Blueberries with Brown Spots

Very Hardy

A few weeks ago I went and bought two blueberry plants, for the second time I might add. The first two I bought spring last year. They came with a label saying “Very hardy”. Unfortunately that didn’t meant surviving a winter in the Ardennes as they both died. I had my heart set on blueberries so I went to another garden centre and got two news ones. Blueberries are rather expensive so this time I was adamant I  should have healthy, thriving plants.

I decided to grow them in a pot to give them the right soil. As you may know, blueberries need a more acidic growing medium and grow rather well in pots and containers. You can have a single blueberry plant but the yield of berries is greater when you have two.

The plants I bought were a bit larger than the last ones and were already flowering. Lovely little white bells that look like they just stepped out of a fairytale. Proud as a peacock I placed the pots in the garden with the plan to place them inside the polytunnel over winter.

Brown Spots

Then disaster struck, I went to check on the plants and saw little brown spots on the leaves. I quickly sent photos to Bridget to see if she had any idea what these spots might be. We emailed each other several times and decided that we needed the opinion of an expert.

Bacterial Leaf Spot on Blueberries Bacterial Leaf Spot on Blueberries

Garden Party

Now, Bridget is a great fan of and regular listener to BBC Radio Norfolk’s The Garden Party. Each week she sends in a gardening related question which is answered by a team of experts.  Thordis Fridriksson (also known as @thunderfairy) hosts the show, while Alan Gray( is a regular stalwart of the programme, with years of gardening experience.  She often jokes that maybe one day they might invite her to join them as a token novice gardener!

Anyway, back to the blueberries. Bridget emailed my photos to The Garden Party and they came back with a verdict: Bacterial Leaf Spot. This bacterial disease can be brought on by damp and cool weather, some varieties being more resistant to it than others. The Garden Party’s solution for this problem? To water only with rainwater and feed the plants with the proper feed for blueberries. Further research on the web revealed I need to place the plants in a sunny spot, water at the base of the plant and cut away diseased leaves. Luckily this disease does not seem to be too serious as berries and new growth are already forming on the plants so thankfully it looks like I shall be eating homegrown blueberries this summer!


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