Raspberry Planting Guide: Tips for Perfectly Ripe Homegrown Raspberries

Imagine stepping out into your yard and picking sweet, juicy raspberries right from your own garden. It’s not only a delicious treat but also a rewarding experience. If you’re ready to start growing your own raspberries, you’ve come to the right place! In this article, I’ll guide you through the process of planting raspberries, from choosing the best soil to caring for your plants. So let’s dig in and get planting!

How Raspberries Grow

Raspberries are not trees, but fruiting brambles that can reach a height of up to 9 feet. They belong to the plant genus Rubus and come in various colors, including black, white, red, purple, and yellow. The most popular and recognizable are the red raspberries, known as rubus idaeus.

Raspberry plants have a perennial root system and crown, allowing them to bear fruit for up to 20 years. However, the canes themselves are biennial, meaning they live for two years. The first year canes, called primocanes, do not bear fruit. It’s the second-year canes, known as floricanes, that produce the delicious berries.

Raspberry Varieties

There are many raspberry varieties to choose from, each with its own unique characteristics. For my own garden, I’ve selected two red thornless varieties: Encore Red Raspberry and Crimson Night. These self-pollinating varieties allow me to extend my harvest throughout the year. Other popular varieties include Heritage, Anne, Joan, Jewel, and Fall Gold.

If you have a favorite raspberry variety or any tips for growing raspberries in your climate, I’d love to hear about it in the comments!

Best Place to Plant Raspberries

For my garden, I’ve decided to plant raspberries alongside my blackberries in my trellis area. Raspberries thrive best in full sun, meaning they need 6-8 hours of sunlight per day. However, they can tolerate partial shade better than other fruiting plants. Keep in mind that excessive sunlight can cause sunscald, which turns the berries white and affects their flavor. But don’t worry, there are ways to deal with this issue if it occurs.

In North America, raspberries are not considered invasive since they’re native plants. However, they do send out vigorous suckers, so you’ll need to regularly prune or dig around the perimeter of your raspberry bed. If your beds are surrounded by grass, like mine, the lawnmower will take care of any errant suckers.

Best Time to Plant Raspberries

The best time to plant raspberries is in early spring when the soil is workable and the ground has thawed. If your canes are dormant with no leaves or new growth, you can even plant them before the last frost date in late winter. However, if you’re planting in fall or other times of the year, make sure to protect the plants from hard frost.

Regardless of the planting season, avoid exposing the roots to freezing temperatures during planting. Get the plants into the ground as quickly as possible to minimize stress.

Raspberry Plant Spacing

When planning your raspberry bed, aim for a row width of 12-18 inches, no wider than 2.5 feet. Within the rows, space each plant 2-3 feet apart. Depending on the size of your bed, you can determine the number of plants you’ll need. Keep in mind that an average raspberry plant yields 1-2 quarts of fruit per year. Stark Bros, a trusted nursery, suggests planting 4-5 plants per person in your family.

Raspberry Drainage and Soil

Raspberries are prone to root rot and require well-draining soil. Before planting, prepare the soil by tilling it using a broadfork or consider planting in raised beds if your soil is compacted. If necessary, amend the soil with organic matter such as compost to improve both drainage and fertility. Apply compost at a rate of 3 ½ cubic feet per 100 square feet.

Fertilizing Raspberries and Soil pH

When planting raspberries in late winter or spring, you can fertilize the bed with a 10-10-10 fertilizer at a rate of 25 lbs. per 1000 square feet. Alternatively, if you’re planting in summer or fall, avoid fertilizing as it may stimulate new growth that can be damaged by frost.

Raspberries prefer slightly acidic soil with a pH level of 5.6-6.2. You can test your soil pH using an inexpensive kit available online. If needed, you can adjust the pH by using an acid fertilizer. I personally use a 4-3-6 acid fertilizer, which works well for raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries.

How to Plant Raspberries

Most raspberry plants are sold as bareroot canes. Before planting, soak the roots in water for 1-2 hours. If you’re planting potted raspberry plants, no soaking is required. When planting, make sure to position the crown above the soil line, and tamp down the soil to eliminate any air pockets. Water the plants well to settle the soil.

To retain moisture, control weeds, and prevent frost damage, consider mulching around your raspberry plants. However, avoid applying mulch too thickly as it may smother the new raspberry suckers, which will be the source of next year’s fruit.

Unless you have a creeping raspberry variety, provide some form of support such as trellises. Trellises keep the plants upright, improve airflow, and make harvesting easier. Popular trellis designs for red raspberries include V trellises and T trellises with wires placed 3.5 feet apart to accommodate the width of the plants.

Raspberry Plant Care

Caring for raspberries involves various tasks, including pruning, fertilizing, disease and pest management, and proper irrigation. If you’d like to learn more about how to care for your raspberry plants, let me know in the comments, and I’ll be happy to create a separate video on this topic.

I hope this guide helps you successfully plant and grow your own raspberries. If you found this article helpful, don’t forget to subscribe for more gardening tips and tutorials. And if you know someone who would love to learn about raspberry planting, be sure to share this article with them. Happy gardening, and enjoy your bountiful raspberry harvest!