Grow luscious raspberries to tempt the tastebuds

Raspberry 'Polka"

by Ian Hodgson |
Published on

Raspberries are among the easiest and most rewarding soft fruit to grow, producing luscious, tangy berries over a long period.

If you've room, growing a range of early to late varieties will extend the cropping season further from July into autumn.

Although pot-grown plants can be established year-round, now's the time to settle in bare-root plants, before they start to grow away in spring.

Raspberries will grow in most moist, well-drained soil in sun or semi-shade. They need tying to a support structure of canes or wires to prevent stems collapsing.

Cropping in raspberries is divided into early, mid and late varieties.

Early and mid, fruiting in July and August, are known as floricane varieties, producing fruit on canes from the previous year.

Late varieties, fruiting from late August into autumn, are known as primocane varieties and fruit on shoots produced the same year.

This directly influences how they're pruned. The spent fruiting stems of floricane varieties are cut back to just above ground level in autumn, leaving the new unflowered shoots to grow on.

Stems of primocane varieties are all cut to the ground in late autumn or winter to encourage a flush of new growth.

While traditional red raspberries are bred from the European and Asian species Rubus idaeus, black raspberries, such as ‘Black Jewel’ have been bred from an American species R. occidentalis.

Breeders have also focussed on making raspberries more compact, at 90cm-1.2m (3-4ft) tall suitable for growing in patio pots or borders.

Types such as 'Ruby Beauty' are floricane types, which need spent stems cutting out, while ‘Little Sweet Sister’ is a primocane type, which needs cutting back in spring.

Ones to try

'Polka': Autumn variety producing large aromatic berries.

'All Gold': RHS award-winning primocane variety, sweeter and more productive than 'Autumn Bliss'.

'Ruby Beauty': Thornless, compact, summer-fruiting variety. Ideal for tubs or low hedge. H: 90cm (3ft).

'Black Jewel': Easy to grow variety from the USA. Heavy crops of aromatic fruit from mid-late summer.

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