What to plant with blueberries?

Discussion in 'Outdoor Gardening in the Pacific Northwest' started by chester5139, Mar 23, 2013.

  1. chester5139

    chester5139 Member

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    I have five blueberry bushes in a 16ft x 6.5ft planting area of peat moss as the following arrangement:

    ****B*****B****
    **B****B****B**

    Each bush is about 2 to 3 years old with a height of approx 2 ft. In late falls and winters when the leaves are all gone, the entire planting area looks very lonely. Can you suggest any plants/herbs I can grow with my blueberries? How many and where in the above diagram I should plant?

    P.S. I am in Vancouver BC. This planting area has some partial shades but it gets approximately 5 hours of direct sunlight per day.

    Thank you.
     
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2013
  2. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Rhododendrons.
     
  3. chester5139

    chester5139 Member

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    Thanks, Rob. Do you suggest me to plant five shrubs of Rhododendrons? in the same intervals with my blueberry bushs?
     
  4. woodschmoe

    woodschmoe Active Member 10 Years

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    Honeyberries. Not as good taste-wise as the blueberries, but likes to grow where blueberries grow, looks nice growing amongst/beneath them with wider-leafed, blue green foliage, and keeps the edible theme going. Choose lower growing varieties so they don't exceed the height of the blueberries. Plant seven, based on your diagram, three in the back and four in the front to each side and between the blueberries. Only drawback is these are deciduous as well, so might look just as lonely in the winter.
     
  5. WesternWilson

    WesternWilson Active Member 10 Years

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    Catmint would be nice, covering the knobby knees of your blueberries and providing a lovely nosh for honeybees! Catmint is tough, pretty (a haze of purple/blue flowers on aromatic gray green foliage), and establishes easily. Just shear it back hard in the fall.
     
  6. chester5139

    chester5139 Member

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    Does catmint, like all other mint herbs, have vigorous root? Will it take over or affect blueberry's root system?

     
  7. WesternWilson

    WesternWilson Active Member 10 Years

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    Catmint is not from the mint (Mentha) family, it is a Nepeta, and much more civilized than the mints are. In my gardens I have found they like to grow as a lovely, round mound that expands ever outward, is kept neat and tidy easily by a good shearing early in the season and another when you put it to bed. It does not run willy nilly all over, but stays where put. That said, the clumps are easy to divide, are very forgiving, and the plants thrive almost anywhere. Their soft green, deliciously aromatic foliage contrasts nicely with the furze of lilac blue flowers, and Catmint makes a good mixer in the border, or a good edging plant. It is often used as a companion plant to roses, and should not give the blueberries any grief.
     
  8. Eric La Fountaine

    Eric La Fountaine Contributor Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    To clarify, both Nepeta (catmint or catnip) and Mentha (mint) are in the mint family, Lamiaceae, but yes they are different genera with different traits.

    I would think you need something small and evergreen. Something that won't compete with the fruit shrubs that will provide winter interest. Maybe something like kinnikinnick or small ferns?
     
  9. WesternWilson

    WesternWilson Active Member 10 Years

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    I stand corrected! But rest assured, Catmint does not invade in the way classic mints do.
     
  10. chester5139

    chester5139 Member

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    Hi Eric,

    Yes, thank you. I need something evergreen or flowering in winter. I prefer some small shrubs but few ground covering would be fine. I mulch a lot.

     
  11. Eric La Fountaine

    Eric La Fountaine Contributor Forums Moderator 10 Years

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  12. vitog

    vitog Rising Contributor 10 Years

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    A plant that I've been growing for a short time among my blueberries is the Lingonberry, Vaccinium vitis-idaea. It's evergreen, has flowers in the spring (though fairly inconspicuous), and produces edible red fruit. It's also a low-growing, slowly spreading shrub that won't compete with the blueberries. Propagation by tip layering is easy; so you only need to buy one plant.
     
  13. Lysichiton

    Lysichiton Active Member

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    Strawberries. A mix of an everbearing variety that is good locally & wild strawberries. I had this combination for several years under blueberries, applying mulch fairly thickly, & it worked well. Not saying I got a large crop of strawberries, but they didn't mind the acid conitions.

    I now have the 2 kinds of strawberries in the less organized parts of our perennial beds & they are fun (Grandchildredn love them) & help as a groundcover. I have to pick the wild strawberries when I go past, just like the grandkids..can't resist!
     
  14. chester5139

    chester5139 Member

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  15. Work in progress

    Work in progress New Member

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    Curious to know what you planted and how it worked? i am about to plant 5 blueberry bushes so they are quite small and looking for some groundcover to help compete with weeds and make the area a bit more attractive. I've seen huckleberry suggested but not sure if there are low growing varieties?
     
  16. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Keep in mind that you will have to be able to access the blueberry bushes for harvesting and maintenance. Including things like covering each bush individually with bird netting, something you are liable to find yourself doing some day, if you haven't been having your crops disappear down the gullets of songbirds already.
     
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2019
  17. Georgia Strait

    Georgia Strait Generous Contributor

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    For thé Spring color and cheer ... you could put in some naturalizing crocuses and or mini daffodils like tête à tête around your blueberry shrubs — in little groups of odd numbers so it looks natural (not all lined up in a row !)

    I like sweet woodruff too ... however it dies back in winter and greens up in the spring too

    Deer fern is small and sturdy
     
  18. Joan L NW

    Joan L NW Member

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    Have you considered a low-growing evergreen like wintercreeper or short varieties of azalea? I have an azalea about 2 m from my blueberries and they do fine, and I believe that wintercreeper is related to Euonymus, which I have growing happily between my emerald cedars. I also have crocus, hyacinth, daffodils, tulips, asiatic lilies and gladiolus around my blueberries. Each of these blooms at a different time, so I've got different colors every few weeks from February through September. I also have Rose of Sharon Hibiscus a couple of meters north of my blueberries, with a hydrangea growing underneath. I add about an inch of mulch each fall, and use the purple-top Miracle Gro shake & feed every March and September. It sounds crowded but I like the effect and so do my neighbors.
     
    Work in progress likes this.
  19. Joan L NW

    Joan L NW Member

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    By the way, I agree that catmint, aka Walker's Low, is well behaved. I have a clump growing under my pear tree and it requires very little maintenance. I put a peony ring around it each April to deprive the slugs of a hiding place, and shear off the top growth when it dies back in November. I do water the pear tree twice a week in the summer so it benefits from that and from the compost that I dump around the pear tree each spring. Other than that, I ignore it and it keeps coming back every year.
     

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