How to Grow Blueberries in Hawaii

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Blueberries are a rare crop in Hawaii.
Blueberries are a rare crop in Hawaii. (Image: Jupiterimages/Pixland/Getty Images)

While better known for coffee and pineapple crops, Hawaii has a mild climate and rich, fertile soil that lends itself to blueberry growth. However, blueberries are not commonly produced in Hawaii as a commercial crop. In 2007, the University of Hawaii in partnership with the United States Department of Agriculture completed a study assessing the potential for blueberry production in the state. The study showed that blueberries can thrive in Hawaii as long as you pick the right type.

Things You'll Need

  • Ammonium sulfate
  • Mulch

Buy an appropriate berry variety for the state. In experiments conducted by the University of Hawaii, Biloxi, Emerald, Misty, Sharpblue, Sapphire and Jewel cultivars were used because they don't need extra cold temperatures during the dormant season.

Find a suitable location on your property which receives full sunlight and has never been used for any type of crop. Blueberries need a target soil pH level between 4.5 and 5. Hawaii typically has soil pH levels higher than this. Using ammonium sulfate can lower the pH to acceptable levels.

Plant your blueberry bushes, leaving a space of approximately 5 feet between them. Dig a hole large enough to accommodate the bush’s root ball, but not much deeper, as blueberries have shallow root systems. Cover the base of the plant with mulch.

Check the soil moisture level regularly. Blueberry bushes need a minimum of 2 inches of water per week, which may require you to hand-water the plants during the state’s dry season. During the wet season, watering may not be necessary if significant rainfall occurs.

Fertilize the blueberry bushes once per year using 4 oz. of ammonium sulfate per plant. Do this after the plant has been growing for at least two years.

Tips & Warnings

  • Birds present the blueberry plant's main problem as they like to feast on the fruits. This problem is easily avoided by building a frame around the plants and covering it with netting.
  • Check the soil pH each year and adjust it accordingly to ensure optimal growth.

References

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