It is really possible on the balcony or in the garden. Of course, you should not expect a huge harvest from one bush, but such an alternative to the usual flowers looks nice and unusual – enough arguments to try?
General recommendations for growing berries in containers
Lighting: All fruiting crops, whether they grow in a bed or in a container, fructify better in light. Provide the plant with at least 6-8 hours of sunshine daily.
Watering: Berry bushes need more water in containers than in the open ground. If the pot is made of clay, the soil in it will dry out faster than in plastic or ceramic containers due to the breathability of the material. Therefore, it is advisable to check the moisture of the soil daily, especially in hot or windy weather – on such days, watering may be required twice.
Container: A drainage hole is a must, otherwise excess water will be trapped and the roots will rot. Terracotta and ceramic pots do not tolerate winter frosts and soon begin to crack – if you plan to use them year-round outside, be prepared for a short life span.
How to grow raspberries in a container
Some raspberry varieties overgrow. Choose miniature and thornless ones.
Planting: The minimum size of the container for growing raspberries is 60-90 cm in diameter and height. The ideal size is a tub – there is enough space for several years to come. Plant 3-6 cuttings depending on the size of the container.
Land and fertilizer: The shrub prefers loose slightly acidic soil rich in organics. Potassium, nitrogen and phosphorus fertilizers are the most important in the care of the plant. They are usually applied three times a year – in May, in June (before fruiting) and in late summer or early fall, when the buds are laid for the next year.
Pruning: Raspberries are perennials that start to bear fruit when they are two years old. You may manage to pick a few berries in the first year, but this harvest can only be called a rehearsal before fruiting. The new shoots will produce berries, and the dry branches that have not sprouted should be pruned to the root.
Winter maintenance: In regions with harsh winters, it is better to send the container with raspberries to rest in an unheated garage or cellar, occasionally watering it a little so that it does not die. As soon as the threat of frosts passes, the plant can be taken out to a sunny place.
If you decide not to take the bush indoors for the winter, insulate it with mulch.
How to grow blueberries in a container
Blueberries are ideal for growing in a pot, because it is very easy to achieve optimal conditions for the plant. For the bush, you can choose a container from 50 to 60 cm in diameter and height.
Planting: Choose soil with a higher acidity – as for rhododendrons, azaleas or camellias. A pH balance of 4.5-5.5 is desirable.
Earth and fertiliser: Fertiliser is also suitable for plants which prefer acidic soils. Apply it in early and late spring to encourage shoot growth and fruit development and don’t fertilize again until the following year; instead, you can sprinkle an occasional sprinkling of spiked coffee on the ground around the plants.
Pruning: In early spring, prune any dry shoots. No pruning is needed during the season, except to shape the crown.
Most varieties of blueberry bear fruit from cross-pollination with plants growing nearby. Self-pollinated varieties also exist, but they still produce a more abundant crop in the company of their own species.
Winter storage: In regions with harsh winters, keep the blueberry container in a cool unheated room such as a garage or basement and water it only occasionally so that it doesn’t dry out. You can return the plant to fresh air when night temperatures stop dropping below freezing. If you are not planning to take the pot indoors for the winter, insulate it.
How to grow strawberries in a container
The small root system of strawberries does not create problems in a pot culture. You will need a container from 45 cm wide and from 20 cm deep. Although you will probably like the idea of hanging planters or one large container with many pockets on the sides and an open top, a tub-type container that is wider than the height will allow more plants to be planted.
Planting: The recommended distance between strawberry bushes in a container is 25 cm, but it does not hurt to additionally check the instructions on the seed package: some varieties allow denser planting. The earth should cover the root system, but the rosette itself should not be deepened – this is fraught with rotting.
Earth: Use a loose, nutritious soil mixture and avoid heavy clay soil, which is prone to caking.
If you plant 6-10 strawberry bushes for each member of the family, you will have fresh berries for breakfast throughout the season.
Remontant varieties have a long fruiting period and are optimal for growing in a container. Varieties with double fruiting during the growing season will also be suitable for this purpose. But it is better to refuse from June strawberries – usually berries appear on them only the next year.
Winter storage: Water gently until late autumn and, as the weather gets colder, bring the plants indoors and moisten the soil periodically to keep the bushes from drying out. In spring, when the night frosts have passed, you can put the container with the strawberries back in a sunny place.