Growing Raspberry Plants – The How, Where, When and Why

home grown raspberry plants

If you’ve found this because you’ve decided to grow raspberries, well done. In the fruit garden nothing can be more rewarding (if you love raspberries) than picking punnets of deliciously fresh, sweet raspberries. Personally, I find strawberries too sweet so I might sound a bit bias, but that’s just my preference.

Apart from supplying you with oodles of berries through out the summer and autumn seasons they are ridiculously easy to care & maintain. Depending on the varieties (see below)  you select, you can have raspberries all the way from late June until up to the first frosts.

Where to plant raspberry plants?

Any spot in your garden or allotment that is semi-shade to full sun. The more sun the more fruit!

A clay soil is fine if your prepared to work it a little by digging in plenty of organic manure, preferably a couple of weeks before planting our your new bare root canes.

Which raspberry plants are best?

With so many varieties available that’s a tricky one to answer. If, like me, you want raspberries from the start of summer all they way up to the first frosts of winter then go for a mixture.

3 great varieties I would whole heartedly recommend if you want successional raspberries to enjoy for months are :

Glen Moy (early Summer fruiting)

Glen Ample (mid – late summer)

Autumn Bliss (autumn fruiting)

How to plant raspberry canes?

So the twigs have arrived (canes) and you might be wondering what you’ve just paid for? Fear not, the magic will happen.

If your planting more than 1 or 2 plants and are going for a row (highly recommended) Then the process is straight forward. Each bare root raspberry cane can be planted with around an 18” spacing between canes.

Step 1.

Depending on the amount of canes you wish to plant measure the total length on the ground and dig in some rich organic compost or manure (not mushroom compost).

Step 2.

Raspberries need supporting. They are top heavy plants when full of fruit and foliage. Wind and heavy rains could have them sagging over to the point of damaging the plant. As such I would strongly recommend constructing a post and wire configuration. This does not need to be technical or an architect to draw it up J

Step 3.

Planting is simple. Just scrape some soil back, lay the roots out in the shallow trench and firm in with soil. Easy! Do not plant deeply, raspberries are very shallow rooted.

Step 4.

Water in. Very important. Do not skip this step.

Step 5.

Mulching is very important for raspberries. Firstly they like cool moist soil. By adding a good layer of mulch this will keep the roots cool from the sun bearing down on them and help keep moisture in the soil.

Secondly, being shallow rooted weeding can be difficult. Mulch will stop those pesky weeds, and save much time during the growing seasons. It’s a win win, mulch mulch mulch.

Tie in canes as they grow onto the supporting wires and enjoy, your sumptuous fruit is on its way!

How and when to prune

There really can’t be anything simpler than pruning raspberries. Most summer fruiting raspberries are what is called ‘floricane’. Floricane raspberries fruit on the previous years canes. So, in the Autumn cut down all canes that have produced fruit to ground level leaving the current years unfruited canes for next year. Simple as that.

Autumn fruiting raspberries, technically know as ‘primocane’ really couldn’t be easier. Cut down everything to ground level in winter. That’s it. Done, nothing more needed. How easy is that?

Some raspberry varieties can be a bit thorny, although there are varieties that are thorn free available so a couple of items I do recommend. A good pair of gardening gloves and a sharp, clean set of pruners.

How to care for your raspberry plants.

Nothing much needed. A good balanced fertiser in Spring, tying in the canes when needed. The pruning mentioned above and a good top up of mulch to keep those weeds down.  Something also to mention, birds and mammals will happily munch away on your prized crop before you get to them given half the chance. Long term I would seriously consider a cage to protect your fruit. There are some great value for money, self-assembly ones available,

Using raspberries in the kitchen.

Raspberries freeze well but I would recommend laying them out flat on a tray and letting them freeze before bagging them up for storage in the freezer (so they don’t all squish together)

From muffins to sponges, sorbets to possets the recipes for raspberries are endless.

Stuck for Space? Only have a balcony?

Some varieties of raspberry do very well in garden pots, planters & containers. Growing raspberries in pots