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The Best Blueberries to Grow in Containers

Blueberries are nutritional powerhouses packed with high concentrations of antioxidants that help guard against cancer and heart disease. Just one serving of blueberries serves up almost 25 percent of the recommended daily intake of Vitamin C.

Growing blueberries maximizes small spaces and keeps fresh, nutritious fruit nearby. Even if space is limited, you can still grow blueberries at home. Some blueberry shrubs are the perfect fit for containers on the porch, patio or balcony.

Ought to Pot: The Best Blueberries for Container Gardening

Espoma soil acidifier, Holly-tone, growing blueberries

Photo courtesy of Bushel and Berry™

Bushel and Berry™ Pink Icing – With breathtaking spring and fall foliage and large, sweet berries mid-summer, this gem makes small spaces shine. Plus, these bushes are self-pollinating, so only one bush is needed to produce fruit.

Blueberry Type: Dwarf

Light: Full sun

Size: 3’ H x 4’ W

Zone: 5-10

Chill Hours: 500

Ripening Season: Mid-summer

Taste and Size: Large blueberries with sweet, robust flavor

Yield: Moderate yield

Features:

  • Works well in containers or in landscape
  • Likes acidic soil
  • Beautiful year-round foliage

Espoma soil acidifier, Holly-tone, growing blueberries

Patriot Blueberry – The Patriot puts on a show each season – from striking white blooms in spring to warm, vivid foliage in fall. During summer, you’ll be busy munching on up to 20 pounds of blueberries!

Blueberry Type: Northern Highbush

Light: Full sun

Size: 4-8’ H x 3-5’ W

Zone: 3-7

Chill Hours: 800-1,000

Ripening Season: Early: Mid-End of July

Taste and Size: Large blueberries that taste classically sweet

Yield: High yield, 10-20 pounds of blueberries

Features:

  • Native
  • Cold-hearty
  • Works in the landscape or as a hedge
  • Adapts to various soil types, including heavy or wet soil
Espoma soil acidifier, Holly-tone, growing blueberries, Brazelberries Peach Sorbet

Photo courtesy of Bushel and Berry™

Bushel and Berry™ Peach Sorbet – Full of charm, these compact blueberry plants are four-season showstoppers with stunning leaves ranging from peach to pink to orange to emerald green. Spring’s white, bell-shaped flowers will give way to an abundant summer crop of healthy, sweet blueberries mid-summer.

Blueberry Type: Dwarf

Light: Full sun

Size: 1½’ H x 2’ W

Zone: 5-10

Chill Hours: 300

Ripening Season: Mid-summer

Taste and Size: Medium blueberries with a sweet, tropical essence

Yield: High yield

Features:

  • Works well in containers or in landscape
  • Likes acidic soil
  • Plants keep leaves through winter when the foliage transitions to a rich eggplant purple
Espoma soil acidifier, Holly-tone, growing blueberries

Photo courtesy of Doreen Wynja for Monrovia

Sunshine Blue Blueberry – These berries are even more nutritious than other blueberries because they’re high in Vitamin P. Another fun attribute of the Sunshine Blue is their hot-pink flowers in spring and blazing red leaves in fall!

Blueberry Type: Southern Highbush

Light: Full sun

Size: 3-4’ H x 3-4’ W

Zone: 5-10

Chill Hours: 150

Ripening Season: Mid-season: End of May-End of June

Taste and Size: Medium blueberries that taste opulent and sweet

Yield: Moderate yield, 5-10 pounds of blueberries

Features:

  • Tolerant of higher soil pH
  • Love the California sunshine and heat
  • Semi-evergreen

Northsky Blueberry – Meet the most cold-hardy blueberry out there. The Northsky can withstand temperatures of -45° and can even bear snow on its branches. In spring, the Northsky produces lots of sweet, white blooms that look absolutely darling.

Blueberry Type: Half-high

Light: Full sun

Size: 2-4 H x 2-3 W

Zone: 3-7

Chill Hours: 800+

Ripening Season: Mid-season: Mid-End of July

Taste and Size: Small, firm blueberries that taste fresh, wild and free

Yield: Small yield, up to 2 pounds of blueberries

Features:

  • Extremely cold-hardy
  • Works in the landscape or as a hedge
  • Elegant burgundy fall foliage
Brazelberries jelly bean, Espoma soil acidifier, Holly-tone, growing blueberries

Photo courtesy of Bushel and Berry™

Bushel and Berry™ Jelly Bean – This blueberry is prolific – producing a bumper crop of large, flavorful blueberries mid-summer with a super sweet flavor like homemade blueberry jelly. Brilliant green new foliage emerges in spring which gives way to darker greens with red hues throughout the summer and fall.

