I potted a Jubilee Blueberry plant 2 weeks ago. The leaves have started to brown this week. The same thing happened to my Spartan Blueberry plant. That one completely browned up and died. How do I prevent my Jubilee from dying too?

  1. Soil PH appears to be 3. I have no idea how accurate this cheap $5 PH meter is.
  2. When planting, I mixed in a trowel-full of cottonseed meal. Yesterday, after discovering the alkalinity of the soil, I sprinkpled another trowel-full on the service and watered it in.
  3. Container has drain holes in the bottom.
  4. I am in Zone 9 California.
  5. It has been hotter than usual these past days - 90 degrees F. But the product description of Jubilee says that "this selection performs well in heavier soils through summer heat, and is resilient to winter cold spells."
  6. Mulched with cedar chips.
  7. Before transplanting, I massaged the roots to prevent them from circling around. When I pulled my dead Spartan from the pot, I noticed that it never grew new roots. I didn't massage the Spartan.

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  • Could be way off base, but it looks like sunburn to me. – Des Horsley Aug 20 '15 at 23:01
  • Even if this variety is marketed as resilient to summer heat? Are blueberries typically shy of the sun? – JoJo Aug 21 '15 at 3:46

Drought or over fertilization, or a mix of both. When it says 'this selection performs well in heavier soils through summer heat' that isn't relevant - your plant is in a pot and presumably not in particularly heavy soil. A plant in heavy, water retentive soil in the ground is a totally different ball game - the soil, being heavy, will keep the plant's roots cooler for one thing. I can't tell what the pot's made of, but if its metal of some sort, that will mean the roots bake even more in hot sun.

The link below might be of some help


  • It's painted metal. It's white, so it should be cool, right? From your link, my plant looks like it has Potassium deficiency. Perhaps the soul PH is too alkaline for it to pick up the nutrients. But the cottonseed is supposed to acidity the soil. Can't tell if the pH meter is too damn cheap it it really is too alkaline – JoJo Aug 22 '15 at 4:50
  • Even white metal will get hotter than, say, terracotta. What are you watering with? This could also be high salts content in the soil from the water you're using. And what do you mean by 'massaging' the roots? – Bamboo Aug 22 '15 at 12:26
  • I'm watering from the outdoor faucet. Other non-berry plants are doing fine with the same water. Most of my blackberries, raspberries, & strawberries are also experiencing browning. Blueberry roots are very fine and almost look like a burlap cloth. I moved my hand in a circular motion around the rootball to splay the roots in random directions. When I pulled out my Spartan, it came out in the same shape as its nursery's container - roots never grew. This made me believe that NOT massaging the Spartan caused its roots to choke itself. – JoJo Aug 22 '15 at 15:32
  • JoJo...this is a sure sign of too much salt!! Don't use tap water for plants in pots!! Also, your pH is way to high!! Blueberries love a pH of 5!! Or maybe even less. Tap water is full of salts, chlorine, fluorine...ugh!! Did you use potting soil or garden soil? Blueberries are BOG plants. They need moisture all of the time and do not appreciate dry soil. Still need great drainage. Did you put rocks or gravel at the bottom of the pot? This actually inhibits drainage with a perched water table. Find potting soil for acid loving plants!! – stormy Aug 24 '15 at 19:25
  • @stormy I used potting soil. I wonder how the pH is so alkaline after using cottonseed meal. I didn't put rocks on the bottom because I also read that it does the opposite of what people think it should do. So what kind of water do I use? Fiji water? Voss water? I got gold all over my chain. Gold all over my ring. Gold all in my watch. Don't believe me, just watch. – JoJo Aug 25 '15 at 6:16

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