Did you know that there are more than 200 unique types of raspberries? In this article, discover a few of the best varieties of raspberries for growing in your garden at home. Nothing compares to the taste of freshly picked, sun-ripened raspberries.
Different types of raspberries vary in color, taste, growth habits, and harvest time. Before shopping for raspberry plants at your local plant nursery, it’s helpful to know which varieties grow best in your climate.
A few critical considerations include your USDA planting zone, your intended culinary uses, and how much space you have available for your raspberry patch. Do you prefer traditional red raspberries, or would you rather grow yellow or purple raspberries?
Best Varieties of Raspberries for Home Gardeners
With so many diverse alternatives to choose between, selecting which raspberry types to plant might seem overwhelming at first. Read on to learn key differences between some of the most common types of raspberries and how to pick out the cultivars that suit your needs best.
Raspberry plants are in the Rosaceae or rose family and thrive in moist, cool climates. They grow best in USDA hardiness zones 3-9, unlike the many varieties of huckleberries, which grow ideally in zones 7-9.
Raspberries require consistently damp soil that’s rich in organic matter. While they usually prefer full sun, the way to grow raspberries also includes partial shade if that’s the best you can provide. In warmer regions, provide the plants with protection from intense afternoon sunlight.
Over time, raspberry brambles spread out and may become difficult to manage without consistent pruning. It’s helpful to train the long vines to climb a trellis.
The most well-known raspberry varieties are red raspberries (Rubus idaeus), which are native to Europe and northern Asia. Black raspberries (Rubus occidentalis) come from North America. Yellow raspberries (Rubus ellipticus) originated in southern Asia.
It’s vital to distinguish between everbearing and summer-bearing varieties when choosing which raspberry types to plant. In addition to bearing fruit at varying times of the growing season, they must also be pruned differently.
Watch for problems with raspberry plants like disease or insects no matter what type you have to ensure you can harvest a good crop.
Everbearing Raspberry Types
Everbearing raspberries, or primocanes, produce fruit on first year canes in late summer and fall. Since they grow new canes every year, prune your primocane raspberries to the ground in late winter or early spring before the plants come out of dormancy.
They tend to yield more berries than summer-bearing varieties. The majority of everbearing raspberry types are red.
Amity raspberries produce large, dark red berries twice per growing season, mid-summer and early fall. They’re hardy in USDA zones 3-8.
Autumn Bliss is an excellent variety for warmer Southern climates, thriving in USDA zones 6-8. It is also cultivated as a summer annual in zones 9-10 for a fall crop of large, juicy red raspberries. This cultivar sends out fewer root suckers than most others and is resistant to root rot.
Caroline raspberries have an excellent flavor for eating fresh or making baked goods, preserves, and sauces. This fall-bearing raspberry variety yields bright red berries from late summer until the first frost. The plants are resistant to fungal diseases like root rot and gray mold and grow best in USDA zones 4-9.
If you’re searching for a delightful way to use up all those yummy raspberries, try making this quick and easy recipe for raspberry crumble. With just 15 minutes prep time, you can enjoy delicious baked treats without spending all day in the kitchen.
Start by preheating your conventional oven to 350℉. Prepare a nine-by-nine-inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray.
In a large mixing bowl, stir the sugar and cornstarch with the raspberries. Scoop the berries into the prepared baking dish and sprinkle the leftover sugar and cornstarch mixture on top.
Whisk the flour and brown sugar in another mixing bowl. Cut in the butter cubes with a pastry blender or by hand until evenly distributed. Use your fingers to pinch the mixture and form crumbs.
Top the raspberry filling with the crumble topping in an even layer. Bake your raspberry crumble for 30-45 minutes until the center is bubbling and the top is golden brown.
Serve with whipped cream, ice cream, or your favorite topping. If you have any leftovers, store them refrigerated in an airtight container for up to five days.
Summer-Bearing Raspberry Varieties
Summer-bearing or floricane raspberries are biennial and develop berries once yearly on second year canes. During the first year, their canes remain vegetative, even if you are companion planting raspberries with other plants. Prune the fruiting canes from your summer-bearing raspberries in late fall to promote vigorous new growth the following spring.
Floricanes start fruiting earlier than primocane cultivars, usually in June or July. The fruit-bearing canes appear woody and brown, while the new growth is supple and green.
Boyne is a particularly cold-hardy red raspberry cultivar developed in Canada in 1960. Fruit production begins in early summer, and the plants provide reliably high yields. They’re remarkably disease resistant, have a relatively compact growth habit, and grow best in USDA zones 3-7.
Red Latham is a dependably cold-tolerant, disease-resistant raspberry that ripens in mid-summer. The summer crop of wonderfully sweet red raspberries is perfect for eating fresh or making your favorite raspberry recipes. This cultivar is suitable for USDA zones 3-8.
There are many great uses for fresh raspberries in the kitchen. If you’re in more of a savory mood, this recipe for a fresh raspberry marinade is perfect for pairing with chicken breasts or pork tenderloin, or use it as a salad dressing for a fruity twist.
Whisk all of the ingredients in a medium-sized mixing bowl until well-blended. Marinate your chicken, pork, or other meat for at least four hours before cooking. If you don’t use all of your homemade raspberry marinade immediately, store it in an airtight container for up to two weeks.
Thornless Types of Raspberries
One of the less pleasant parts of gathering those delicious, juicy raspberries is navigating the sharp thorns. Some growers prefer planting thornless varieties of raspberries for easier harvesting and pruning.
Canby is an outstanding thornless raspberry variety that offers large, sweetly tangy raspberries without the prickly canes. This summer-bearing raspberry cultivar begins fruiting in June and flourishes in USDA zones 3-8. While you can grow raspberries from seeds like the thornless ones, it takes much longer to grow.
Black raspberries tend to be sweeter and contain more antioxidants than their red counterparts. They also tend to be challenging to find in grocery stores and farmer’s markets, so growing them in your home garden is a real treat.
As long as you practice cutting back raspberry bushes on a schedule, Bristol black raspberries have excellent flavor and grow in large, easy-to-pick clusters. This summer-bearing variety begins fruiting in mid-summer and is resistant to powdery mildew. Bristol raspberries are hardy in USDA zones 4-8.
Brandywine is a hybrid cross between a red and black raspberry, making it one of the few cultivars of true purple raspberries. When to pick raspberries is important so they are at maximum ripeness. The extra-large, tangy berries ripen from July to early September. This variety is best suited for USDA zones 4-8.
Jewel is an outstanding black raspberry type that produces a prolific harvest of large, firm berries that ripen from red to black in early to mid-summer. The plants do well in USDA zones 5-8.
With a sweetly mild flavor, yellow raspberries are less common than black or red raspberries. Also called golden raspberries or Himalayan raspberries, they range in color from pale yellow to orange-gold.
Fall Gold is one of the most common types of everbearing yellow raspberries and grows in USDA zones 4-8. The large, juicy berries have a golden apricot color and ripen from late summer through autumn. The primocanes produce a second, smaller berry crop in early summer during their second year unless otherwise pruned.
Growing raspberries in your home garden is always a worthwhile endeavor. Whether you plant seeds, container-grown plants, or bare-root specimens, it’s vital to understand the differences between the various raspberry types.
You’ll feel confident when you go to the plant nursery and select the cultivars that will thrive in your garden.
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