Blueberry Type: Dwarf

Light: Full sun

Size: 1’ H x 2’ W

Zone: 4-8

Chill Hours: 1,000+

Ripening Season: Mid-summer

Taste and Size: Medium to large blueberries with homemade jelly flavor

Yield: High yield, bumper crop

Features:

  • Works well in containers or in landscape
  • Likes acidic soil
  • Beautiful year-round foliage
  • Prune annually during winter dormancy

Looking for more options? To learn more about blueberries, the best tasting berries, how to plant, care for and grow, visit our Organic Blueberry Growing Guide.

Smarty Plants: 5 Easy Planting Tips

Raise new plants that grow as big and mighty as Jack’s Beanstalk with these five tips for planting success. Your new plants will look so perfect your neighbors will think you plucked them right from a fairy tale!

Before you even think about picking up your garden trowel, check out these tips.

Bio-tone starter, potting soil, organic fertilizer

Say Yes to Success: 5 Tricks for Planting New Flowers, Veggies and More  

1. Start with the Best. Make sure you have the right light, space and soil for each plant. Then select plants with shiny, blemish-free leaves that you can easily lift out of the container.

2. Royal Soil. Before planting, test the soil and add necessary amendments. If your soil is lacking, your plants will be too. For an extra oomph, add Espoma Organic Vegetable & Flower Garden Soil or compost to the planting hole. And if direct sowing seeds, mix in an organic seed starting potting soil, so seeds can take root easily.

3. Feed Now… and Later. When planting, mix in an organic starter plant food. Adrianna, an Espoma customer, loves Bio-tone Starter Plus. She can even tell “when the roots begin to take up the plant food because they start to grow MUCH faster.” Bio-tone Starter Plus’ secret is mycorrhizae, which promotes bigger blooms and helps plants get established faster.

Bio-tone starter, potting soil, organic fertilizer

4. Stay Strong Seedlings. Before moving indoor seedlings outside, toughen them up. Otherwise, they may not make it. To help seeds adjust, begin hardening them off two weeks before transplanting. How-to instructions here.

5. Don’t Forget to Water. While still in their nursery containers, water your plants. Then water deeply after planting. Water reduces plants’ stress levels and helps them adjust to their happy, new abode.

Get ready, your organic flowers, veggies and plants are about to be bigger and healthier than ever! You grow, gardener!  

Flip, Fill and Feed with Espoma’s NEW Liquid Plant Foods

Organically feeding your favorite plants just got way easier – and faster. Say farewell to messy measuring and that fishy smell of other organic, liquid fertilizers.

And say hello to Espoma’s new line of liquid plant foods. Learn more about our new collection below.

Hello, Healthy! Espoma’s New, Liquid Organic Plant Food

Here are a few reasons our new liquid plant line will become one of your favorite things.

  • Instant Nutrition. Espoma’s new liquid plant foods feed your plants instantly – and organically. With these, you can feed your plants faster than you send a text!
  • Scientifically Magnificent. Our new liquid fertilizers are scientifically proven to grow bigger, better plants with larger blooms. What gives them their mighty power? We’ve loaded them with kelp extracts, humic acids and beneficial microbes.
  • Less Mess. Ready, set, pop! The new Easy Dose cap on our liquid plant foods effortlessly measures each dose of fertilizer! No more messy bottles, measuring mistakes or spills.
  • Flip, Fill and Feed. All you do is pop the lid, hold the bottle upside down and voila! The perfect amount of liquid fertilizer drops into your watering can.
  • Cause for Safe Paws. Our new liquid fertilizers are 100 percent organic and safe to use around children and pets. Safe Paws approved!

espoma organic liquid plant food

Meet the New Liquid Plant Food Trio

Bigger, better plants are only a flip away!

  • Begin with Start! Flip open this starter plant food which helps plants get established fast while growing strong roots.
  • Go with Grow! Add this all-purpose, organic plant fertilizer to promote rapid root growth and encourage green foliage.
  • Boom with Bloom! Call in the super blossom booster which promotes and prolongs flowering while stimulating the growth of more blooms!

Try our new liquid organic plant foods with organic potting soil for super amazing results. Can’t wait to see what big beauties you grow!  

