Have you always wanted to grow raspberries but don’t have a permanent place? Or doesn’t your planting area get a lot of sun? Maybe your apartment doesn’t have a garden or garden, but a sunny balcony or terrace?
Growing raspberry plants in containers is easy and if you choose the right varieties, you can even harvest fresh raspberries several times during the season!
There are also practical reasons for growing raspberries in containers:
- Raspberries in pots can be brought to a sunny place or to a new location
- The nutrient content and the health of the soil can be controlled
- Invasive spread is included
Now is the perfect time to grow raspberries in containers! We share the right techniques to get you started. But let’s start with a few great suggestions for perfect raspberry growing!
Good products for growing raspberries:
Brief instructions on care
|Common Name (s)
|Red raspberry, European raspberry
|Months of harvest
|Summer camp June / July; Perennial varieties, June and September
|Slightly acidic (pH 6.0-6.2), rich, well-drained
|Compost and balanced organic NPK fertilizer
|Aphids, reed borer, raspberry beetle / fruit worm, birds
|Anthracnose, spur rot, sugar cane rot, botrytis fruit rot (gray mold), raspberry leaf curl virus
Best raspberries for containers
There are some newer bush raspberry varieties that are entirely made for containers, but traditional summer fruit varieties and perennial varieties are also good for pots. When choosing your variety, decide when you want to harvest your berries. Summer fruit varieties ripen for a month at the end of June, and always-bearing varieties eject ripe berries in both midsummer and early autumn.
When we think of raspberries, we usually think of the red, bite-sized fruit (Rubus idaeus), but keep in mind that there are other varieties that produce delicious yellow or golden, purple, and black berries. I am often surprised by the sweet, typical raspberry taste of yellow / gold varieties because they look like they should taste like something else!
There are many types of raspberry plants that work well in a container garden. It is recommended to plant certified disease-free plants from nurseries. Read on for some ideas.
Raspberry shortcake: These bush raspberries are designed to grow in containers. The plants are compact and thornless with a round bush shape that is breathtaking for landscaping. The easy-to-harvest red berries ripen in midsummer. Raspberry Shortcake is self-pollinating and doesn’t need to be staked out since its sticks are close together and only reach a height of 2 to 3 feet.
Heritage raspberry bush: Heritage is an everlasting bush variety that grows well in containers without support. Heritage is the most common red variety and grows in most climates and up to 5 to 6 feet tall. Berries are large and freeze well.
Red latham: Red Latham is a self-pollinating summer variety that bears fruit from late June to mid-July. The sticks reach heights of 4 to 6 feet and produce bright red berries. With less foliage than other varieties, it is convenient to grow in containers and it has to be staked out.
Anne: Anne is a self-pollinating, always bearing variety that produces sweet, light yellow berries. New sticks will bear fruit in the fall of their first year and in the early summer of their second year. The producers rave about their sweet taste and hardiness.
Glencoe Purple Thornless Floricane Raspberry: Glencoe Purple is a cross between black and red raspberry plants, which results in its beautiful purple color and excellent taste. It is a non-common, bushy variety that reaches less than three feet in height, making it great for a container garden. Tolerates heat better than some varieties.
Cultivation of raspberries in containers
After you have some ideas for growing varieties, here are some tips for growing raspberries in a container.
Growing raspberries in wide and deep pots ensures that your plants have enough space for new growth and piles or grids when support is needed. A stick would fit nicely in a 16-inch pot, and if you’re planting multiple sticks, try half-barrels or 5-gallon buckets. Grow bags are also an option, but may be less stable than plastic or wooden planters. Remember that containers need drainage holes or are made of fleece to allow excess water to drain away. Raspberries hate having “wet legs”.
Summer-bearing varieties need support because their sticks tend to be taller and bend with summer fruits. There are many ways to support your sticks. Depending on the shape of your container, tomato cages work well. A simpler, budget-friendly option is to push tall garden posts into the perimeter of each container and tie cords to support them at multiple heights.
A key benefit of container gardening is the ability to control soil type and nutrients. Raspberries in pots require a slightly acidic (pH 6.0-6.2), nutrient-retaining, well-drained soil. For comparison: blueberries need a fairly acidic soil around pH 4.5-5.5.
Any good, packaged potting soil works well for these containers, although it is important to supplement the potting soil with acidifying elements such as compost, aged manure, or peat moss. Compost and manure also provide important nutrients and peat moss helps to retain moisture. A balanced NPK rounds off the nutritional needs. See the Fertilization section below for more details.
Raspberries are sold as either dormant or living potted plants. Bare-root sticks look pretty shaggy and nondescript, and you might feel the urge to put more than one stick in a small container. For plant health and dynamite berry production, stick to one stick per 16-inch container and several sticks per 5-gallon container or larger.
Once you’ve put the modified potting compost in your container, make a hole big enough for your rootless plant to sit comfortably without overfilling its roots. The soil should cover the plant about 1 to 3 inches above the roots. Gently press the soil around the roots and water well. Make sure to add more soil if you find the soil settles down after watering.
