If you want blueberry shrubs to succeed in your home garden, you must satisfy their requirements for:
• low soil pH,
• minimum chill requirement (MCR = the accumulated number of hours between 32°F and 45°F necessary for dormant plants to break vegetative and flower growth), and
as well as the usual irrigation, fertilization, and pruning tasks
Plant in full sun.
Blueberry plants grow wild in the forests of the Northwest, including California redwood forests, where decaying leaves produce a highly acidic soil (pH 4 to 4.5) and conditions are usually moist.
Soils in Southern California are generally alkaline and so must be managed to create the conditions that blueberry plants need. To achieve the necessary pH, peat moss and/or leaf mold can be incorporated into the soil before planting; sulfur and aluminum sulfate may also be required. Acidic corrections will probably have to be made on a regular basis since rain will leach out additives and alkaline irrigation water will raise soil pH.
In Southern California, it is easier to maintain the correct pH by planting in a large container. Read more about planting blueberries in containers.
Blueberry shrubs are shallow-rooted and should not be allowed to dry out, but their roots are very sensitive to standing water so they need good drainage.
Mulch and irrigation are essential for successful plants. Put mulch around the newly set plants soon after planting, being careful to keep it away from the central stem to avoid crown rot. Mulch keeps soil temperatures cooler during summer, reduces weeds, and maintains soil moisture. Acidic mulches, such as rotted pine wood/pine needles and acid-type fertilizers (iron chelate or iron sulfate) will also help to maintain a low pH.
The relatively recent development of heat-tolerant varieties of blueberries, such as Southern Highbush, has allowed growers to establish a California blueberry industry and home gardeners in Southern California to raise their own crops.