So you have just planted blueberry plants in your garden and cannot wait to witness as they turn into fruit-laden bushes. While waiting might sound like the worst thing ever to most gardeners, it’s not.
Guarding the plants against pests or diseases, pruning them, feeding them, watering them, and tending to them until they bear ripe fruits demands an unmatched level of persistence and patience.
Nonetheless, you are not wrong to wonder and try to learn how to tell if a blueberry is ripe.
Needless to say, the answer to that question isn’t so straightforward because the length that your blueberries will take to ripen from the day the plants were planted will vary depending on the level of care you award your plants, the climate in the region you live, and the variety of blueberries you’re growing.
Keep on reading for everything you need to know on how to tell if a blueberry is ripe.
How Long Do Blueberry Bushes Take To Start Producing?
If you’ve ever planted blueberries before, you know one will need to wait several years before their blueberry bushes can produce any viable crops. Usually, the brushes take approximately 2 or 3 years to mature and start giving their first significant crops.
That said, note that blueberry bushes do still bloom after their first growing seasons. However, seasoned gardeners also know that they’re required to prune all these flowers and let the plants focus their energies on establishing robust root systems before they can start bearing fruits.
After your blueberry plant has a sufficiently strong root system and top growth, you can let its blooms flower in the 2nd or 3rd year.
How Long Do Blueberries Take To Ripen?
Buds on blueberry plants will usually start appearing in summers but do not open up and become flowers until the following spring. These flowers will then begin yielding fruit berries anywhere from early summer and early fall.
From here, note that the period it takes your berries to ripen will depend on the amount of chilling hours the cultivar you’ve grown requires. Some blueberry varieties will bear fruits that maintain their green shade longer than other cultivars before they’re ready to pick or have sufficiently ripened.
With that in mind, pick the blueberry variety you think is best suited for climatic conditions in your region because if you do not provide your blueberry bush the chilling period it needs, the berries’ development will be significantly affected, which will, in turn, delay the ripening stage even further.
For instance, if the region you live in has warm weather conditions, low-chill blueberries like Southern Highbush and the Rabbiteye variety are more suitable as they need a less chilling period to start ripening. They’re both suited for USDA zones seven to nine.
What Months Do Blueberries Tend to Ripen?
Once your Blueberry bush is fully mature, the month that it will ripen will mainly depend on the climate the plants are growing in as well as, again, the variety of blueberries you grew.
Some early season cultivars are ready to harvest by late June, while most mid-season cultivars tend to make farmers wait until July before picking.
If you are growing a late-season blueberry variety, you’ll have to wait until August for them to sufficiently ripen for harvest.
The region you’re growing your blueberry bushes can also significantly affect the time of the year your blueberries ripen. For instance, early-season blueberry fruits can ripen as early as May in South County.
How To Tell If A Blueberry Is Ripe?
To enjoy the best flavor and only pick your blueberries when they are ready, it is essential to learn precisely how to tell if a blueberry is ripe and ready to harvest.
As a general rule of thumb, after your bushes’ blueberries turn entirely blue, they are fully ripe. Better yet, after they have turned blue, their acid levels will keep falling, which implies you should expect your berries to keep getting sweeter and sweeter over the next 4 to 8 days after they’ve turned blue in color.
Once your blueberries turn greyish blue, however, you’ll need to pick them right away and avoid delaying them any further. At this stage, you’ll also notice that they’ve started falling off their bushes easily, so leaving them any further could cause them to start going bad.
My Blueberries Are Not Ripening
Have you done everything right but are still worried that something could be wrong with your blueberry plants as they’re not ripening? There are several issues you can look into and ascertain what’s wrong.
First, the most common issue behind blueberries not ripening is that you may have planted the wrong variety for your region. Probably the blueberry variety you planted isn’t getting the sufficient chilling hours it needs to fully develop and ripen its berries.
If that’s the case, you have no other choice but to get rid of your current blueberry plant and start all over again with varieties that can thrive in your climate.
If the variety you’ve grown and the environment aren’t the reasons behind the delayed ripening of your blueberry bushes, you’ll need to check the amount of sunlight exposure your plants are getting. If your blueberries get too little sunlight exposure, one of the effects might be a slow down in the ripening process of the berries.
Another issue worth inspecting is low levels of soil acidity. If the soil where you’ve planted your blueberries is not sufficiently acidic, the blueberries’ ripening and the bushes’ development may significantly suffer. So, test the soil’s PH and ensure it’s between 4 and 4.5. These are the levels required for optimal blueberry production.
>> Related Post: 5 Of the Best Mulch for Blueberries
So, how do I tell if a blueberry is ripe? Well, as a general rule of thumb, your blueberries will be ready for picking between early June and early August. Also, only completely blue blueberries are ready for harvesting.
That said, the exact period it’ll take your blueberries will vary from one case to another. Factors that cause the changes in these periods include climatic differences in different regions and the fact that multiple varieties of blueberries exist worldwide.