What type of soil is best for growing raspberries in containers?
Have you always longed to cultivate raspberries but lack a permanent location? Maybe your growing area does not get enough sunlight? If your apartment lacks a yard or garden but has a sunny balcony or deck?
Raising raspberry plants in pots is simple, and if you pick the appropriate types, you may be able to harvest fresh raspberries multiple times during the season!
Growing raspberries in containers also has practical benefits:
- Raspberries in pots may be relocated to a sunny location or to a new home.
- The soil’s nutrient concentration and health may be managed.
- Invasive spreading is contained
It’s the ideal time to start growing raspberries in pots! We’ll show you how to get started with the correct methods. But first, here are some terrific tips for the best container raspberries to grow!
Quick Care Guide
|Common Name(s)||Red raspberry, European raspberry|
|Scientific Name||Rubus idaeus|
|Months of Harvest||Summer versions bear in June/July; everbearing variants bear between June and September.|
|Soil||Slightly acidic (pH 6.0-6.2), rich, well-draining|
|Fertilizer||Compost and balanced organic NPK fertilizer|
|Pests||Aphids, cane borers, raspberry beetles/fruitworms, and birds are all pests.|
|Diseases||Anthracnose, spur blight, cane blight, Botrytis fruit rot (gray mold), and raspberry leaf curl virus are also common pests.|
Best Raspberries For Containers
There are some newer bush raspberry varieties completely intended for containers but traditional summer fruiting and everbearing varieties can also do well in pots. While selecting your variety, consider when you want to harvest your berries. Summer fruiting varieties ripen throughout one month around late June and everbearing types kick out ripe berries both in mid-summer and early fall.
When we think of raspberries we usually imagine the red, bite-sized fruits (Rubus idaeus), but keep in mind that there are other varieties that produce delicious yellow or gold, purple, and black berries. I’m sometimes shocked by the sweet, characteristic raspberry flavor of yellow/gold types since they seem to taste like something else!
Several raspberry plant kinds will thrive in a container garden. It is suggested to grow certified disease-free plants from nurseries. Continue reading for some suggestions.
Raspberry Shortcake: These bush raspberries were created specifically for container growing. The plants are compact and thornless with a round, bush shape that is stunning for landscaping. Its easy-to-harvest crimson berries mature in the middle of summer. Raspberry Shortcake is self-pollinating and doesn’t require staking, as its canes are close together and only reach about 2-3 feet in height.
Heritage Raspberry Bush: Heritage is an everbearing shrub that grows nicely in pots without assistance. Heritage is the most popular red cultivar and may grow up to 5-6 feet tall in most conditions. Berries are huge and store nicely in the freezer.
Red Latham is a self-pollinating summer producing cultivar that bears fruit from late June to mid-July. Canes reach a height of 4-6 feet and bear bright red berries. It’s easier to grow in pots and requires propping since it has less leaf than other types.
Anne is a self-pollinating, everbearing cultivar with pleasant, light yellow berries. New canes will bear fruit in the autumn of their first year and early summer of their second. Growers like their sweet flavor and cold-hardiness.
Glencoe Purple Thornless Floricane Raspberry: Glencoe Purple is a cross between black and red raspberry plants, resulting in its lovely purple color and excellent flavor. It’s a non-spreading, bushy variety that reaches less than three feet tall, making it great for a container garden. Heat tolerance is higher than in other types.
Growing Raspberries In Containers
Now that you know which types to cultivate, here are some recommendations for growing raspberries in a container.
Growing raspberries in broad and deep pots will ensure that your plants have ample area for new development as well as any stakes or trellises that may be required for support. One cane would do well in a sixteen-inch pot and if you are planting several canes, try half-barrels or five-gallon buckets. Grow bags (we recommend Root Pouch) are another alternative, although they may be less sturdy than a plastic or wooden planter. Note that containers must have drainage holes or be made of nonwoven material in order for excess water to drain. Raspberries despise “wet legs.”
Summer-bearing varieties need support because their canes tend to be taller and will bend with summer fruit. There are several ways to support your canes. Tomato cages work nicely depending on the design of your container. A simpler, budget-friendly option is to press tall garden stakes into the perimeter of each container and tie twine around them at several heights for support.
The capacity to adjust soil type and nutrients is a significant advantage of container gardening. Raspberries grown in containers need soil that is slightly acidic (pH 6.0-6.2), nutrient-rich, and well-draining. Blueberries, on the other hand, need acidic soil with a pH of 4.5-5.5.
Any good, bagged potting soil will work well for these containers, although it’s important to amend the potting soil with acidifying elements like compost, aged manure, or peat moss. Compost and manure also give critical nourishment, while peat moss aids plant moisture retention. A balanced NPK completes nutritional requirements, and further information may be found in the fertilizing section below.
Raspberries are available as dormant bare-root plants or as live potted plants. Bare-root canes look rather scraggly and unimpressive and you may feel the urge to pack more than one cane into a small container. For plant health and dynamite berry production, stick to one cane per sixteen inch container, and several canes per 5-gallon container or larger.
Once you’ve put together the amended potting soil mixture in your container, make a hole large enough for your bare-root plant to sit comfortably without crowding its roots. The soil should be 1 to 3 inches above the plant’s roots. Water well after gently pressing the dirt around the roots. If the earth dips low after watering, be sure to add extra soil.
