I recently purchased what is now my first dwarf blueberry plant.

On this plant, at the end of a large, thick vertical cane, are a few green branches that have some small seeds and the 'early green tip' stage of leaf development.

On one of these green branches, a seed swelled, turned into a flower, expanded out into a corolla tube and opened up, in about the course of a week.

The rest of the bush appears dead or dormant.

There are many such buds that aren't doing anything, and a few that have been at the swelled stage since I received the plant, but are quite dark, and haven't changed since I received the plant.

Some of the parts of these dormant/dead canes' leaves or buds have what appears to be small parts of blue leaves on them, which I don't understand. On some parts of the plant, such as the very thick vertical branch that the other green branches are stemming from, have some kind of winter-looking blue/grey 'bark' on them, looking neither green nor brown. Is this normal?

How can I tell whether the other parts of the plant are just dormant or whether they've died off?

I'm keeping the plant indoors, under a 300w LED light, with a large aqua-globe-like system that keeps the soil saturated with enough water as it dries out.enter image description here

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  • 1
    Can you please provide a photo or two?
    – Bamboo
    Feb 10, 2017 at 17:48
  • Also, what's it growing in, a pot you planted it into? and what potting medium did you use?
    – Bamboo
    Feb 10, 2017 at 18:06
  • Yes, I'll post some photos in a few hours once I'm home. It was planted into a 10" diameter pot. The soil is mostly the soil that came with the plant, but I've added a slight amount of soil to fill the pot out (there was a little extra room). Link - a.co/19XUNb7
    – schizoid04
    Feb 10, 2017 at 20:16
  • Ok, will wait for photos, but that link to potting soil doesn't mention the ph - blueberries like acid conditions, so not sure how appropriate it is
    – Bamboo
    Feb 10, 2017 at 20:47
  • So, the majority of the soil is what came with the plant and therefore I don't know what the PH of that is. The soil that is in that link was added to the outer edge of the pot, but I've found it does have a PH higher than the normal range for blueberries, of 8.5. However the roots aren't going out this far to reach that soil, and there isn't much of it. Should I find a way to test the PH level of the soil?
    – schizoid04
    Feb 10, 2017 at 21:28

1 Answer 1


As you have learned, the pH is an important factor, however the immediate concern seems to be that we don't know if the plant is dead or alive.

There is a quick and simple test for this: choose a nice thick shoot about halfway up the stem and push a thumbnail against the bark between two buds to raise up a tiny flap and see what is just below the surface. Do it gently, the goal here is to see if there is an active cambium layer. Ideally you want to see a nice light green flash of active tissue; if you see that after a gentle push then leave it as is, press the tissue back into place and leave it to wake up in the normal process of events. You can try this on a number of the shoots if you suspect some are good and others not, but if you see green then leave well alone.

A more severe test is to clip off one or more of the shoots towards the top and examine the cross-section of the cut area. Dead tissue will look brown or grey with no sign of light-coloured growing wood. But this is probably too severe a test at this time.

Think positively - the buds look nice and fat and there is no reason why it should not take off as required. It might just need to wake up fully (emerge from dormant state).

If you are only filling in a bit of space in the pot with extra soil you can consider pure peat moss which is naturally low in pH.

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