Growing these tantalizing little fruits is much easier than you might expect. You can learn how to grow blueberries hydroponically even if you're new to this non-traditional style of growing - these fruits are just as easy to grow as your favorite vegetables.
Are you ready to learn everything you need to know about growing blueberries hydroponically? Let’s dive in.
Can I Grow Blueberries Hydroponically?
Many people do not think of growing perennial fruit-bearing plants like blueberries when they think of hydroponic gardening.
However, the humble blueberry is actually the perfect choice for such an environment. That’s because blueberries do best in acidic conditions.
When you're growing blueberries in soil outdoors, it can be hard to get the acidity just right.
You can also cultivate your plants densely and have better fruit production since you’ll have more control of the growing conditions.
What Are The Benefits Of Growing Blueberries Hydroponically?
Any fruit can be grown hydroponically, but blueberries offer some of the greatest benefits to gardeners.
They require much less water wastage than if you were growing them outside. There is also less labor involved in tilling, cultivating, watering, and other practices that are largely nonexistent in a hydroponic system.
Let’s not forget the potential for higher yields, either. Hydroponic gardening eliminates many of the common blueberry problems you will face when growing outdoors.
For example, no need to stress about birds scavenging your tasty fruits and diseases wreaking havoc on your bushes. You’ll have total control of all the conditions.
How Long Does It Take To Grow Blueberries Hydroponically?
Normally, blueberries will require a long growing season of around 140 days.
Although this can be reduced in a hydroponic environment, you will want to give yourself a buffer around that time before you start expecting a harvest.
Once your blueberry plants are established, though, they can keep going indefinitely, as long as you care for them. That’s because they are perennial plants.
How To Grow Blueberries Hydroponically - Step By Step Guide
If you are ready to learn how to grow hydroponic blueberries, we hope you will find this step-by-step guide helpful in getting started.
What Hydroponic System Is Best For Blueberries?
Although there are many different kinds of hydroponic systems you can use, regardless of your experience level, there are some that are better suited for growing blueberries than others.
Two of the best are ebb and flow and NFT or nutrient film technique systems.
Hydroponic Ebb & Flow Systems
Ebb and flow systems are often the preferred style of growing when it comes to growing hydroponic blueberries.
These systems are ideal for larger blueberry plants but can be customized to work with smaller varieties of plants as well.
At Hydrobuilder, we offer everything you need to get started with growing hydroponic blueberries in an ebb and flow system.
From systems designed for just one or two plants to those that can accommodate several dozen, there’s something here for every kind of grower.
Hydroponic NFT Systems
Nutrient film technique, or NFT, is another hydroponic growing technique that works well for plants like blueberries.
In this system, a shallow stream of water containing dissolved nutrients is circulated past plants’ roots in channels.
NFT offers many benefits, including affordability and energy efficiency. It saves water and makes it easy to grow plants vertically, if that's something you have in mind.
You can find all of the NFT equipment you need by shopping in this category at Hydrobuilder. We offer the best prices and plenty of systems to choose from.
How To Start Hydroponic Blueberries - Seeds vs Clones
You can start hydroponic blueberries in a variety of ways. However, it’s usually not recommended that you start from seed.
That’s because it will take quite a long time to produce mature plants - often more time than it’s worth. Instead, you should grow your blueberry plants from started transplants.
You can find all the gear you need to start seeds or transplant older plants here at Hydrobuilder.
How Much Light Do Hydroponic Blueberries Need?
In general, the best lighting system for blueberries will be a HID fixture. This will provide your plants with the intense light they need - and it will be the closest to natural sunlight.
Fluorescent lights will also work, but you may find that the lower intensity of fluorescent lighting isn’t enough to encourage your blueberry plants to set reliable amounts of fruit.
LED lights are just as intense as HIDs, but they're far more efficient, produce less heat, and are just all-around better. The only downside is the increased investment required to bring these into your grow room.
Regardless of the option you choose, your blueberry plants will need around 12-16 hours of light per day.
They’ll need a few hours of darkness in each cycle to help them acclimate as they would outdoors. Keep temperatures warm. Around 72-76 degrees Fahrenheit is best. Keep the humidity at 65-75%.
Tips & Tricks For Growing Hydroponic Blueberries
Getting your hydroponic system setup, grabbing your lighting fixture, and starting your crop is the toughest part of growing blueberries hydroponically.
From there, it's more or less smooth sailing! However, there are some things you need to know about bringing these to harvest successfully.
Fertilizing Your Hydroponically Grown Blueberries
When it comes to nutrients for blueberries, these plants are a bit unique. They require a low pH - usually around 4.5 to 5.8.
You can use a balanced fertilizer designed for acid-loving hydroponic plants in your system. However, you may find that you need to add additional sulfur to your blueberry plants. It can be tough to do this, as sulfur is not water-soluble.
You’ll know your plants are deficient in this nutrient (as well as others) if it has yellow plant veins and leaves.
It may also suffer from stunted growth. Some people add Epsom salts to the system to supply this sulfur, but this can really muck up your system.
An easier way to provide sulfur in a more natural way is to simply companion plant garlic alongside your blueberries - garlic accumulates sulfur and will release some of it in the solution, which can then be used by your blueberry plants.
Swap out your nutrient solution once every few weeks and also take the time to clean the reservoir so that it does not become clogged.
Pruning Your Hydroponic Blueberry Garden
It is also a good idea to prune your hydroponic blueberries, just as you would outdoors.
Not only will this allow you to control excessive growth, which will enable the plant to spend its energy on creating and ripening fruits rather than producing foliage, but it will also help you prevent and repair damages to the plant.
Regular pruning allows for higher planting densities and can improve the health and vigor of your plants.
To prune (something you should do at least once per year), remove any wood that is dead, discolored, or growing low on the plant.
You can remove about a third of the plant when you do this. And now for the exciting part - harvesting your hydroponic blueberries!
Harvesting Your Blueberries
Berries should be left to fully ripen on the plant before you pluck them. They’ll be soft and easy to penetrate with your fingernails, so be careful as you are removing them from the plant.
As long as you stagger your grow cycles with your blueberry plants, it is more than reasonable to expect to be able to harvest blueberries year-round.
Final Thoughts On How To Grow Hydroponic Blueberries
Now that you know everything there is to know about how to grow hydroponic blueberries, it’s time to take the next step.
You can find all the equipment you need for growing blueberries hydroponically at Hydrobuilder.
From ebb and flow systems to nutrients, pruning shears to insecticides, we have everything you need for a productive gardening season in our extensive hydroponics collection.