The Best Blueberry Plant Spacing for Your Garden

by Becky
Published: Updated:

Blueberry Spacing Basics

Recommendations for blueberry plant spacing exist to help you grow and maintain optimum conditions for full grown blueberry plants. However, even though the blueberry spacing recommendations usually come across as cut and dry, there is some flexibility in the guidelines.

There is no one size fits all solution to blueberry plant spacing but there is a best blueberry plant spacing for you and your garden space! To enable you to determine the best spacing for your situation, there are some basic questions to ask yourself.  

Will you add a trellis and netting? 

After growing my own Northern Highbush blueberries following the recommendation given by the nursery I bought the blueberries from, I remember thinking that there was way too much space between the rows. For my small garden, I would have liked to utilize that space better.

However, as the plants grew, and the bird pressure increased, I ended up needing all that extra space. My husband constructed some framing to hold up bird netting so it wouldn’t get all tangled in the plants as it had in years past. 

Blueberry trellis holding netting over my blueberries

How will you maintain the rows?

An important thing to consider is how you will maintain the space between the rows.

Will you add mulch or landscape fabric? Will you keep a low growing grass or clover in between rows? 

The space in between the rows and where the blueberries are will need mulch, mowing, and maintenance. It’s important to consider the full grown size of the blueberry bush and then plan any extra space needed to bring through a lawn mower, wheelbarrow, or even a small tractor if you choose.

Perhaps you would rather utilize that space better and shovel in loads of mulch with smaller walking paths. Allow space for what you need for maintenance, pruning, and for picking comfortably.

What type of blueberries will you grow?

A hugely important part of knowing what space you need for your blueberries depends on the type you grow. Usually, the geographical location of where you are growing will determine it for you. But in some areas you have the option of growing several different types. 

Blueberry Types

Northern Highbush: A blueberry bush native eastern North America. 

  • Typical US Zone Compatibility: 4-7
  • Height: 4-5 feet wide and tall
  • Pollination Requirements: Generally self-fertile but you’ll get larger blueberries and more fruit with more than one variety.

Rabbiteye: A blueberry bush for the south. It has a low chilling hours requirement with vigorous growth and high yield.

  • Typical US Zone Compatibility: 7-9
  • Height: 12-15 feet tall and 6-8 feet wide. Can be pruned to reduce height.
  • Pollination Requirements:  Needs at least two varieties for cross pollination and fruit set

Southern Highbush: This is a hybrid of the northern highbush and native southern blueberry plants. It combines the fruit quality of the northern bush with the heat and disease resistance of the native southern blueberries. This type also has a low chilling hour requirement.  However, very early flowering makes southern highbush cultivars quite susceptible to late winter/early spring freezes.

  • Typical US Zone Compatibility: 7-10
  • Height: 5-6 feet tall and 4-6 feet wide
  • Pollination Requirements:  Needs at least two varieties for cross pollination and fruit set
Two year old northern highbush blueberries. Spacing is 5 feet apart between plant centers and 10 feet between rows.
For comparison to the image above here are the same northern highbush blueberries at five years old.

Blueberry Plant Spacing Recommendations 

Based on how you answered the questions above, you may want to adjust your spacing a little bit. Don’t go to extremes of course, these spacing requirements help you to have enough light, air, and root space for healthy blueberry plants.

The basic plant spacing recommendation below is for anyone with plenty of space that need a little bit wider rows for maintenance and netting. The intensive plant spacing recommendation below is for a tighter rows for a smaller space. When the bushes are full size the space between the rows will be around 3-4 feet wide.

It’s important to note that the spacing in between the plants doesn’t change very much at all in either basic or intensive spacing. You need to maintain that space for proper growth and vigor.

Northern Highbush Blueberry Spacing

  • Basic plant spacing is 4-5 feet apart between plants and 10-12 feet apart between rows.
  • Intensive planting for a small garden plant 4 feet apart between plants with 8 feet between rows.

Rabbiteye Blueberry Spacing 

  • Basic Plant Spacing is 8 feet in between plant centers and 12-14 feet in between rows.
  • Intensive planting for a small garden, 6-8 feet between plants and 10 feet between rows.

Southern Highbush Blueberry

  • Basic Plant Spacing is 6 feet apart and with 10-12 feet between rows
  • For intensive plantings in a small garden space 5-6 feet apart and 8-10 feet between rows. 

Happy planting!

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Katie C November 15, 2020 - 1:47 pm

We finally got our three blueberry bushes planted. I made the mistake of mentioning what I planned to do to my sister and she sent me way too much stuff including the bushes! We had a tree taken out near the bottom of our driveway a couple years ago. I wanted to create a round bed with those curved garden pavers. It worked pretty well except the tree roots were no where near completely gone so I couldn’t really recess the bed into the ground. The good thing was that the stump grindings were sort of acidic. I added acidifier, peat moss, perlite and nuts I can’t remember the last thing. We live in Virginia so it hasn’t been super cold yet. I hope they survive. I was going to attach a picture but I don’t think I can do that here.

We also got our garlic planted this weekend. We have learned to cover it with netting because the squirrels like to dig there.

This has been an extremely busy fall. Yard work is still continuing.

Do you have an update on your house and when it is expected to be finished?

theseasonalhomestead November 16, 2020 - 5:41 pm

Wow Katie! How exciting! Yes you sound busy but with all good things 🙂 Fall is a good time to plant bushes. Sometimes it’s even better than spring so I would guess that they will make it. Let me know in Spring how they did!

I got caught up in getting my pantry finished and posted to social media this last week and weekend and I completely forgot to update my Weekly Digs. I’ll get a post written up tonight and share some house pictures and updates. We’ve slowed down a bit on house progress because we are getting a metal roof and our builder had to shop around quite a bit to get the best price. Originally he said it would be done in February but we’ve already had a couple set backs so we will see!

Katie C November 18, 2020 - 10:16 pm

I live in northern Virginia just outside of DC. Do you think I need to wrap the newly planted blueberry bushes for the winter? They are in a sunny spot and in a raised bed which tends to be warmer.

theseasonalhomestead December 13, 2020 - 4:55 am

Hey Katie. Fall planted blueberries in general do better than spring planted ones! The key is to protect the roots from cold. I usually add a thick layer of wood chip or pine bark mulch over the soil. I think that would be all the protection you would need 🙂


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