Seed to Succeed! Seed Starting Secrets

Step aside houseplants. Not now indoor herbs. There’s a new indoor winter gardening project in town… indoor seed starting!

Find the Prime Time: When to Start Seeds Indoors

One of the biggest mistakes when starting seeds indoors is starting too soon.

Before starting seeds inside, look up the last spring frost date in your area,  then count back 4-6 weeks. That’s the best time to start seeds indoors.

This handy seed starting chart from Organic Life makes it easy to calculate when to start and transplant your seeds.potting soil, starting seeds indoors, organic seed starting mix, growing tomatoes

To Sow or No? Best Veggie Seeds to Start Indoors in Winter

Not all seeds succeed indoors! Save root crops and cold-hardy seeds for when it’s warm enough to plant directly outside. Or, you can grow two crops of broccoli and lettuce. Start seeds indoors now then sow more outside later.

potting soil, starting seeds indoors, organic seed starting mix, growing tomatoes

Here are the best vegetable and herb seeds to start indoors in winter.

  • Tomatoes
  • Peppers
  • Cucumbers
  • Celery
  • Collard greens
  • Lettuce
  • Kale
  • Broccoli
  • Beans
  • Squash
  • Eggplant
  • Cabbage
  • Basil
  • Thyme
  • Cilantro
  • Oregano
  • Sage
  • Parsley 

Seed to Succeed!

There are three secrets to starting seeds indoors: warmth, light and an organic seed starting mix that promotes root growth.

Start with Espoma’s Organic Seed Starter – a gardener’s favorite! But don’t take it from us. One of our customers, Shelia, shared that she used a lot of seed starter in her day, but “this one is just OUTSTANDING!” Her plants came up just perfect, and she “will never use anything else, ever again.”

Fill seed trays to within ¼” of the top and lightly water. Follow the instructions on the seed packets to see how deep and far apart to plant. Cover with soil, press down and label.

Place tray in a larger pan of shallow water for a minute so thewater seeps up from the bottom.

Place seeds in a warm spot between 65-75°. Try the top of the fridge!potting soil, starting seeds indoors, organic seed starting mix, growing tomatoes

Loosely cover tray with plastic wrap or the cover from your seed-starting kit. Check seeds daily for moisture. Find even more detailed instructions here.

Give seeds 12-16 hours of light daily. Supplement sunlight with grow lights if needed.

Once you see sprouts, remove the cover and move seeds to a sunny, south-facing window that is 65-75°F. Then, turn the container a little each day to prevent leaning seeds.

When leaves grow, add a bit of fertilizer such as Espoma’s Plant-tone or liquid Grow!. Both are organic fertilizers, so they are safe to use on edibles, around children and pets and they help plants grow bigger than ever before.

Once you see that first sprout peeking through the potting soil, homegrown veggies are only weeks away!

A To-Do List You’ll Love: January Gardening

Ah, a whole year of gardening is ahead of us. January is the best time to pause, reflect and prepare for a year of incredible gardening.

OK, tired of reflecting? Here are a few winter gardening tips to keep you busy this January!

Things to Do in the Garden in January:

Ward off those winter blues with a hearty helping of green, gardening thoughts.  potting soil, garden design, winter gardening tips,

  1. Dream Big. Plan or rework your garden design. Pin inspiration, flip through gardening magazines and daydream ways to make your garden even better. Illustrate your garden plan to visualize the entire space.potting soil, garden design, winter gardening tips,
  2. Plan Small. Make a list of organic edible and flower seeds to grow. Get the most of seed starting by growing unique varieties, heirlooms and expensive grocery store plants. See what seeds to start indoors and when to plant them. winter bird feeding, attract birds to garden, garden for pollinators
  3. Listen to the Songbirds. Nothing livens up a dreary, wintry day like a flock of fluttering birds. Fill bird feeders with tasty seeds this winter. potting soil, garden design, winter gardening tips,
  4. Take a Look. Walk around your home and garden with a notebook. Imagine how you could reduce water usage, recycle more, compost or conserve energy. Each week in January, try one idea to see what works! Start by recycling your Christmas tree.

    potting soil, garden design, winter gardening tips,

    Gather your trusty garden tools, and give them a good scrub. Rinse off the dirt, sharpen the blades and rub vegetable oil on the metal.

