There’s something nostalgic about picking berries from a raspberry patch, strolling through the brambles, and plucking ripe raspberries straight from the vines. Growing your own is not only easy but an excellent way to produce organic food at home. Learn about the different types of raspberry bushes and how to plant raspberries and harvest fresh berries each growing season.
We’re all familiar with the typical red raspberries at the grocery store. However, there is more than one type of raspberry, including yellow raspberries, black raspberries, and purple raspberries. Most raspberry varieties are simple to grow in the home garden or raised beds.
However, raspberry plants are slow growers, and patience is required as you wait for them to begin fruiting. Summer-bearing plants do not produce fruit until the second year, and everbearing, or fall-bearing raspberries, grow a small summer crop on the previous year’s canes, followed by a significant fall crop.
Planting and Growing Raspberry Bushes
The hardest part about planting and growing raspberries is waiting for the fruits to ripen. While planting raspberry bushes may seem intimidating, these fruiting shrubs are reasonably easy to grow as long as you provide the new plants with everything they need to thrive.
Beginning gardeners have many questions when growing raspberry bushes for the first time, such as how far apart to plant raspberry bushes and how much sun do they need to grow? Discover the answer to these questions and more and how to grow raspberries from seeds, cuttings, and bare-root plants.
What to Know about Planting Raspberry Bushes
Like any other plant, raspberries require the right soil type to grow a healthy root system and an adequate amount of sunshine. Learn some helpful things before planting raspberries to ensure you pick the perfect variety and give the plant everything it wants to flourish.
There are two main raspberry types, summer-fruiting and ever-bearing raspberries, and all types grow well in USDA hardiness zones 3 through 9. Summer fruiting types are most common, and they develop fruit on floricanes, or last year’s growth, while ever-bearing varieties produce fruit on first-year canes or primocanes.
Carolina Red, Redwing, and Fall Gold are good examples of ever-bearing raspberries, and Glen Ample, Latham, and Tulameen are summer-fruiting raspberries.
Raspberry plants grow ideally in sandy loam dirt with a soil pH of 5.6 to 6.2. Additionally, these plants need six to eight hours of full sun daily to thrive. Choose a sunny area of your yard and improve the garden bed with organic matter to enrich the soil before planting.
Note that blackberries and raspberries are different fruits and plants. Do not confuse blackberries with black raspberries. While the growing process is similar, they have different tastes. The same goes for blackberry, mulberry, boysenberry and dewberries. Learn how they differ and plant a couple of each one for variety.
How Far Apart to Plant Raspberry Bushes
It’s essential to grow your raspberries, whether red vs black raspberry plants, with the proper raspberry plant spacing to ensure your plants have good air circulation and do not overcrowd each other as they mature. Find out how far apart to plant raspberries to ensure your new plants have plenty of room.
When planting raspberry canes, space them 18 to 24 inches apart with rows eight to 12 feet apart. New canes grow from the roots in about two months. After the plants mature, remove any canes growing outside the two-foot-wide row. If you plant bare-root plants, position them about three feet apart to give them enough space to grow and set fruit.
How to Plant Raspberries from Seed
Planting raspberry seeds is the easiest and cheapest way to grow new plants, but it takes them longer to germinate, grow raspberry canes, and produce fruit. If you have the patience and time, explore how to grow a raspberry bush from seed.
When planting raspberries from seeds, in the early spring or late winter, fill peat pots with seed starting soil and press a couple of raspberry seeds an inch deep into the dirt of each pot. Cover them with a layer of sand and spray them lightly with water.
Set the pots in a cool, dim area, such as the garage or basement, and keep the soil moist to encourage germination. After four to six weeks, the seeds germinate, and it’s time to thin out the seedlings, leaving one strong plant per pot.
Once the seedlings reach about an inch tall and the early summer temperatures are above 60°F, harden them off by taking them outside every day for a week. Transplant them into a larger container or the garden bed and cover the base of each plant with mulch. Do not try transplanting raspberries in summer heat as they will not adapt well and likely die.
Planting Raspberries from Cuttings and Bare-Root Plants
The best way to plant raspberries for a quicker harvest is to grow them from cuttings or bare-root plants. However, the planting process differs from seed-sowing. Learn how to plant raspberries using these two methods and give them a head start in the garden.
To regrow raspberries from root cuttings, unearth part of the raspberry plant roots during the dormant period, sometime between November and February. Trim off a three-inch section of rootlets the size of a thick pencil, and cover the parent plant’s roots back with soil.
Cut the top part straight across and the bottom end on a diagonal. Bury the root cuttings in a container of potting soil with the straight section at the soil level. Water the cuttings and set the pot in a sheltered place for four weeks. Finally, locate the best place to grow raspberry bushes at your house and transplant them into the garden with the top of the cutting two inches beneath ground level.
If you have bare-root plants, remove them from the packaging, prune away damaged roots, and place the roots in a bucket of water to soak for two hours. Plant raspberries in zone 7 mid April after last frost. Dig planting holes in the garden, ensuring they are deep and wide enough to accommodate the plant’s root system.
Position the bare roots in the hole, backfill with soil, and tamp the dirt to remove air pockets. Water them thoroughly and prune the canes until they are two inches above the ground.
Caring for Raspberry Bushes
Once you know how far apart to plant raspberry bushes and ways to grow them indoors and outside, it’s time to give your young plants some TLC. Find out how to water, feed, support, and prune raspberry plants to help them produce an abundance of fruits for harvesting.
Raspberry bushes need support to grow in an orderly fashion. Position a trellis or other support system near the raspberry plants at the planting time every five to eight feet along the row. Water your plants evenly from early spring through late summer, whenever the top inch of soil is dry.
Using a drip irrigation system is an excellent way to prevent getting the foliage wet and spreading verticillium wilt and other diseases. Do not water your raspberries during the winter months, which may cause root rot. Raspberry plants need balanced fertilizer or one heavy in nitrogen. It’s helpful to feed them every two weeks during the season.
Raspberry plants grow fruit on second-year branches in the spring or on first-year branches in the fall, so it’s vital to understand when to prune your bushes, depending on the raspberry type.
First-year branches have fruit on the branch ends, while second-year branches grow fruit along the entire stem. Prune second year branches to the ground right after they fruit the following summer, and prune first year branches in the spring when they are three to four feet tall.
Keep an eye out for garden pests that plague raspberry bushes. The raspberry cane borer, Japanese beetle, and aphids are common insects that affect these plants.
Removing the bugs by hand, using insecticidal soap, introducing nematodes, and removing damaged plant material are great ways to eliminate these pests. However, use caution when using pesticides since pollination from bees is necessary for berry growth.
Using Fresh Raspberries to Make Quick-Bread
The best thing about planting raspberry bushes is picking all those fresh berries at the end of the growing season. While they taste great fresh or in a jam, we love to use raspberries to make a loaf of quick-bread. This recipe is healthy and a great way to use excess berries from the garden.
Combine the flours, baking soda, baking powder, sugar, and salt. Whisk the egg, egg whites, milk, sour cream, vanilla, applesauce, and oil in another bowl until smooth, and then add the flour mixture.
Stir until moistened and fold in the berries. Pour the batter into a loaf pan lightly coated with cooking spray and bake it in a 375°F oven for about 50 or 60 minutes.
While growing raspberries takes some patience and work, it’s well worth it since you get to harvest fresh berries for making jam or eating straight from the vine. With so many raspberry varieties to choose from, you’re bound to find one to suit your taste and garden space.
Now that you know how to plant raspberries from seeds and young plants, why not share our raspberry planting guide and growing tips with the gardeners in your life on Pinterest and Facebook?