Yes, you can grow blueberries in sub-tropical, south-east Queensland and growing them successfully comes down to the right growing conditions and suitable variety selection.
Blueberries are small perennial shrubs with an average size of 2 metres. They are attractive shrubs that can be evergreen to completely deciduous. Related to azaleas, they enjoy similar growing conditions such as protection from hot sun and acidic soils (pH 5.0) with high levels of organic matter and perfect drainage.
They can easily be grown in containers, though resent root disturbance, so a pot with a minimum diameter of 50cm is recommended using a premium quality specialty mix designed for azaleas and camellias.
When planting in the ground, add plenty of good quality compost, check the pH and adjust with sulphur if required. Keep blueberries well mulched, even in pots, to keep the root zone cool and moist. Blueberries can be grown in the sun or shade, however flowering will be more prolific when grown in the sun. If temperatures are regularly over 30 degrees, which they often can be in Queensland, they prefer to be protected from the hot afternoon sun, a position on the eastern side of your house would be perfect.
Like many fruit trees, blueberries require a certain number of ‘chill hours’ to initiate flowering. It is important in Queensland to select a variety that is referred to as ‘low chill’. There are quite a few to choose from: Biloxi, Misty, Gulf Coast, Sunshine Blue, Powder Blue, Sharp Blue and Britewell, which is one of our favourites. Britewell is a rabbit eye variety bearing large, good quality, sweet
fruit. It is a vigorous upright growing bush that is resistant to fungal diseases and produces fruit without a pollinator (though if you do grow another blueberry you will produce larger yields).
One last tip, everyone loves blueberries, including birds and possums, so you may need to protect your valuable crop with netting from opportunistic wild life.