Growing raspberries is a quiet and relaxing hobby. Raspberries are fun to grow, easy to maintain and can produce huge rewards. Whether you just want some fresh raspberries for jams or other recipes, or want to make raspberry growing your full-time business, there are lots of ways you can profit from growing your own tasty berries.
If you’ve ever wondered how to grow raspberries then look no further. We’re going to walk you through everything you need to know. You’ll learn how to choose, where to plant, and which varieties would be best for you. You will get will also get some helpful tips along the way!
Quick Facts About Raspberry Plants
- Scientific name: Rubus idaeus
- Type of plant: perennial with woody stems
- Native to: Eurasia
- Light requirement: full sun (at least 6-8 hours)
- Water requirement: 1″-2″ per week during growing season and up to 4″ per week during harvest
- Preferred humidity: 70%
- Preferred temperature: 70 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit
- Size upon maturity: height of 5–6′ and a spread of 3–4′ at maturity
- Type of native soil: well-drained, sandy loam soils rich in organic matter
- soil pH level: 5.6 to 6.2
- Fertilizer: 10-10-10 fertilizer or actual nitrogen
- Word meaning: a sweet rose-colored wine
- Family: Rose
- Growing season: early to mid summer and autumn
What exactly is a raspberry?
Raspberries (cane fruits) are the tasty fruit of a perennial plant in the rose family. The plant is native to North America and Europe, but it has been cultivated in other regions for centuries. The two most common types of raspberries are red and black, though there are many other varieties with different shades of red, pink and purple. The color depends on the pH level of the soil that they grow in.
Raspberries belong to the Rubus genus, which includes blackberries, boysenberries, loganberries, and tayberries. They have yellowish-green flowers that grow in clusters on short stalks called pedicels at the base of new growth. Some varieties have white or pink flowers instead of yellowish green ones. At first glance, raspberries don’t look like other fruits because they’re not round or oval like strawberries or blackberries. Instead they’re flat on one side like an acorn cap or bell shape with one end larger than the other end (the tip is smaller than the base).
Raspberry plant produces fruit all year long and do not need to be pollinated by bees or other insects. The fruit grows on raspberry canes that can be anywhere from 6 inches (15 cm) to 10 feet (3 m) tall. The vigorous canes die back each winter, but new shoots come up in early spring before they bloom again once warmer weather arrives in late spring or early summer.
Cultivation and History
Raspberries are native to the temperate regions of North America. The Rubus genus contains about 100 species, but only two — R. idaeus and R. strigosus — are cultivated for their fruits. The former is the European raspberry, which is also known as red or blackberry raspberries; the latter is the American or wild red raspberry.
The origin of raspberries can be traced back to the Himalayas, where they were first cultivated some 5,000 years ago by nomadic tribesmen. They were brought westward by Alexander the Great and later spread throughout Europe by the Romans.
During medieval times, raspberries were considered an aphrodisiac and were used as a cure for fever and constipation as well as for relieving toothaches and sore throats. In Germany during this era, men would give women a bouquet of red raspberries if they wanted to propose marriage!
In North America, colonists planted raspberries in their gardens because they could not get enough from local sources to satisfy demand during their first winters here.
Raspberries were first cultivated in England during the 17th century at Woburn Abbey, where they were grown for medicinal purposes as well as for personal consumption. Raspberries were also cultivated at Woburn Abbey during World War II, when it was used as an emergency hospital for civilians with tuberculosis.
The history of these firm berries is long and varied. There are over 2000 varieties grown today, but not all were developed by humans; many were discovered in the wild. Archaeologists have found evidence of raspberry cultivation dating back over 7500 years ago in what is now Iran and Iraq, where wild species still grow today.
There are many different varieties of raspberry available. This section describes some of the most popular ones and their characteristics.
The most popular variety of raspberry is called Red raspberries (Rubus idaeus). This plant produces large clusters of beautiful red berries that can be eaten fresh or used in jams and jellies. Red raspberries have a mild flavor that works well with other fruits. They are also delicious when cooked into pies, tarts and puddings. When choosing red raspberries at the grocery store or farmers market look for summer crop that are firm but plump with bright coloration (no brown spots).
Black raspberry has a thin, dark grayish-purple skin, and their flesh is very dark as well. Black raspberries ripen in mid-summer and are usually sold frozen to preserve their flavor and nutritional content. Black raspberry is very high in antioxidants and vitamin C. They can be used in many ways, including making jams, pies or tarts with fresh whipped cream. These cold hardy berries are also good when they’re heated up with some sugar and served warm over ice cream.
