Blueberry & Gooseberry Planting & Growing Guide

Stock up on jam jars and pie tins! Blueberries and Gooseberries are so yummy, you’ll want to gobble them up in every form possible. With no need for trellising, these compact shrubs are easy to grow and the fruits so delicious you won’t mind waiting until the second or third year for their delicious berries.

The plants are hardy to Zone 5 (Blueberries) or Zone 3 (Gooseberries) so harsh winters are no barrier to a bountiful harvest. Read on to learn how to plant, grow, and care for Blueberries and Gooseberries with our comprehensive guide.

  • Planting Depth
    Varies, see specific products. Generally plant crowns 1-2 inches below soil line
  • Planting Proximity
    5-6 ft.
  • Planting Season
  • Plant Benefits
    Nutritious fruit!
  • Water Quantity
  • Bloom Season
    Harvest in Summer
  • Sunlight Quantity
    Full Sun to Partial Sun
  • Hardiness Zones
    Variety specifc; Generally Zones 4-8.

Where to Plant Blueberries/Gooseberries

Blueberries and Gooseberries will do well in locations with full sun to partial shade and excellent drainage. In areas with heavy clay soil, it’s best to plant in a raised bed or container. They’re most productive in acidic soil, so they benefit from the addition of lots of organic matter or a commercial soil-acidifying product.

When to Plant Blueberries/Gooseberries

Plant in early spring after the last frost. In warmer regions where frosts are uncommon, plants will do well going in the ground in the fall.

How to Plant Blueberries/Gooseberries

  • Find a location with full sun or partial shade with well-draining soil. If you notice that water still puddles 5 to 6 hours after a hard rain, it's best to find a different spot or plant in a container or raised bed.
  • Ensure the soil is acidic by adding compost or a commercial soil acidifier to the soil and working it in to a depth of 8–12”.
  • Plant your Blueberry with the crown no more than 1” below the surface of the soil. Plant your Gooseberry bare-root plants about 2-3" below the surface of the soil. Pat the soil firmly around the roots.
  • Water thoroughly after planting to settle the soil around the roots.

How to Grow Blueberries/Gooseberries

  • Water deeply every week; 1” of water is a good estimate. Avoid letting water pool around the plants, which can lead to rot.
  • Add a light mulch of compost to the surrounding soil to improve drainage and keep competing weeds at bay.
  • Apply a granular fertilizer in the early spring before new growth emerges.

Blueberry/Gooseberry Tips & Tricks

  • Plant more than one bush, spacing them 3–5’ apart, to increase productivity.
  • Harvest the berries once they ripen and become fully colored. Gooseberries that aren’t completely ripe can be cooked to sweeten them. Keep harvesting each day as the berries will deteriorate quickly or become food for the birds if left on the vine.
  • Prune in winter or early spring before new growth appears, removing dead wood and shaping the bush into an open vase structure.
  • Improve the pH level of the soil and make your plants more productive by adding a soil acidifier or mulching with pine needles.
  • Be patient! Your bushes may not produce a lot of fruit the first couple of years, but harvests will get heavier and heavier after that.

If you're looking for other helpful berry planting guides, check out the Blackberry & Raspberry Planting Guide or the Goji Berry & Hasksap Berry Planting Guide.