Poinsettias and Blueberries

Q. I’m looking to plant several Blueberries as I’ve read they grow well in the Bay Area. However, I’ve received some conflicting information about their exposure. I’ve been told that Blueberries do nicely in a sunny location. And another opinion says, they should be in the shade by one or two o’clock in the afternoon. I’ve several areas, where I can plant the bushes. One spot gets sun from about 10:30 a.m. into the evening. In the other location, they would be in the shade by about two p.m. So, where should I plant my Blueberries?

Ans. Depending on where you live, both answers are correct. Along the coast, they grow in full sun all day, while in the San Ramon Valley, they prefer shade in the afternoon, April through October. Blueberries prefer mild temperatures and a marine influence, compared to hot, dry conditions and they don’t produce well in dark, shady areas. I’d plant your Blueberries in the second location, where they’re shaded after two o’clock and avoid the leaf burn on those really hot days. This should give you plenty of direct sunlight for a good crop of berries. I wouldn’t be concerned if a few of the leaves burn on those really, really hot days.

With today’s low chill varieties, Blueberries are a must in today’s garden. A couple of plants produce a good size crop with little effort. Bare root or packaged Blueberries will be available in January with container plants in March. Bountiful Blue and Sunshine Blue are self-pollinating. All the other varieties require a second variety that blooms at the same time for cross-pollination. Blueberries are a fabulous container plant. In the landscape, they’re the perfect companion plant to Azaleas, Rhododendrons and Camellias as they enjoy the same water, acid soil, and fertilizer. During winter months, an acidifier such as Aluminum Sulfate, GreenAll pH Adjuster or Soil Sulphur should be applied to keep the soil acid. Blueberries truly are easy and carefree to grow.

Q. Could you tell me what I need to do in order to keep my Poinsettia plants from dying? They seem to wither away so quickly each year.460298989

Ans. Poinsettia leaves turn yellow, curl and shrivel quickly because of warm temperatures. Poinsettia plants like to be kept in a cool room, preferably under seventy degrees. They need to be kept away from heater vents, operating fireplaces and drafts, especially inside doorways as the sudden change in temperature causes problems. The flower and leaves of the Poinsettia plant collapses when the plant is excessively wet. They like to be kept uniformly moist. Before watering, stick your finger down an inch in the soil. If it feels moist to the touch then skip the watering. After watering, always dump the excess water that collects in the saucer and punch a hole in the decorative foil so the water can drain away.

Buzz Bertolero is Executive Vice President of Navlet’s Garden Centers and a California Certified Nursery Professional. His web address is www.dirtgardener.com and you can send questions by email at dirtgarden@aol.com or to 360 Civic Drive Ste. ‘D’, Pleasant Hill, Calif. 94523 and on Facebook at Facebook.com/Buzz.Bertolero