Espoma 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.