I bought a skeleton of a blueberry plant on sale at Bunnings a few months ago, and it is now covered in fruit and growing like crazy, but in a very weird way, especially one particular branch as can be seen in the photo. Does anyone know how I should prune it to help it get into better shape? Thanks so much!
Welcome to the Bunnings Workshop community @anniek. It's wonderful to have you join us and many thanks for your question about pruning your blueberry.
Where do you have the plant positioned? Has it sent that leader on the right off towards an adequate light source? If so, lack of light is likely why it's looking a bit lanky and the reason behind the unusual direction of growth.
That new growth on the right is the healthiest part of the plant at the moment, so I wouldn't recommend removing it. Instead, I'd suggest you stake it back upright and try to encourage it to grow vertically. You could also use the same stake to pull the growth on the left vertical. You'll find Whites Easi Clip Swirl Plant Ties handy for attaching the branches to the stake.
It could also likely do with some new potting mix and a feed if it's still in the pot you purchased it in. I'm not sure whether I'd advise re-potting now, but a seaweed-based fertiliser wouldn't be a bad idea. You'll also need to start applying an Azalea fertiliser at some stage to really put on growth. Perhaps wait until you re-pot or plant it in the garden before doing so, though.
You should find this guide helpful: How to grow blueberries.
Let me mention @BradN to see if he has any thoughts.
Please let me know if you have any questions.
I don't know much about blueberries, but I'm sure they're considered a full-sun plant. Have you been keeping yours indoors all this time? If so, I'm surprised that it's growing well, let alone fruiting! You learn something every day!
I think most people like to keep blueberries relatively bushy. The way to do that it it to prune the tall shoot at roughly the height you want to be. This will essentially stop it growing upwards and will encourage lateral branching. (This is because the growth tip sends chemical signals back down the stem that keep dormant buds dormant. When you remove the growth tip you stop that signal and allow the dormant buds to form new branches).
If I was you (and I wanted the fruit) I would prune that tall shoot, put the plant outside and gradually introduce it to full sun over the course of a few weeks, starting by giving it a few days in a spot where it only gets a bit of morning sun and progressively moving it to sunnier spots.
It will want deep, frequent watering and a suitable fertiliser, such as PowerFeed Flowers, Fruit and Citrus to produce the best fruit. You might also consider espaliering it to provide the branches with extra support and making it easier to get at the fruit. (You can make a simple espalier frame by sticking a couple of those plastic-coated tomato-cage stakes down the back of the pot and then using zip ties to tie on whatever kind of metal, wooden or plastic frame you like. Then use soft plant ties or clips to loosely attach the stems to the frame).
Hope that helps!
The blueberry lives outside on my balcony in very bright but indirect light all day, until the afternoon when it sees the sunset for a couple of hours. That is the direction the big branch is reaching. He was only indoors while the balcony was being clean and I took the opportunity to photograph him
He is already in a larger pot than what he was purchased in, but I’ll get a larger one soon.
I will definitely give the stakes / espaliers a try! I’m still a little nervous to prune back where the main growth is, but I’ll wait until all the fruit is gone and see what he looks like then.
Thank you so much!!