Can blueberries be successfully grown in Iowa?
Blueberries can be successfully grown in Iowa. However, they do have special growing requirements.
Blueberry plants require a sunny location and a well-drained soil high in organic matter. Avoid wet, poorly drained sites. Blueberries are susceptible to root rots in poorly drained soils.
Soil pH is also important. Blueberries require acid soils with a pH of 4.0 to 5.5. Since the pH of most Iowa soils is above this range, the soil pH must be lowered to successfully grow blueberries.
Home gardeners can lower their soil pH by adding sphagnum peat moss to the soil. Sulfur can also be used to acidify the soil. Sulfur should be incorporated into the soil a year before planting as it reacts slowly with the soil. Aluminum sulfate should not be used to acidify the soil as large amounts of this material can be toxic to blueberry plants.
When using sphagnum peat moss to acidify the soil, dig a wide, shallow hole. Set the plant at the same depth it grew in the nursery. Then backfill with a 50:50 mixture of soil and moist peat. (Moisten dry peat before mixing with soil.)