Yellow raspberry plants, also known as the golden raspberry, has a similar taste to red raspberry, but it’s not as tart. It’s best used for baking and desserts. The fruit is smaller than its red counterpart and has a yellowish-green color that turns to a deep orange when cooked or frozen. Yellow raspberries are cold hardy and grow in clusters and are more elongated than red raspberries. They’re also less likely to have seeds than other types of raspberries. Yellow raspberries are available from June through September, though they’re more expensive than other types during this time period.
These sweet berries have purple-red skin and a tart taste. Purple raspberries have a high concentration of anthocyanin pigment, which gives them their deep hue and antioxidant properties. Black and purple raspberries are pruned three times a year: in the spring, summer and after fruiting.
Autumn Bliss is a very productive variety that can be used as a fresh eating berry or a processing berry. It will produce fruit during the summer months when other varieties fail to produce any fruits at all due to heat stress or lack of pollination. This fall-bearing raspberries (everbearing raspberries) is an early ripening blackberry that ripens before most other summer bearing varieties, making it an excellent choice for fresh eating or freezing purposes as well as for jams and jellies. The red and yellow raspberries are medium sized, with a very thin skin. The flavor is mild and sweet with little or no tartness.
This vigorous plant produces large crops of medium-sized berries with good flavor and aroma. Autumn Britten is resistant to verticillium wilt but susceptible to red stele disease. Autumn Britten is best suited for organic growers since the berries taste better than most other organic fall bearing raspberries when they are eaten raw off the bush. The season lasts about two weeks longer than red or yellow raspberries, so it’s perfect for people who want fresh raspberries right up until frost!
A very large berry with an excellent flavor. It has red raspberries with some yellow showing on the skin. These berries can be eaten fresh or used in preserves and pies. The plants are hardy and produce consistently over several seasons. They are self-pollinating so only one plant is needed for pollination.
In this variety, the leaves are bronze colored with white undertones which gives it its distinctive appearance. It has large, juicy fruits that are purplish red in color when ripe. It has a milder flavor than black and purple raspberries but still has good taste qualities when cooked into desserts like pies or jams. Chester Prince is a good choice for northern climates where temperatures stay cool during the summer months when most black or purple raspberries are harvested for market.
This variety is one of the most popular among gardeners because it is easy to grow and produces large crops. The berries are firm and have a sweet flavor that makes them ideal for eating fresh or cooking with. This fall bearing raspberry is also known for their light orange color, which makes them a great addition to salads and other dishes.
Latham raspberries can be found growing wild in North America and were named after George Latham who first cultivated the plant in the early 1800s. These summer crop are less than an inch long but pack an intense berry flavor that makes them perfect for baking or making jams and jellies.
How to Grow Raspberries: A Complete Guide
Raspberries are a good choice for home gardens because they are easy to grow and produce delicious fruit. They do require some special care, however, so it’s important to know how to grow raspberries properly before you start planting them.
All raspberry varieties need at least six hours of sunlight per day. If the plants don’t get enough light, they will produce fewer berries than they would otherwise. The best way to ensure that your these plants receive enough light is to place them in a sunny area with at least six hours of sunlight each day. If possible, try to avoid planting your raspberry bushes near trees or other tall plants that might block out some of the light during the day.
Raspberries prefer a moderately fertile, well-drained soil with a pH between 5.5 and 6.5. They will not tolerate alkaline soils. The ideal soil is rich in organic matter and has a depth of at least 18 inches. A heavy clay soil should be amended with compost and sand to improve drainage. A sandy soil should be amended with organic matter to increase fertility and moisture-holding capacity.
- Preparing Soil for PlantingThe best time to plant raspberries is fall, but they can also be planted in spring after danger of frost has passed (look for planting dates by zone). To help prevent root rot and improve drainage, dig holes slightly shallower than the depth of the roots and mix in plenty of organic matter before you plant potted transplants.
Black raspberry canes grow best when they have adequate water, but they can also tolerate periods of drought. An average of 1 inch per week is sufficient for most varieties. Soil should be moist but not soggy. In rainy climates, mulch around the potted plants to prevent water from getting into the crowns and causing rot.
