Propagating blueberries: growing blueberries from seed & cuttings


With a passion for growing installed at an early age, I have always been happiest outdoors in nature. After training as a professional gardener and horticultural therapist, I currently run horticultural therapy and community kitchen gardens in the UK, helping others access the many physical and mental health benefits of growing vegetables, fruit and plants.

Favourite fruit: apples and pears
Favourite vegetable: asparagus

With their delicious tasting berries, sometimes one blueberry bush is not enough. Learn all about growing blueberries from cuttings and seeds.

Hand holding a blueberry plant
You can save money by propagating your own blueberries [Photo: azem/]

Producing sweetly flavoured berries, it is no wonder blueberries (Vaccinium) are often a favourite of both children and adults alike. However, their prized and nutrient-packed fruits are often so popular that you may need several plants to go around.

Thankfully, you can propagate more blueberry plants from your existing stock either from seed or cuttings, and what is more, it is free.

Growing blueberries from seed

Growing blueberries from seed certainly is possible, but it requires a great deal of patience. This is because not only do blueberry seeds take a long time to germinate, but you will also have to wait several years for the plants to be of fruit-bearing age. For the best chance of germination, you can purchase blueberry seed from a reputable online supplier rather than collecting your own seed. Blueberry seeds are sown in spring or autumn.

To sow blueberry seeds, prefill a seed tray with damp sphagnum peat moss and sow thinly, before covering lightly. Place the seed tray in a covered propagator or cover with cling film and place it on a sunny windowsill at around 16 to 20 °C. Keep the soil moist but not saturated and the blueberry seeds should germinate within 4 to 8 weeks. Once germinated, remove the cover and grow on until the blueberry seedlings are around 5cm tall, at which point you can thin them to avoid overcrowding. When large enough to handle, pot on the seedlings individually and keep them in a warm and sunny spot, yet out of direct sun. Once all risk of frost has passed, you can plant them out the following year after gradually hardening them off. Check out our article on planting blueberries, for all the tips and tricks when it comes to planting.

blueberry fruit with blueberry seeds
You can grow blueberry plants from blueberry seeds [Photo: Aina Cas/]

Instructions: how to grow blueberries from seeds

  • Sow blueberry seeds thinly onto damp peat moss and cover lightly
  • Cover or place in a propagator and keep the soil moist until germination occurs
  • After germination, remove the cover and thin the blueberry seedlings
  • Pot on the blueberry seedlings individually and place them in a warm and sunny spot
  • Plant out the following year once all risk of frost has passed and after hardening off

Tip: blueberries require an acidic and moisture-retentive soil to grow well.

Propagating blueberries from cuttings

Taking blueberry cuttings is by far the easiest and most reliable way of propagating blueberries. However, when to take blueberry cuttings depends on the blueberry variety you grow. For example, if you grow deciduous blueberries, you can propagate them from softwood cuttings taken in late spring or semi-ripe cuttings in June. Whereas evergreen blueberry plants are best grown from only semi-ripe cuttings taken in June or July. To increase the chance of your blueberry cuttings taking, take several cuttings from a healthy, strong parent plant. Furthermore, cuttings taken early in the morning will not have dried out as much as those taken later in the day.

To take blueberry cuttings, use a clean and sharp pair of secateurs and remove a few shoots just above a leaf around 10 to 12cm long. To prevent them from dying out, wrap them loosely in a damp paper towel until you are ready to use them. Fill a pot with a free-draining equal mix of peat moss, perlite and ericaceous compost and remove all but the top 2 to 3 leaves from the shoots. For example, our Plantura Organic Ericaceous Compost can be used for making this cutting mix, as it is suitably acidic as well as low in peat, making it better for the environment.

Small blueberry plants in pots
Once rooted, you can pot on the young blueberry plants individually [Photo: cannpitch/]

Trim the bottom of the cuttings just below a leaf node and dip them in hormone-rooting powder before inserting them into the cuttings mix. Insert the cuttings quite deeply so that the lowest leaves are 1 to 2cm above the soil. Water well and place the pot in a covered propagator at 18 to 21 °C. Or you can cover the pot with a clear plastic bag and place it on a bright windowsill out of any strong sunlight. Keep the soil moist but not wet and remove the cover to air the cuttings every few days. Rooting blueberry cuttings usually takes 4 to 8 weeks, but depending on the conditions can take much longer. To tell if they have rooted, give them a gentle pull.

Once rooted, pot up the blueberry cuttings individually using an ericaceous compost. Grow the young blueberry plants on, keeping the soil moist and overwinter in an unheated greenhouse or cold frame. Come spring, gradually harden off the propagated blueberries and plant out once all risk of frost has passed. Even though propagating blueberries from cuttings is the more reliable method, you will still have to wait around 2 to 3 years before you can start harvesting your blueberries.

Organic Ericaceous Compost, 40L
Organic Ericaceous Compost, 40L
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  • Perfect for acid-loving plants such as hydrangeas, rhododendrons, blueberry bushes, azaleas & more
  • Ensures all-round healthy plants with lush blooms and aromatic berries
  • Peat-reduced & organic soil: CO2-saving composition

Instructions: how to propagate blueberries from cuttings

  • Remove the selected growth early in the morning
  • To prepare the cuttings, remove all but the top few leaves and cut the bottom just above a leaf node
  • Dip the cuttings in rooting powder and insert them into the free-draining soil mix before watering
  • Cover and keep the soil moist until the cuttings have rooted
  • Pot on the blueberry cuttings using an ericaceous compost and keep the soil moist
  • Protect from frosts and plant out the following spring once hardened off

Tip: propagating blueberries is a great way to gain more plants. Nonetheless, if you grow a selection of early, middle and late blueberry varieties, you could be harvesting their sweet berries for weeks on end.

Ripe blueberries on a plant
Propagating blueberries takes patience, but is well worth the wait [Photo: Andrei Dubadzel/]

To encourage a bumper crop, it is important to feed your blueberry plants properly. Learn more about how to fertilise blueberries in our specialist article.