How to Grow Blackberry and Raspberry Plants

Learn how to grow blackberries and raspberries.

All blackberry and raspberry plants are self-fertile and will have good fruit

production on their own. However, if a second variety is planted nearby, they will

have heavier fruit production. Upright blackberry and raspberry plants should be

planted 3 to 5 feet apart in full sun. Plant in soil with a pH level of 6.0 to 6.5 with

the crown (where the root system begins) no more than ½ inch below the

ground’s surface. Raspberry and Blackberry plants generally begin producing in

2 to 3 years. Typical fruit yield is 2 to 4 quarts per plant.

Links to recipes can be found at the bottom of this document.


Planting Blackberry Plants



Space plants at least 3 feet apart with rows about five-eight feet apart. Blackberry

plants produce fruit on second year shoots called floricanes. During that second

year’s growth when the cane is flowering and fruiting, the plant is producing new

first year shoots called primocanes. At the end of each year, prune out the

floricanes, which were the branches that flowered and fruited that season. The

next year, the previous season’s primocanes are now floricanes, and they are

flowering and fruiting and the cycle continues. As a reminder to you as which

canes flowered and fruited, tie a string or ribbon around them to know which

canes to remove at the end of that season.

Rule of thumb: If the cane/limb hasn’t flowered, DO NOT cut if off.


Planting Raspberry Plants


Raspberry plants also prefer full sun and thrive in soil with a pH of 6.5. Soil

testing is the best way to determine the condition of your soil and what needs to

be added to balance it out. Based on results of the soil testing, apply fertilizer in

March and for fall bearing raspberries, such as Heritage, make another

application in May.


Raspberry plants should be planted about 2-3 feet apart with rows that are 3-5

feet apart. Most red raspberries have a more erect type of growth and can be

kept in shrub form especially if lightly pruned. For those who want the plants to

grow as tall as possible, a simple trellis can be installed to hold the taller growing


Canes that flower and fruit should be removed at the ground level after they have

fruited or during fall/winter clean up as well as any damaged, dead or weaker

growing canes. The smaller growing canes that are produced during the growing

season are vegetative canes, which should be thinned out, as they will produce

fruit the following year.

Rule of thumb: If a cane/limb hasn’t flowered or fruited, DO NOT cut if off.

Fall bearing raspberries, such as the Heritage variety can be mowed off about 2-

3 inches from the ground after fall fruiting if only a fall crop is wanted. If both

crops are wanted, then prune as regular raspberries.

Raspberry and Blackberry plants will provide enjoyment for about 8 to 12 years if

regularly maintained.

Just as with strawberry plants, raspberry and blackberry plants should not be

planted where eggplants, peppers, potatoes or tomatoes have been grown within

the past 3 years.

More Information on Growing Raspberry and Blackberry Plants:

University of Kentucky Extension Site


Pruning Raspberry and Blackberry Plants:

The University of Tennessee Extension Site also offers detailed

information on pruning and extended care of your blackberry and raspberry

plants. The file contains many drawing to further explain the procedures.


Blackberry and Raspberry Recipes:

Wine Making

Family Herbal Remedies

University of Georgia on Jelly Making

Blackberry Recipes

Raspberry Recipes

Raspberry Wine


Blackberry plants will fall into one of two types: the ones that grow in an upright

erect habit and the trailing ones that need support or trellising. The upright

varieties grow much as most other shrubs do. The trailing varieties often produce

new plants from their root system. To keep this type of growth limited, the roots

should be contained. “Planting” a barrier that is about one foot deep around the

perimeter of the planting area will keep the roots from spreading and producing

unwanted growth. Many materials will work for the barrier. Use what is available

as long as it will prevent root expansion.

Blackberry plants like full sun and a pH of approximately 6.0 to 6.5. Testing the

soil before planting is easier should amendments be required. Fertilizer will vary

with the type of plant and the soil conditions. Again, soil testing is highly

recommended before applying any fertilizer, as fertilizer is only used to balance

out the soil. After seeing the test results, apply fertilizer in early spring.

Just as with strawberry plants, raspberry and blackberry plants should not be

planted where eggplants, peppers, potatoes or tomatoes have been grown within

the past 3 years.