The most important factor for growing raspberries is temperature. Although raspberries can grow in a wide range of temperatures, the optimal range is between 35°F and 55°F (2°C–13°C). Temperatures below 40°F (4°C) may cause growth to stop or slow down significantly. In general, the cooler the growing season, the better your chances of producing good crops.
Prune summer bearing raspberries twice during the growing season: once in early spring and again in late summer or early fall. Pruning raspberries in early spring helps to control growth and keep the plants compact, so they can be planted closer together and produce more fruit. Pruning later in summer allows you to harvest more fruit from the same amount of land.
Prune dead canes and those that cross over each other in mid-May. Remove any suckers that grow from below ground level as well as any that grow on top of old cane stubs (these are called water sprouts). Cut back any suckers that are growing on top of old black raspberry canes stubs at least 2 inches above the ground to prevent them from getting too tall and breaking off after a heavy rain or snowfall.
Black raspberries ripening need three basic elements to grow: sun, water and fertilizer. While you can use any type of fertilizer on your raspberry patch, it’s best to choose one geared toward fruiting plants such as summer red raspberries or strawberries. The preferred type of fertilizer is ammonium sulfate (21-0-0) or ammonium nitrate (34-0-0).
Raspberries are best stored in the refrigerator to keep them fresh for up to two weeks. To store them on the counter, put them in a single layer in an uncovered bowl with plenty of room for air circulation around them. If you prefer to store raspberries in your refrigerator then place them in an uncovered bowl on the top shelf of your refrigerator where they won’t get crushed by other items.
You can freeze everbearing red raspberries whole or mashed into a purée. Freeze them as soon as possible after picking because they lose their flavor quickly when stored at room temperature for more than an hour or two. To freeze whole raspberries place them on a cookie sheet with waxed paper between each layer of berries so they don’t stick together while freezing and thawing later on. Once frozen pop the whole berries off of the cookie sheet into a freezer bag or container with no air left inside it (if any is left it will cause freezer burn).
How to Plant Raspberries
There are two types of raspberry plants: cane and bush. The cane plant is more vigorous and produces more fruit than the bush plant. The best time to plant new raspberry canes is in late spring or early summer, when the plants are dormant. If you live in a warm climate, you can also grow them from root cuttings in late winter or early spring. Planting raspberries is a simple process, but it helps to know what you’re doing.
- Step 1: Prepare the soil by tilling it to a depth of 8 inches and adding organic matter such as compost or manure. If the soil is sandy, add clay or peat moss to increase its weight and water-holding capacity. The pH level should be between 5.5 and 6.0 (slightly acidic).
- Step 2: Dig holes that are 1 foot deep and 12 inches wide for each plant you want to plant. Plant the raspberries 12 inches apart in rows that are 36 inches apart. Space the rows 3 feet apart from each other for ease of maintenance during the growing season later on down the road!
- Step 3: Plant summer bearing raspberry bushes in their holes and backfill with soil around them until the top of their rootballs are just below the surface level of your soil bed or container fillers like peat moss or compost provide nutrients during the first year after transplanting into new homes, which helps prevent transplant shock from being transplanted from one place to another. Keep the crown of the plant 1 or 2 inches above the ground.
- Step 4: Water your plants well throughout their first summer after planting — especially during hot weather — until they are established (about two years from planting). Apply 1 inch (2.5 cm) of water every week during periods of hot weather if rainfall does not provide enough moisture for growth. Drip irrigation is imperative when planting in raised beds.
- Step 5: Mulch raspberry plants with straw or pine bark mulch. This will help keep the weeds from growing and keep the moisture in the soil near the roots of your new plants.
Tips for Planting Raspberries
If you’ve experienced being in your home garden growing raspberries, you may be surprised at how easy they are to grow. With proper care and attention, you’ll have a bountiful crop of these delicious berries in no time! But here are tips by many raspberry growers:
- There are many disease-resistant varieties available, so choose one that fits your needs and climate.
- Plant raspberry bushes in an area that gets lots of sun; they need at least 6 hours per day. It is important to avoid planting raspberries in low lying areas that can hold moisture for long periods of time.
- If you live in a colder climate, plant your raspberry plants in pots so they can be moved indoors during the winter months when temperatures fall below freezing.
- Growing raspberries in containers is also an excellent way to control pests and diseases that affect these healthy plants. If you have an infestation, simply move the containers indoors until the problem subsides or treat them with an organic pesticide such as neem oil or pyrethrum spray (available at most nurseries).
