The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Rooting rabbiteye blueberry suckers

Blueberry suckers

One of the benefits of rabbiteye blueberries is that the mature plants send up suckers a few feet away from the main bush.  If you treat these suckers well, you end up with free blueberry bushes!

My father's rabbiteye blueberry patch is four or five years older than mine, so he's been tantalizing me with descriptions of blueberry suckers for years now.  I only noticed the first suckers around my biggest plant this year, though.

"Should I protect the suckers from mowing for a year and then dig them up, or should I dig them up now?" I asked Daddy.  He reported that the suckers don't grow many more roots even if you wait a year, so I opted to dig up what I could find now.  As you can see from the photo above, there definitely were very few feeder roots on these young suckers.

Potted suckers

I stuck each sucker in its own pot, soaked the soil well, and then cut off the tops.  (I took the photo above before I pulled out the clippers.)  I have high hopes that, if I keep the blueberry suckers in partial shade on the porch and water them regularly, we'll have three new blueberry plants to add to our collection this winter.

I'd be curious to hear from others who have planted out rabbiteye blueberry suckers.  Do you have a method for making the suckers develop roots while attached to the mother plant, or do you snip and pot like I did?

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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The one runner I had seemed to grow ok in a pot but eventually died off. How was your luck rooting these? I have a spot for one more blueberry bush and would like to try to root a sucker instead of buying a new one if possible.
Comment by Brian Wed Jan 21 15:00:37 2015
Brian --- I'm ashamed to say that mine got pushed to the back of the porch over the summer, I didn't water them enough, and they perished. But I gave one to Kayla, who very smartly put hers right outside her front door and watered it regularly, and it was looking great by the end of the summer. So, it seems pretty feasible but requires quite frequent watering.
Comment by anna Wed Jan 21 20:25:48 2015

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