Is there a more idyllic summer scene than picking berries a raspberry plants and popping them straight into your mouth? Searching out the biggest and juiciest raspberry and enjoying the fruity burst of taste, yum!
Growing raspberries is easy and so rewarding when you get your first successful crop. Raspberries make delicious jam, as well as being used in sauces, smoothies, cakes, and as a meringue topper.
About Raspberry Plants in the UK
Raspberries have been cultivated in the UK since the 1600s. They’re thought to originate in East Asia, but are grown successfully throughout much of the world. The raspberry plant is part of the Rosaceae family like many other fruits such as apples and strawberries.
You can have raspberries ready to harvest in the summer or the autumn, depending on which variety you opt for. Your raspberry plant should fruit in its second year so the care put in at the start will reap lots of juicy rewards. Some varieties of raspberries flower before giving way to the fruit. Raspberry plants are typically grown against posts, walls or frames but they can be successful in containers too. You can expect bush heights of around 1.5 metres which is a pretty manageable height for gardens.
Growing Raspberry Plants
Raspberry plants are hardy and simple to get going but this doesn’t mean they don’t need care and attention throughout the year. Read our condensed guide on the annual tasks you need to carry out to ensure a successful crop.
When To Plant
You can plant your raspberry plants anytime between November and March. Canes or pot-grown raspberries can be planted during these months as long as fine soil isn’t frozen.
Where To Plant
Your raspberry bush will thrive best in a sunny spot in your garden, preferably south-facing. They can handle a little shade but do need lots of sun exposure and also well-drained soil.
How To Plant
Raspberry plants can grow quite tall and will need support and the traditional way of supporting the canes is to use wire and posts. Autumn raspberry bushes are typically shorter than the summer varieties so may not need as much support. You can also grow them in containers which will suit the more modest-sized gardens.
How To Prune Raspberry Plants
Raspberry stems are known as primocanes in their first year and floricanes in their second. Pruning your raspberry bush is done to allow the strongest and healthiest stems to grow while cutting back any weak ones.
Pruning of your summer-fruiting varieties should occur after your bush has fruited. During its dormant season, select the best 6-8 primocanes and cut the rest back. During winter you can also thin out the primocanes which can encourage a bigger fruit crop the following year.
Primocanes can be pruned once a year after harvesting or you can prune a stem down below the fruiting area in the autumn time of its first year. The first option means you will get one good-sized fruit crop per year. The second option means you will get a small crop of raspberries during the summer of its second year and another crop in the autumn. The autumn crop will be larger than the summer one.
When To Harvest Raspberries
Summer-fruiting raspberry varieties will be ready to harvest in the early summer months. Autumn varieties can be picked from late summer and well into the autumn. When ready to be picked, the berries come off easily. It’s best to harvest on a dry day so the berries are firmer to select.
Growing Raspberry Plants in Pots
Pot-grown raspberries provide a great alternative for gardeners with smaller spaces. You will need a pot with a diameter of at least 15 inches and canes can be tied onto bamboo canes for support. Raspberries like moist soil and will benefit from a fertiliser too.
Raspberry Supports & Trellises
Using supports and trellises not only gives your fruit crop a boost but also improves quality and makes harvesting easier. You can make your own trellis by simply using posts and wire. Having the right support will also help keep away raspberry pests and diseases.
Raspberry Varieties – A Gardener’s Guide
Raspberries get more interesting with every year that passes because new varieties are being introduced all the time. Raspberry varieties can be planted over the dormant months and ready to eat anywhere between early summer and into the autumn.
Autumn Raspberry Varieties
- Autumn Bliss: these can be grown without much support and they are also quite resistant to aphids. You can expect fruit to be ready between late August through to late October. These grow to a maximum height of 1.5 metres.
- All Gold: a yellow variety of raspberry that produces from mid August through to mid October. These can grow up to 6ft high and they take to containers well.
- Joan J: pruning and harvesting is relatively easy on this variety thanks to its lack of prickles. They provide large first fruit crops and they are a tasty variety with good disease resistance.
Summer Raspberry Varieties
- Tulameen: many retailers stock this raspberry variety because it stores well. This bush can reach 2 metres tall and mid July to mid August is harvesting time.
- Glen Ample: this is the most popular of the raspberry varieties due to high crops and the ability to be grown in pots. The canes on these plants are spine free and are ready to harvest in the summer.
- Malling Admiral: this variety is ready to harvest mid to late summer and is one of the best garden varieties you can grow.
Raspberry Plant FAQ’s
Still confused about what is what when it comes to raspberry plants and their routine? Read our FAQs for everything you need to know.
Most raspberry varieties produce fruit yields in their second year and the fruit can be plentiful.
Yes, raspberries self-pollinate so you don’t need to worry about planting different varieties, or two bushes.
You can expect to see flowers on your raspberry plants during the spring and early summer months.
Growing seeds is a cheaper alternative to buying canes but be mindful that the overall process takes longer. Raspberry seeds can be squeezed out of the fruit and then you can rinse and dry them off. You’ll only need to use one raspberry to get enough seeds to plant with. Plant indoors over the winter and when they germinate and have grown a little (and the frosts have gone) plant them outdoors.
How To Grow Raspberries From Cuttings
Every dedicated gardener loves to multiply their plant stocks. Here’s our guide to getting the most out of your raspberry bushes by propagating more from cuttings.
Offshoots grow during the plant’s second year and these can be removed and then dried out. Once dry you can plant outdoors and water regularly. You’ll know it has rooted if it doesn’t pull away when you try to move it.
These are cuttings which can be taken from new growth during the summer. You only need to take a 4-6 inch cutting and then remove the leaves on the bottom. You can then plant the softwood cutting, dipping in a rooting hormone if desired.
This process is done when the raspberry plant is dormant during the winter months. You should remove the thickest roots and then cut each one at an angle. They should be stored in moist conditions until planted in early spring.