- Raspberries produce their new canes from early spring until fall, but the majority of canes are produced in late spring and early summer. The best time to plant raspberries is fall, when they are dormant or just waking up from dormancy after winter.
- Do not over water your plants or they will rot from the roots up! Drip irrigation or a soaker hose system is ideal for consistent moisture in raised beds.
- Use fertilizer only if necessary.
- The floricane produces fruit in early to mid summer and then dies. New primocanes are produced each year, so fruit production continues year after year. It’s your job to prune raspberries when they are dormant bare root plants so they can grow new canes and fruit on them next year! Mow or cut all canes to the ground in the early winter or spring.
How to Harvest Raspberries
Raspberry cultivars are ready for harvest when the produced fruit is plump, firm and a bright red color.
- Step 1: Look for signs of maturitySummer bearing raspberries are ready to harvest when the berries are plump and deep red. When gently squeezed, the fruit should be firm but soft enough to yield slightly.
- Step 2: Pick the berriesRaspberries are fragile and easily crushed, so pick bear fruit carefully with your fingers or use a sharp knife to cut them from the plant. If you must use your fingers, wear rubber gloves to protect them from scratches and stains from the fruit juice.
- Step 3: RinseRinse the fall crop in cold water, then place them in a colander and allow them to drain for 30 minutes before storing them in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
- Step 4: Store the raspberries properlyRipe berries are best stored in a single layer on trays with plastic wrap between each layer of berries (to prevent sticking) and stored in the refrigerator for up to 7 days.
Pests, Diseases, and Treatment
Raspberry plants are susceptible to a number of pests and diseases that can cause damage to the plant, fruit, leaves and roots.
The raspberry leaf roller is a small caterpillar that feeds on new leaves in spring and early summer. The larvae feed on both sides of the leaf leaving rosette-shaped holes. The adult is a small moth with a wingspan of about ½ inch (12 mm). The moths lay eggs on the undersides of leaves, which hatch into small green caterpillars that feed on leaves for 10 days before pupating in leaf litter or soil.
Treatment: Damaged fruit may be misshapen or flattened by leaf rollers, but this damage is not serious enough to warrant control measures. If you want to reduce populations, handpick larvae from infected plants every few days during May and June when they are small and easy to see.
Raspberry cane borer is a pest that attacks the canes and roots of raspberry plants. It is most active in late August through October. The adult beetle is about 1/4 inch long and yellowish-brown in color. It feeds on the tips of canes and lays its eggs there. The red necked cane borer larvae feed on the roots and crowns of the summer-bearing plants, causing them to decline. The beetles overwinter in leaf litter at the base of the plants.
Treatment: To control rust borer, remove all leaves from around the base of your summer-bearing raspberry plants after harvest and destroy them by burning or composting them to prevent eggs from hatching into larvae next spring.
Cane blight affects the leaves, stems, and produce fruit of the everbearing raspberries. The leaves will have yellow spots or streaks on them. The stems may become brown and die back during the winter months. The fruit will become shriveled, discolored and smaller than normal.
Treatment: Keep your raspberries and blackberries healthy by watering regularly during dry weather and fertilizing twice a year with compost tea or other organic fertilizer. Don’t plant raspberries or blackberries in areas where cane blight has been a problem in previous years.
Anthracnose is a fungal disease that can attack raspberry plants at any stage of growth but is most active during wet weather in June through early July when it causes fruit drop. Anthracnose also causes leaves to turn brown, wilting and death of blossoms as well as twig dieback which results in shortened fruiting canes and poor yields.
Treatment: Infected plants should be pruned out immediately and destroyed to prevent spread of this disease throughout your planting area. Apply fungicides when spores are present (late spring through early fall) or when leaves first show symptoms of infection (early summer).
The most common symptoms of root rot are wilting leaves and stunted growth. Leaves may also turn yellowish-brown with brown spots or streaks on them. The plants might seem to recover from the wilting and then suddenly die.
Treatment: The best way to treat root rot is to increase the amount of air around your plants’ roots by watering less frequently and only watering when they need it, as opposed to making sure they are always wet. You can also try adding an organic fungicide (such as neem oil) to your water once a week for two weeks, but only use this if your plant shows no other signs of disease or stress from other factors (like root rot).
