Raspberry Plants

raspberry plants

Raspberries:a Garden Must!

Many years ago I bought a house in Wisconsin with a huge backyard. Large areas were devoted to fruit trees,vegetables,flowers and my special favorites like strawberries and raspberries. Growing raspberries has now become a must for any garden of mine. They taste great fresh or in desserts and are relatively easy to grow. My first experience really sold me. Got lucky I guess and after a few years had to invite friends over to pick them,just to keep up. Fresh raspberries in the grocery stores today cost an arm and a leg;so why not give them a try.

Raspberries are a type of bramble,like blackberries and are also known as “Cane berries”Raspberries are different from blackberries in that the fruit has a hollow core that remains on the plant when you pick the raspberry. The most common way of growing raspberries is in rows spaced 6 to 12 feet apart. Raspberries are wonderful for jam,to eat fresh,or to use in a variety of desserts. Raspberries are a very healthy food;they are high in Vitamin C and naturally have no fat,cholesterol or sodium.


The key to obtaining good berries is to have good soil with even moisture when the berries are setting flower and fruit. A berry grows a cane the first year but doesn’t produce fruit on it. The second year,this cane fruits and then dies. (not the plant,just the cane) This year should be good for picking and the following great,if all goes well.


Raspberry canes are of two types,primo canes and flori canes. Canes can grow quite long but ideally should be about 3 feet high. Put new canes 18-inches apart in the rows. In the early spring,you reduce the number of canes to six in each square foot. Do this by removing all the dead canes first –they will be brown and gray in color. The common method of pruning ever bearing raspberries is simply to cut all of the canes down to about 1 inch from the ground. After the season is over,you just prune down the old canes that have died.

Soil for best growth

In many cases,these plants aren’t fussy and will grow just fine in an average,well-drained garden soil. The site should have full exposure to sun,good air circulation,and protection from cold in winter and well-drained soil. Before planting mix about 3 pounds of 10-10-10 or equivalent fertilizer per 100 square feet of soil. This seems to give them a great start. Raspberries will grow and produce on many different types of soil but will be most productive on sandy loam soils well supplied with organic matter and plant nutrients. The soil should be well drained and have a pH of about 5. A mulch of straw,saw dust,or other appropriate material can be very helpful for weed control,and soil moisture conservation in the raspberry plantings where soil drains well.

Raspberry Varieties

The most popular raspberries are red,but newer golden,black or purple varieties are also occasionally available. Recent breeding has resulted in varieties that are thorn less and upright –requiring no staking. Ever-bearing varieties produce fruit in the summer as well as the fall,while summer-bearing varieties only produce fruit in the summer. Raspberry plants can also be divided into categories by color;varieties may produce reddish fruit or fruit in shades of yellow/gold,purple,and black. Wild raspberries,which grow abundantly but are smaller in size,are similar in texture and flavor of both black and red varieties. Purple raspberries are hybrids of red and black varieties. The black and purple varieties are grown mostly in the Eastern States. Raspberries grow well in cool,damp climates,and the red varieties,such as Heritage and Malling Jewel,are the most commonly sold,though you can also find black,yellow and golden types. Suggested summer-bearing red raspberry varieties for the Midwest include Boyne,Liberty,Heritage,Red Wing,and Latham. The best purple raspberry varieties are Brandywine and Royalty. There are also several yellow raspberry varieties (cultivars). Traditionally raspberries were a late summer crop,but with new technology,varieties and innovations,raspberries can be enjoyed nearly year-round.

Disease and Insects

Raspberries are affected by a wide range of diseases and insects,as are most cultivated plants. By buying from a local nursery or a regional mail-order supplier,you can purchase plants that are disease-free and reliably winter-hardy in your growing zone. To lessen the chances of disease,avoid growing raspberries on ground that has recently been growing a member of the Nightshade Family,or where some other tree fruits or wild brambles have grown before. The raspberry must be kept free of weeds,watered when necessary,fertilized,pruned regularly,kept free of insect and disease pests,and in some cases,supported with a trellis. The common diseases on raspberries are mosaic virus,orange rust,anthracnose,cane blight,spur blight,crown or cane gall,and verticillium wilt. It pays to seek out trees and shrubs that have some natural resistance to disease. They should be located where there is good air circulation so their leaves will dry quickly,since moisture helps spread disease. The most obvious symptom of the disease is numerous purplish streaks that appear on the lower parts of infected canes. Dig out the diseased plants,including roots,and dispose of them away from the planting site. Be sure to remove the pruned canes to avoid spreading diseases. Good air circulation is important in reducing damage from spring frosts,winter injury,and diseases.

Actually,the biggest problem most home gardeners have in growing raspberries is the invasion of cane diseases like anthracnose and spur blight,which can severely damage a nice raspberry patch. But for me the most difficult part of growing raspberries is waiting for next spring when all those great,wonderful tasting berries arrive and creating brand new raspberry recipes.

About the Author

Robert Schpok is an avid gardener who has used his gardening skills to greatly enhance his culinary techniques and ability to create great new recipes. Gain valuable Gardening insight and make cooking fun at his newest site Got-Eats.

Cutting Raspberry Plants

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