Blackberry Bushes – A Guide To Growing & Caring For Blackberries in the UK

When you think of blackberry bushes and other related berries, you probably associate them with pesky nettles and thorns. However, blackberries can be grown in different ways to suit your garden – whether this means a container, trellis, arches, or along walls and fences. You can also buy thornless varieties that are perfect for pot-grown blackberries.

a growing blackberry bush with ripening fruits
Blackberry bushes are a rewarding addition to any fruit garden.

You may wonder why you would want to grow your own when there is quite clearly an abundance of wild blackberries just about everywhere in the UK? Quite simply, home-grown ones win the taste competition hands-down every time. You also get more consistent sizing with ones grown in your garden. The berries can be harvested from July through to September.

You will reap the rewards of your blackberry bush after its second year. The pretty white and pale pink flowers blossom in May and June, giving way to impressive crops later in the summer. Blackberries can be consumed fresh in a fruit salad or cereal, or you can turn yours into tasty desserts, jam, preserve or you can bottle the fruit. A trained blackberry bush in the garden will grow to a height of around 2 metres.


Growing Blackberry Bushes

Blackberries are one of the easier fruit bushes to grow, and the results can be very satisfying. Of course, it’s important to provide regular care for your blackberry bush throughout its annual cycle. Keep reading to find out those all-important annual tasks with the fast-growing blackberry bush.

When To Plant Blackberries

The best time to plant your blackberry bush is during the Autumn or early Winter before the frosts come. At this time of year, the ground will be nice and moist but still be quite warm too. Anytime when the ground isn’t under a hard frost is generally considered a safe time.

Where To Plant Blackberry Bushes

Blackberries are one of the few fruits that can tolerate shade well, so you can be a bit more flexible when choosing your spot. Blossoms on blackberry bushes develop later than most, part of the reason they can tolerate a lack of sun. Ideally speaking though, full sun is always best for fruit bushes.

How To Plant Blackberry Bushes

It’s important to leave plenty of space around your chosen spot because blackberries can and do spread well – potentially up to 4 metres wide. You have the option to pot your bush or plant bare-rooted. Bare-rooted plants should be soaked before planting for optimum results. The bush’s crown should be level with the soil – to find the crown you need to look where the stem and the roots meet. Soil should be well-drained and they will appreciate some mulch added.


Growing Blackberry Bushes in Pots

If your garden is prone to water logging you may be wiser growing your blackberry bush in a pot. It will need repotting regularly as it grows and will need extra support as it gains height too. Be sure you have good drainage in your pot so the roots aren’t destroyed.

Blackberry Supports & Trellises

Many new varieties of blackberries now exist and you can now choose from a range of thornless ones. This is good news for those hands as they prune and support the bush. All blackberry bushes need a support system in place but these don’t have to cost the earth.

  • Wooden posts and wire: Post will need to be roughly 1.8 metres tall with two rows of wire, one 75cm off the ground and the other row near the top. You may need additional posts for the more vigorous plant types. You will tie the canes to the wires from June time and repeat as they grow.
  • A wall or fence can be used – ideal if you already have either of those in the garden. These need to be 1.5 to 2 metres high and wires spaced 45cm apart.
  • You could also opt for trellis support as long as it’s big enough to allow the bush to develop.

Blackberry FAQ’s

Blackberries may be in abundance in the wild and also pretty easy to grow here in UK gardens but that doesn’t mean there aren’t still niggly questions left to answer.

Are Blackberry Bushes Self Pollinating?

All blackberry bushes are self-pollinating so you only need one to produce your fruit. Blackberry bushes produce fruit at an impressive rate year after year.

When Do Blackberries Flower?

Your blackberry bush will flower anytime between May and June depending how much sun is available.

When to harvest Blackberries?

Blackberries will be ready to pick from July to September, again depending on their position in the garden.

How Do You Prune Blackberries?

Regular pruning is required for blackberries due to how fast they grow and how wide they will spread if left untrained. Any stems that produced fruit earlier in the growing season can be removed – this encourages new healthy growth. It’s important that as much light can get through the bush as possible. Try to keep stems away from ground level as this will help prevent diseases from taking hold. Do not prune stems that haven’t grown any blackberries as these will appear next season.

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