Botrytis blight causes grayish-brown blotches on leaves that later dry up and fall off prematurely. These blotches appear mostly on older foliage, although they may also appear on new growth as well. If left unchecked, this disease can cause large areas of dead tissue that can severely damage plants.
Treatment: Prune out any branches that have been affected by botrytis blight so they do not spread the disease to other parts of your plants. If you prune out infected branches before they get too large (about 6 inches long), they won’t have time to produce spores that can infect other parts of your patch.
Red Spider Mites
These tiny, eight-legged arachnids are red or gray in color with round bodies that have three dark spots on their backs. Red spider mites feed on plant sap by piercing leaf cells and sucking out the contents through their sharp mouthparts. Over time this damage leads to yellowing leaves that eventually drop off the plant altogether.
Treatment: To control red spider mites, spray infested plants with insecticidal soap according to label instructions once every two weeks throughout the plant growth season.
Best Uses of Raspberry Plants
Raspberry is a delicious and versatile fall crop. You use it in sweet dishes, savory dishes, or even as a tea.
Here are some of the best ways to incorporate raspberries:
Raspberry jam is a delicious, versatile and simple way to add flavour to your cakes and desserts, or enjoy a spread on toast for breakfast. It will keep in the fridge for up to two weeks, so you can use it in multiple recipes.
Raspberry jam is best made in small batches due to its tendency to boil over when cooking. If this happens, quickly transfer the mixture into a clean pan and continue cooking until it has thickened.
Raspberry cheesecake is one of the most popular desserts ever! You can make this delicious dessert by combining cream cheese with sugar and vanilla extract to create a creamy base for your raspberry topping. Top it off with fresh black raspberries or use frozen ones for an easy winter treat!
Raspberry sorbet is an easy-to-make ice cream that will satisfy your cravings with its rich flavor and color! Just throw all the ingredients into an ice cream maker, wait for 15 minutes, then enjoy!
If you’re hosting a party or have a get-together coming up, finger sandwiches are always a hit. They’re easy to make and require no special tools or skills. Just spread some cream cheese on two pieces of bread, top each with some sliced strawberries and raspberries, then add another slice of bread to make a sandwich!
Candles are an easy way to add some raspberry fragrance to your home or office. There are many different types of candles available, from jar candles to tarts and tea lights. Candles can be scented with many different oils, including raspberry oil. You can find raspberry candles at most local craft stores, but you may want to order them online if you cannot find them locally.
Creams and Lotions
Raspberry oil can be added to creams and lotions for added benefits. The sweet smell of the fruit will make your skin smell great while also moisturizing it at the same time! You will find many different types of creams and lotions that contain black raspberries concentrate.
Massage oil is another great way to enjoy the benefits of raspberry oil! Massages are known for being relaxing and enjoyable, but they also have some health benefits when used regularly! Massaging with raspberry-scented massage oils will help improve circulation as well as reduce stress levels in the body!
Do raspberries Like coffee grounds?
Black raspberries will grow in just about any soil. However, they are especially fond of acidic soil, which makes them ideal for planting along with blueberries, cranberries, and huckleberries. If you want to give your raspberry plants a boost in the fall, you can add coffee grounds to the soil. The grounds will help improve the pH level and add nitrogen to the soil.
Can I plant raspberries with other plants?
Yes! Raspberries are a great companion for many other plants. They grow best when planted under fruit trees or in full sun, but they will tolerate partial shade as well. If you want to plant raspberries with other plants, make sure there is at least 4 feet between rows of plants. This will give you room for picking and pruning without damaging a few bushes in the garden.
How long does it take for raspberry canes to emerge?
New canes emerge in spring from buds located just below the soil surface. If your raspberry plant is new or you didn’t do any pruning last year, wait until late spring to do any pruning. Otherwise, you’ll be cutting back into buds that haven’t fully developed yet.
Will I get more fruit if I cut off all the leaves?
No! Raspberries produce their flowers on new growth that develops after pruning. Removing all the leaves will make it harder for them to produce berries later in the season.
Raspberries are a great edible plant that bear fruit and brings beauty to the garden. They are also quite easy to grow and will reward you with bountiful harvests at a low cost and with little effort. Whether you’re a well-seasoned gardener or want to try your hand at gardening for the first time, we hope this post inspires you to grow some black raspberry in the coming spring. While it can often be challenging to stick with an unfamiliar activity, it’s easy to see why growing black raspberries is worth the effort. Best of luck!