Growing Jostaberries in Pots and Containers | Ultimate Guide
Jostaberries are very decorative, high-yield berries, grown as bushes up to 6-7 feet (1.8-2.1m) tall, in USDA zones 3-8. Jostaberries are not too picky about their growing conditions, but they require moist but not waterlogged soil, rich in nutrients and organic matter.
Although Jostaberries can withstand temperatures down to -40°F (-40°C) - and that is rather cold - and although they require some 800-1000 chill hours, Jostaberries can be susceptible to late spring frost, especially when flowering. Hence, growing them in pots and containers in cold and warm areas can yield some great harvests.
Published: February 24, 2023.
Required Growing Conditions For Jostaberries
Jostaberries grow as shrubs that don't require much care, but when growing conditions are right, a single Jostaberry plant can easily provide 10-12 pounds (4.5-5.5 kg) of tasty berries over a period of a few weeks (some varieties even longer).
When growing Jostaberries and similar shrubs in pots and containers, the larger the pot/container, the better.
For most Jostaberries varieties, 24-30 inches (~60-75 cm) wide and up to 20-24 inches (~50-60 cm) deep pots and containers are large enough - again, if You have space for 28-30 inches pots, great.
Since Jostaberries don't like "wet feet," before filling the pots and containers with the soil mix, make enough drain holes.
Note: If possible, place pots and containers on trollies with wheels - it can be very helpful if/when required to move the plants around.
Soil Mix and Fertilizers
Jostaberries thrive in slightly acidic soil, rich in nutrients and organic matter.
Jostaberries grow vigorously and require more nitrogen than similar berries, but just in case, don't overfeed them - too much nitrogen can make plants grow large but susceptible to pests and diseases and prone to mechanical damage.
The best soil mix for Jostaberries is a standard potting mix with added plenty of organic compost, worm castings, some aged manure, and balanced NPK fertilizer with the gradual release of nutrients.
During the growing season, it is good practice to add every 6-8 weeks some balanced NPK fertilizer (just half an ounce to an ounce per plant) and some compost to the pot and gently till the surface.
NPK fertilizers with the gradual release of nutrients can be provided two, perhaps three times per year, ensuring nutrients rich soil without spikes in available nutrients.
Note: some gardeners add a layer of gravel or pebbles on the bottom of the pot/container to improve water drainage.
Jostaberries like moist soil, so if possible, use some sort of water-dripping system.
If the dripping system is not available, water the Jostaberries in pots once or twice per week, depending on the local conditions.
When watering, always water soil directly and keep the plant leaves dry.
Organic mulch prevents sun and wind from drying the soil. Also, it fights the weed, and as the mulch decomposes, it feeds the plant and keeps the soil slightly acidic.
Jostaberries prefer full sun positions but don't like summer heat too much.
If You live in warm areas, place your Jostaberries so that they are in the shade during the hottest part of the day - this may help the plants bear the fruits properly. Also, water such Jostaberries more often.
Jostaberries bear fruits even on old wood/branches, but removing 3-4 years, old branches help with improving the yield.
When pruning, remove anything that is ill or damaged while preserving the desired shape of the bush and allowing plenty of air and sun to enter the bush itself - this prevents many diseases.
Jostaberries are very good at preserving their berries on the plants even when fully ripe, allowing the gardeners to pick fully ripe Jostaberries when needed and consume them fresh or processed in pies, jams, juices, etc.
Homegrown berry mix can be very decorative but also a very healthy snack...