The method of transplanting a living potted plant is almost identical, except that it should be set to the same depth at which it was grown in the pot.
After transplanting root-free or live potted plants, add your stakes or grids so you don’t damage the roots by adding them later. Mulch the surface of the floor with straw, wood shavings or similar organic material. Mulching helps to control weeds and, especially with raspberries, maintains moisture.
Caring for your raspberry planter
Now that your plants are in their spacious pots, some conditions must be met to ensure a good harvest.
Sunlight & temperature
Raspberries tolerate partial shade, but your berry harvest will be much better if you find full sun. However, raspberries are sensitive to high temperatures and are best suited for growth zones 4-8. Special varieties have been developed that thrive in zone 9 and higher. So when you buy your plants, make sure they fit your zone well.
In general, a container garden needs more water than plants growing in the ground because it is exposed to the elements and offers less protection from them. Avoid planting in unglazed terracotta pots, as these wick moisture away from the ground particularly quickly.
The key is to keep the soil evenly moist but not wet. Watering 2-3 times a week is usually sufficient. In windy areas, hot, dry climates, or during heat waves, you may need to water your potted raspberries several times a day. A drinking hose can provide slow, deep irrigation.
Once your plants stop producing berries, you no longer need to water them regularly.
If you live in an area with harsh winters, you should overwinter your pots in an unheated garage. Water the plants only enough to keep them alive in the winter months and bring them back to a sunny place after your region’s frost-free date.
Adding a balanced fertilizer when preparing your soil for planting provides a nutrient boost for your plants. Combined with compost at the time of planting, a powdered organic 10-10-10 fertilizer will help maintain your plants for 3-4 months. While the plants are growing, you can also add a liquid seaweed fertilizer leaf spray once or twice a month for continuous support.
In the spring after your first growing season, re-fertilize your raspberry containers with the 10-10-10 fertilizer, once in March and again in May. Add compost to the container throughout the season and mulch the surface of the soil to control weeds and moisture.
Red and yellow varieties produce new green sticks called Primocanes every year. Primocanes do not produce fruit in the first year. They brown and ripen from season to season and are ready to produce fruit in the second year. This is important for the cutting and maintenance of your plants.
Pruning is necessary several times during the season:
- Remove damaged or sick sticks in spring
- Mid season for size and height control
- Autumn cleaning after harvest to prepare the plants for winter
Fall cleaning is the most pruning time. Cut large green sticks to 4 to 5 feet and cut the weak sticks to 1 inch with good pruning shears. Cut brown sticks that bear fruit to the bottom line. Prune in dry weather to avoid harmful fungal diseases.
For a spring start, overwinter your potted raspberries in an unheated garage or shed. With rare watering they become dormant. Bringing your plants to a sunny, warm place in spring and adding water will wake them up.
Although there are only a handful of problems to be aware of, they can become major problems. Read on to find out how best to avoid these problems before you start.
Aphids pierce individual plant cells and devour plant juices. If you see curly, yellow, or malformed leaves on your plants, you may have aphid problem. Look for the tiny insects on the underside of leaves and plant stems. A neem oil spray is effective in combating these pests.
Pipe drill are beetle pests that eat the tips of new plant sticks. If you notice that the tips of your sticks look withered, take a closer look! The beetles are slender and ¼ inch long, with a copper-red neck. Their larvae are white and pit-like. For treatment, prune the sticks at least 6 inches below where the wilting begins. This should also remove any lurking larvae.
Raspberry beetle / fruit worm damage is easy to see. Small, red-brown beetle adults skeletonize new leaves and sticks. Fruit worms are their larvae burrowing in fruit caps, and the worms are obvious. Hand picking the tiny worms is possible, but a Bacillus thurigiensis spray can be more effective. Bacillus thurigiensis is certified for use in organic gardens and does not harm bees and other beneficial insects.
Birds like to eat raspberries like you! If your birds in the neighborhood are interested in your ripe berries, cover the plants with a protective net.
Fungus like Anthracnose, Spur rot, and Sugar cane rot cause spreading pits, stains and wounds on the sticks and eventually the death of plants. Fungi thrive in damp conditions and spread from plant to plant through water spray. Fungi are difficult to treat and can last 2 years or more. Infected sticks should be pruned and destroyed (not composted). Disease prevention is your best bet: prune only in dry weather, keep plants healthy by watering and fertilizing them appropriately, and buy resistant varieties.
Botrytis fruit rot (Gray mold) attacks blackberries and other berries in prolonged rainy, cloudy and warm weather. Flowers and fruits are covered with flaky, gray powder and spread to nearby fruits when picked. Botrytis fruit rot can be avoided. Your containers need good drainage, lots of air between leaves and plants and full sun. If you see gray mold on your berries, remove them and dispose of them carefully.
Raspberry leaf curl virus is an incurable disease caused by aphids. Signs of the disease include discolored, curled leaves, brittle sticks and crumbly fruit. Treatment of this disease is to remove the infected plants. When purchasing plants, make sure that they are certified virus-free. It is also important to clean your secateurs and other garden tools to prevent disease from spreading to healthy plants.
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