  5. Clean It Up. Gather your trusty garden tools, and give them a good scrub. Rinse off the dirt, sharpen the blades and rub vegetable oil on the metal. potting soil, garden design, winter gardening tips,
  6. Taste Summer Flavors. Get your green thumb back in the potting soil. Start an indoor herb garden to harvest a garden-fresh taste on the coldest winter days. See what herbs do best indoors here.

Here’s to a home filled with fresh herbs, the sweet song of birds and a stack of gardening magazines. January’s looking quite charming after all!

Deck the Halls with Holiday Houseplants

Hang the stockings by the chimney with care. Decorate the tree with glee. Then spread joy with holiday houseplants.

After all, the halls aren’t decked until the houseplants arrive! Houseplants can stand alone or complement other holiday decor. Plus, their lively blooms, colors and smells are the definition of holiday cheer!

Houseplants make sweet gifts to give — and even sweeter gifts for you to get yourself!

Below is everything you need to know about holiday houseplants.

Holly, Jolly Holiday Houseplants

Start with the perfect holiday houseplant! The rest is easy.

1. Festive Poinsettia. No other houseplant captures the Christmas spirit more than poinsettias.

2. Cheerful Christmas Cactus. Red and green all over, this flowering houseplant is super easy to care for and bursts with sweet, red blooms all season.

houseplant

3. Amazing Amaryllis. Bold, stunning and elegant, amaryllis delight with vibrant red and snowy white blooms.

cat houseplant

4. Nifty Norfolk Island Pine. These petite Christmas trees are simply darling! Plus, they can grow up to 12’ tall if properly cared for!

 

5. Charming Cyclamen. Cyclamen’s heart-shaped red or pink flowers instantly fill spaces with love.

Keep Your Holiday Houseplants Happy

  1. Package It Up. Add your personal touch by potting your houseplant in a container matching your holiday decor. Have fun with it! Tie a bow around it, or paint the pot with chalkboard paint.
  2. Season’s Soil. Add a bit of organic fertilizer, then fill the pot with organic potting soil.
  3. Let It Shine. Read the plant tag to see how much sunlight and water your holiday houseplant needs.
  4. Feast on Food. Enjoy more of those beautiful blooms. Feed with Indoor! every 3-4 weeks during periods of active growth, usually from March through September.

The best way to spread Christmas cheer is by placing a holiday houseplant here and here! Enjoy those blooming beauties all season.

A Plant Today Keeps the Doctor Away

For most of us, the outdoor gardening season is winding down. Yet, we want to keep that green thumb moving!

Channel your gardening energy indoors. A green-filled oasis awaits you! Add a few indoor plants today!

potted-cactus succulent

Top 3 Reasons Why You Can Never Have Enough Houseplants

Plants add a pop of color and a burst of life to spaces. But, they do even more.

  1. Pollution Solution. Indoor plants scrub the air clean by removing toxins, according to NASA research. Houseplants remove 87 percent of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that are in everything from rugs and grocery bags to paint and vinyl.
  2. Find Your Focus. Houseplants increase well-being by 47 percent, increase creativity by 45 percent and increase productivity by 38 percent, according to new research.
  3. Combat Colds. Powerful indoor plants can reduce fatigue, coughs, sore throats and other cold-related illnesses by more than 30 percent, found the University of Agriculture in Norway.

orchid houseplant

Caring for Houseplants is Easy

Houseplants provide us with all those benefits and ask for very little in return. Here’s all they need!

  1. Strong Soil. Organic potting soil packed with nutrients, enriched with Myco-tone® and fortified with worm castings sets houseplants up for success. Whether you’re planting new or repotting old plants, use an organic soil.
  2. Light It Right. Check your plant tag to see how much sun your plant needs.
  3. Wow with Water. Water most houseplants when the top of the soil feels dry. Only water succulents and cacti when the soil is completely dry.
  4. Fuel with Organic Fertilizer. . Fertilize houseplants with an organic fertilizer such as Indoor! during active periods of growth. This is usually during the spring and summer.

Those happy houseplants will make you smile every day! Check out Espoma’s “Houseplant” Pinterest board for more inspiration and ideas!

Host a Haunted Homegrown Halloween Dinner

Round up the whole gang and dress in your best for a spine-chilling, homegrown Halloween meal.

Start by gathering the fruits of your organic fall gardening efforts, or head to your local farmer’s market to see what’s in season.

