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Steve 309

For her birthday in the spring I bought my aged ma a blueberry bush.  It's about 2 - 3' tall, with about 5 main stems, in a pot (too small for it) of ericaceous compost.  It's  produced a little fruit.   Last week it lost all its leaves and is looking a bit sorry for itself.  Is this likely to be early autumnal leaf fall or is something wrong?  She's been watering it assiduously all summer - possibly too much at times?

Any ideas?  Apart from potting it on, how do I prune it?


Leaf Drop is  always caused by stress of some kind.

Usually by Under/Over watering. My blueberry bush is still in full leaf.

Steve 309

Apparently the leaves started to go brown shortly after that very wet week we had, so I suspect over-watering - not sure the pot is too well drained....but don't they like wet soil??   It's in a very sunny spot.


Drainage issues kill a lot of plants, learned this mistake. I always make sure theres a good size hole at the bottom of the pot, and I only put 1 crock over this hole.

This stops a build up of soil around the hole and means the water can drain away easily.

Steve 309

Yes.  When I repot it I'll do that.


Have a feeling it's UNDER watering Steve.  

I will prune during winter......I tip shoots,remove  weak shoots and dead stuff.  Every winter I try to keep plants compact by spurring side branches.

I did read that you should only water blueberries with rain water e.g. from a but, not from the tap

Steve 309

Yes - Mum knows that.  It's cos (hard) tap water is alkaline and blueberries need acidic conditions.  Could well be underwatering too - or more likely, inconsistent watering.   A much bigger pot will help this too I s'pose.

Bluebs don't like tap water. Get her to try giving them rainwater 

Steve 309

She is.  Do keep up.

Actually since it now has nary a leaf it won't need watering till spring anyway.


My blueberry in a pot had done really well this year, gave 3 kg of fruit, and looks very healthy. I have, dare I say it, watered it with tap water, but have fed it regularly with ericaceous feed. It needs some pruning, so will look at the RHS site. Thanks Buddyboy.

Hope your Mum's blueberry bush gets better, Steve.

Steve 309

Thanks, Buddyboy - I'll try this when I get back there next week, and thanks for the good wishes Snowy.


Agree with Verdun. I think it more likely too dry soil.



I had one shuffle off it's mortal coil in that way Steve.  It was one of about 10 all in the same sized large pots and treated the same.  It turned out to be root rot and caused by a clump of ericaceous compost in the mix which was preventing good drainage (I later discovered this when I tipped-out the pot looking for vine-weevil.)

Steve 309

I'll do that next week and have a good ferret around underneath.  The remaining stems are green (some of them ripening to brown), flexible and look healthy.


Regular pruning is important if only to keep shoots compact and fruit inclined 

Yeah, sorry, I clearly misread your post 

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