Blueberry is one of the most loved fruits in the world. It is also very versatile, being used in desserts, salads, pancakes, and more. So, it is not surprising that you decided to have a blueberry plant at your home. This plant can make for a great addition due to its fruit and because it can stand tough conditions.
However, sometimes you may notice that the leaves of your blueberry plant are turning red, and it could leave you scratching your head and wondering – why are my blueberry leaves turning red?
The leaves turning red can be a normal change under some conditions, while for others, it could mean serious underlying issues that need your immediate attention. We are here to help you figure out what those underlying conditions could be behind those red leaves. Keep reading to find out the answer to your question – why are my blueberry leaves turning red?
Why Are My Blueberry Leaves Turning Red?
Red leaves on a plant are not a good sign. There are several essential nutrients in the green leaves that a plant needs to make its food. Chlorophyll is the most important green pigment that helps plants make food, survive, and grow. It is also responsible for the natural green color of the leaves.
So, when the leaves start turning red, something must be wrong in most cases. There could be several reasons for the blueberry leaves turning red, from nutrient deficiency and certain diseases to changes in temperature and weather. Let’s figure out the answer to “why are my blueberry leaves turning red.”
1. Nutrition deficiencies
If your blueberry leaves turn a color that resembles red to dark maroon in the spring season, this could be a symptom of phosphorous deficiency. The plant requires certain necessary conditions to uptake phosphorous from the soil. The optimum pH of the soil should be acidic, between 4-5. If the pH goes above 5.2, the soil becomes less acidic, which is not the best environment for the blueberry plant to absorb phosphorous.
Also, check the temperature of the soil. A temperature below 60-degree Fahrenheit is not suitable for the plant to absorb phosphorous and other nutrients from the soil. This dark reddish hue comes from the accumulation of anthocyanin, resulting from the older parts of plants.
The solution is to ensure the pH and temperature of the soil are optimal. Keep the soil warm by adding mulch over it. To restore the soil’s acidity, you can add composted manure, coffee grounds, pine bark, or peat moss to your soil. Another way is to dilute 2 tablespoons of lemon juice in a gallon of water. Add this solution to the soil to increase acidity.
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You will be able to notice the signs of magnesium deficiency in plants in their early stages as well. Magnesium deficiency showcases itself in the youngest leaves first and then spreads to the rest of the plant.
You will notice the veins of the blueberry leaves turning red from magnesium deficiency. Magnesium is necessary for the plants to produce chlorophyll, the green pigment required for photosynthesis. If the deficiency persists, the leaves will turn yellow and finally turn crisp red.
Adding Epsom salt is one of the solutions to remedy this situation. These salts contain magnesium sulfate. When added to the soil, they can quickly bring back the green color of the leaves and help the plant grow more foliage.
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Other Nutrient Deficiencies
Besides phosphorous and magnesium, the plant can also suffer from general nutrient deficiencies due to several reasons. The soil could have become depleted of the necessary nutrients. This could be because the soil is old or for some other reason.
Waterlogged soil also makes it difficult for the plants to take up nutrients. If your plant’s soil is constantly moist without a proper drainage system, the excess water in the soil can prevent the roots from taking up all the nutrients. Plants can turn purplish-red as a result of a lack of nutrition.
First, you should ensure that the soil is not overwatered. Make sure there is a proper drainage system. You can also add fertilizer to the soil to revive the nutrients. But be careful as an excess of compost can burn the plants.
2. Exposure to Cold
As the temperature drops and the weather turns towards the winter, you can expect to see your blueberry leaves turning red. This is usually a part of the natural lifecycle. The leaves change color and turn red in the fall, and the foliage may even fall in the winter.
This is nothing to worry about, as new leaves will grow back in the spring season. You will also observe that the new leaves erupting from the plant have a red tinge. They are young, and they will lose this redness to turn lush green as the leaves grow.
The blueberry plant can survive the cold just fine unless the temperature drops too low and becomes extremely cold. In extreme weather, the blueberry leaves may change color sometimes.
3. Fungal Diseases
Fungal diseases can often attack your blueberry plant, leaving them wilted and damaged. One of the common fungal diseases is the Phomopsis twig blight, in which necrotic, brown lesions form on the plant’s twigs. It causes the leaves to wilt, turn brown and red, and even drop.
Powdery Mildew is another fungal disease where you can see white fluff on the plant. The leaves will start turning yellow and eventually become red.
Lime sulfur is effective for Phomopsis twig blight, while foliar fungicides are a great solution for Powdery Mildew. Limit overhead irrigation to control this fungal disease. Remember, most fungi thrive in warm and moist conditions, but some, like Mildew, favor dry places more.
I hope this answers your question, “why are my blueberry leaves turning red.” Blueberry plants are a great addition to your home garden. Several unfavorable environmental conditions can take them down. Not everything can be controlled, but you must still be vigilant in caring for the blueberry plant.
Give it nutritious soil, water correctly, provide optimal temperature, protect it from diseases, and you will see your blueberry thriving with vibrant green leaves very soon.
How do you keep red leaves at bay in your blueberry plants?