Boo! Prepare a Spooky and Scrumptious Homegrown Halloween Dinner (Because even goblins and ghouls prefer homegrown on Halloween.)

halloween decor

Scary Snacks. Cook up a few frightful and finger-licking good snacks.

Capture

Frightening Feast. All the best fall flavors featured in fangtastic dishes.

halloween decor

Daring Decor. Use organic and recycled material to create eco-friendly Halloween decor.

And don’t forget to Post a Pumpkin. Whether you carve, paint or bedazzle your pumpkin, there is still time to show it off in our “Pumpkin Decorating Contest.”

Talk about a hoot of a Halloween party! Imagine how much fun your friends and family will find this homegrown Halloween garden dinner!

Celebrate National Indoor Plant Week

Indoor plants are the superheroes of the plant world. They have the power to aid in concentration, increase productivity and even boost well-being.

To honor these green heroes, the third week of September is recognized as National Indoor Plant Week. So let’s celebrate!

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ranks indoor air pollution as one of the top threats to public health. We spend as much as 90 percent of our lives indoors — so it’s time to add some greenery.

Houseplants are surprisingly easy to take care of with these six tips.

1. Bring them indoors. Many people place their houseplants outside in the summer, but when temperatures start to drop below 50º at night, it’s time to bring them in! Check houseplants for pests before moving them. Help houseplants to adjust by bringing them in at night and returning them outdoors during the day. Over the course of two weeks, gradually increase the amount of time plants spend indoors.

houseplant2. New space. Repot houseplants if they’re in need of some additional space. Select a pot that is at least 2” larger than your current container and transfer. Use Espoma’s Organic Potting Mix to fill the rest of the container.

houseplants

3. Pick the right spot. A houseplant lets you know the spot is right by maintaining healthy leaves. If there’s enough light for you to read by, there’s probably enough for a low-light houseplant. Avoid placing plants near heat or air conditioning ducts, on TVs, or between the curtains and a chilly window.

houseplants

4. Give them a drink. If the soil is dry about an inch below the surface, add water. But don’t overwater! It’s the number one cause of houseplant death. Collect excess water in a tray or saucer and never allow plants to sit in water.

houseplant

5. Stay Comfortable. Houseplants are happiest when temperatures are between 70 and 80ºF during the day and 10-15º cooler at night.

potting soil

6. Feed houseplants. Fertilize houseplants with an organic fertilizer such as Indoor! during active periods of growth. This is usually during the spring and summer.

With these tips, your houseplants will be looking their best in no time! Tell us about your favorite houseplant in the comments!

Make a Splash in the Garden for Your Labor Day Bash

Labor Day is about relaxing, having fun and soaking up every last second of summer. And, it’s the perfect time to reflect on all of your summertime garden accomplishments. Need you look any further than your pile of super-ripe tomatoes or your luscious roses

But just because summer is ending doesn’t mean your garden has to! Your garden can look as fabulous as ever for your Labor Day bash or just to head into fall with these late-summer gardening tips.

Tips to Display a Lavish Garden on Labor Day

  1. Aiding the Fading. Walk through the garden and remove any plants that are done for the season. Be sure to compost them!
  2. Love Late-Bloomers. Swap annuals that have stopped blooming or look less than stellar with late-summer blooming flowers. Plant these colorful annuals to end the summer with a bang: celosia, zinnias, salvia, chrysanthemum or pansies. Boost your blooms with organic Flower-tone.
  3. Include Fresh Food. Hosting a Labor Day party? Plan your menu and snacks by seeing what’s ready for harvest in your garden. Guests love hearing that you grew your organic fruits and veggies. Plus, the home grown flavors will blow them away. Here are some of our favorite garden-to-table recipes. Be sure your fall veggies are planted, too.
  4. Pose with a Rose. Pair your homegrown menu with a homegrown tablescape. Cut garden roses. Pop single flowers in unexpected containers and space them along your table. Intersperse with glass ball jars or votives that have a fresh sprig of herbs tied around them.
  5. Plant Permanent. Late summer and early fall are perfect for adding perennials. Plant fall-blooming perennials before your Labor Day party to add a splash of color to your garden. Black-eyed susan, asters, sedum, daylilies, coneflowers and yarrow will wow for years.
  6. A Breath of Fresh Air. The late-summer heat takes a lot out of your favorite plants in the garden. Give them a good watering before the party, so they’ll look their best!

Now, you’re ready to end the summer in style! A table filled with just-plucked edibles, fresh cut roses and friends and family… That’s the essence of summer.