The procedure for transplanting a live potted plant is virtually same, with the exception that it should be placed at the same depth it was growing in the container.
After transplanting bare-root or live potted plants, add your stakes or trellises so you don’t damage roots by adding them later. Cover the soil with straw, wood chips, or other organic material. Mulching helps reduce weeds and, more significantly, retains moisture for raspberries.
Caring For Your Raspberry Planter
Now that your plants have established in their large pots, a few requirements must be followed to ensure a bountiful crop.
Sunlight & Temperature
Raspberries may take some shade, but if you can locate full sun, your berry harvest will grow much greater. Nevertheless, raspberries are heat sensitive and grow best in growth zones 4-8. Special cultivars have been produced that flourish in zones 9 and higher, so make sure your plants are a suitable fit for your zone when you buy them.
Generally, a container garden requires more water than plants grown in the ground because of exposure to and less protection from the elements. Planting in unglazed terra cotta pots should be avoided since they suck moisture away from the soil quickly.
The goal is to keep the soil moist but not soggy. Watering 2-3 times each week is generally plenty. In windy areas, hot, dry climates or during heat waves, you may need to water your potted raspberries a couple times a day. A soaker hose allows for gradual, deep watering.
It is no longer required to water your plants on a regular basis after they have finished producing berries.
If you live in an area with harsh winters, consider overwintering your pots in an unheated garage. Water the plants barely enough to keep them alive over the winter, then relocate them to a sunny location following your area’s frost-free date.
Before preparing your soil for planting, use a balanced fertilizer to give your plants a nutritious boost. A powdered organic 10-10-10 fertilizer coupled with compost at planting time can help maintain your plants for 3-4 months. As the plants are developing, you may supplement with a liquid kelp fertilizer foliar spray once or twice a month for continued support.
The spring after your first growing season, fertilize your container raspberries again with the 10-10-10 fertilizer, once in March and again in May. During the season, add compost to the container and mulch the soil surface to reduce weeds and wetness.
Red and yellow varieties produce new, green canes called Primocanes every year. Primocanes do not bear fruit in their first year. They brown and mature from season to season and are ready to produce fruit in the second year. This is vital to know for trimming and plant upkeep.
Pruning is needed several times during the season:
- In spring to clean up any damaged or ill canes
- Mid-season for size and height control
- After harvest, tidy up the plants to prepare them for the winter.
The greatest pruning is done during the fall clean-up. Prune large green canes down to 4-5 feet and using good pruning shears cut the wimpy ones down to 1 inch. Cut brown canes that have finished fruiting down to the soil line. Prune during dry conditions to avoid exposure to potentially hazardous fungal infections.
For a jumpstart in spring, overwinter your potted raspberries in an unheated garage or shed. They will become dormant if watered seldom. Moving your plants to a sunny, warm spot in spring and adding water will wake them up.
While there’s only a handful of issues to be aware of, they can become major problems. Continue reading to learn how to avoid these issues in the first place.
Aphids Individual plant cells are pierced and plant fluids are consumed. If you see curly, yellow, or malformed leaves on your plants, you may have an aphid problem. Examine the undersides of leaves and plant stems for microscopic insects. These pests may be effectively controlled using a neem oil spray.
Cane borers are plant-eating beetles that consume the tops of young plant canes. Take a closer look if the tips of your canes seem wilted! The beetles are 14 inch long and thin, with a copper-red neck. Its larvae are whitish and resemble grubs. To treat, prune the canes at least 6 inches below where the wilting starts, which should also remove any lurking larvae.
Raspberry beetle/fruitworm damage is simple to identify. Adults of little red-brown beetles skeletonize young leaves and canes. Fruitworm larvae dig through fruit tops, and the worms are visible. Hand-picking the tiny worms is possible, but a bacillus thurigiensis spray may be more effective. Bacillus thurigiensis is approved for use in organic gardening and has no negative effects on bees or other beneficial insects.
Birds I love raspberries just as much as you do! If your neighborhood birds take an interest in your ripe berries, cover the plants with protective netting.
Fungal blights like anthracnose , spur blight , and cane blight create spreading pits, blotches, and sores on the canes and, finally, plant death. Fungi flourish in moist environments and spread from plant to plant by splashing water. Fungi are difficult to treat and can stick around for 2 years or more. Canes that are infected should be trimmed and killed (not composted). Disease prevention is your best course: prune only during dry weather, maintain plants healthy by watering and fertilizing regularly, and choose resistant types.
Botrytis fruit rot During prolonged wet, gloomy, warm weather, (gray mold fungus) attacks brambles and other berries. While plucking, the fuzzy, gray powder coats the blossoms and fruit and spreads to surrounding fruits. Botrytis fruit rot is avoidable. Your containers need good drainage, plenty of air flow between leaves and plants, and full sun. If you see gray mold on your berries, gently remove and dispose of them.
Raspberry Leaf Curl Virus is an incurable aphid-borne illness. Discolored, twisted foliage, brittle canes, and crumbly fruits are symptoms of the illness. The illness is treated by removing the diseased plants. When buying plants, ensure that they are virus-free. It is also important to clean your pruning shears and other garden tools to prevent spreading diseases to healthy plants.