So I bought this plant from a local store.
It looked horrible when I got it.
So I decided that I would attempt to nurture it so it would grow.
I had it in the ground at first but it appeared to be dying so I put it in a pot that had some compost in it.
It grew a branch and leaves after doing this.
My main question is how can I get it to start bushing out?
Do I need to cut it back down to stalk?
I dont really know jack about blueberry bushes.
Just give it a chance.....if it leafed out then it's alive and probably focused on roots for the time being. Don't let it dry out and give it a bit of shade in the heat of the day till it grows out some more.
I would perhaps attempt to inoculate the guy with some soil from an established blueberry if possible, or an established other ericaceous plant if not (azalea, rhododendron). Maybe just some good woods loam. Blueberries have a very specific endomycorrhizae that is fully necessary for their healthy growth in actual soil, but lacking in any transplants produced in anything less than a very specific organic program.
For nursing along a sickly plant you can't beat self-watering containers. If that pot has drainage holes in the bottom, all you need to do is push some cotton thread up through the holes to the top so there are several inches hanging down below the pot still. Set that pot on another container of water so the string can wick the water up to the soil and keep it continuously moist. To make it even better try adding just a teensy bit of manure (chicken, rabbit, anything) to break down and add nitrogen. I use a bent piece of wire as a "needle" to pull the cotton thread through pots. Make sure it's longer than the amount of soil in the container. Water can wick up around 7 inches.
Fill that pot to the brim with pine straw. I don't think it's possible to overmulch blueberries. As long as the pot drains and you don't have it in standing water, you should be OK. I have been nursing along some blueberries for 3 years now, with only so-so results. Until I read about hugelkultur and came up with a plan to retro-actively hugelkultur my blueberry patch.
Take a pick or a garden hose and use it to make lots of holes in the ground around the blueberry plants. Step 2, shove decaying branches, sticks, and maybe a chicken bone here and there down into the holes. Lastly, cover them up with more mulch. In my case, I went collecting pine cones and shredded them up good. Now, four months after I did that, I actually have a new volunteer blueberry plant -- coming up on it's own!
The comments above about blueberries liking acidic soil/pine needles etc are all good. One thing also is that it helps to use rain water rather than tap water. Tap water is nearly always alkaline. I water my potted blueberries with water from my pond but that's only ok if you have a big pond!
Fix the place you planted it.
Add garden Sulphur and peat moss. Dig a hole, in the middle put a mound of your peat, compost, natural dirt mixture
Set the plant on top of the mound
about 2" above ground level.
Fill in dirt, making sure the top most roots are barely covered.
Mulch 2" of pine straw,leave a 2" perimeter around the stem
Blueberry roots are shallow, they need watered lightly about every three days.
They will grow slow but if you keep adding Sulphur and mulch every year, (pinch flowers for 2 years)
By the time for fruit, your soil will be correct and you might not have to water so often.
I agree with everyone as far as feeding, watering and mulching. And as your little plant starts getting stronger it should put out some new leaves on the main stem. At that point I would cut the old leaf stem off completely to let the new growth have all the nutrients and encourage more branching. I had a dogwood seedling that I bought bare root last fall that was puny when I got it, and by the middle of winter looked completely dead - was nothing more than a twig like yours but without even a single leaf stem. I potted it and stuck it in my garden shed out of the extreme elements, draped a clear plastic bag loosely over it to keep it a little humid, and kept it watered through the winter. I stuck it back outside in April, faithfully keeping the soil moist with rain barrel water supplemented with about 10% fresh urine every other week and now it looks like this! About a foot tall. I'm so proud of my little baby
I think your blueberry would respond with the same treatment and would probably do best with only partial or dappled sun on what appears to be your deck. A plastic tent would help keep it from drying out this summer.
My uncle had some similar looking sad blueberry plants. He ended up speaking with a master gardener at a home/garden show of some sort and he suggested mulching with pine bark to help get the soil to properly acidic.
Thinking about it, I'm pretty sure this should help. I used to live in Florida, and the local state park had a certain trail through some pine forest. There were wild blueberries growing all through that area along the trail where the canopy was thinner. They seemed to be thriving there, and the main characteristics of the place were partial shade, well draining soil (Florida soil is super sandy), and natural pine mulch from being under pine trees.
If there is another thread better for this question, please advise.
I once had five blueberry plants. About the second or third year, their leaves began to turn yellow-green. Being advised that they probably lacked iron and that putting a rusty nail in the soil beside each plant would remedy that, I did. Three of the plants died, so I relocated the remaining two plants to another bed with more sun. I now have one plant, which hasn't grown at all in two+ years and produces maybe six berries.
Does anyone have an idea of what is wrong? I tried not to let them dry out, I tried to acidify the soil a bit with tea and diluted vinegar, back when I still had five plants. Strawberries are growing very nicely in the bed in which I had originally planted them, if that gives a clue.