Raspberry ~ Rubus Plant Care Guide ~ Varieties
The raspberry is the edible fruit of a multitude of plant species in the genus Rubus of the rose family, most of which are in the subgenus Idaeobatus; the name also applies to these plants themselves. Raspberries are perennial with woody stems.
Examples of raspberry species in Rubus subgenus Idaeobatus include:
- Rubus crataegifolius (Korean raspberry)
- Rubus gunnianus (Tasmanian alpine raspberry)
- Rubus idaeus (European red raspberry)
- Rubus leucodermis (Whitebark or Western raspberry, Blue raspberry, Black raspberry)
- Rubus occidentalis (Black raspberry)
- Rubus parvifolius (Australian native raspberry)
- Rubus phoenicolasius (Wine raspberry or Wineberry)
- Rubus rosifolius (West Indian raspberry)
- Rubus strigosus (American red raspberry) (syn. R. idaeus var. strigosus)
- Rubus ellipticus (Yellow Himalayan Raspberry)
Several species of Rubus, also called raspberries, are classified in other subgenera, including:
- Rubus arcticus (Arctic raspberry, subgenus Cyclactis)
- Rubus deliciosus (Boulder raspberry, subgenus Anoplobatus)
- Rubus nivalis (Snow raspberry, subgenus Chamaebatus)
- Rubus odoratus (Flowering raspberry, subgenus Anoplobatus)
- Rubus sieboldii (Molucca raspberry, subgenus Malachobatus)
Selected important cultivars
Numerous raspberry cultivars have been selected.
Two types of raspberry are available for commercial and domestic cultivation; the summer-bearing type produces an abundance of fruit on second-year canes (floricanes) within a relatively short period in midsummer, and double or “everbearing” plants, which also bear some fruit on first-year canes (primocanes) in the late summer and fall, as well as the summer crop on second-year canes. Those marked (AGM) have gained the Royal Horticultural Society‘s Award of Garden Merit.
- Red, early summer fruiting
- Fertödi Venus
- Rubin Bulgarski
- Cascade Dawn
- Glen Clova
- Glen Moy (AGM)
- Malling Exploit
- Malling Jewel (AGM)
- Red, midsummer
- Glen Ample (AGM)
- Glen Prosen (AGM)
- Lloyd George
- Red, late summer
- Cascade Delight
- Fertödi Rubina
- Leo (AGM)
- Malling Admiral (AGM)
- Red, primocane, fall, autumn fruiting
- Autumn Bliss (AGM)
- Joan J. (Thornless)
- Fertödi Kétszertermö
- Zeva Herbsternte
- Gold/Yellow, primocane, fall, autumn fruiting
- Fertödi Aranyfürt
- Golden Queen
- Honey Queen
- Kiwi Gold
- Black Hawk
- Ohio Everbearer
Diseases and pests
Raspberries are sometimes eaten by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species (butterflies and moths). Botrytis cinerea, or gray mould, is a common fungal infection of raspberries and other soft fruit. It is seen as a gray mould growing on the raspberries, and particularly affects fruit which are bruised, as it provides an easy entrance point for the spores.
Raspberry plants should not be planted where potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, or bulbs have previously been grown, without prior fumigation of the soil. These crops are hosts for the disease Verticillium wilt, a fungus that can stay in the soil for many years and can infest the raspberry crop.
Botanical name: Rubus
Plant type: Fruit
Sun exposure: Full Sun
Soil type: Any
Soil pH: Slightly Acidic to Neutral
Raspberries are naturally inclined to grow in cooler climates, although the development of adaptable varieties has made it possible for gardeners to grow raspberries in many zones. They are relatively easy to grow, and with proper care, can bear fruit indefinitely. Don’t limit yourself to the common red raspberry; try growing purple as well!
There are two types of raspberries, both with their own specific requirements for growing. Summer-bearers bear one crop per season, in summertime. Ever-bearers bear two crops, one in summer and one in fall.
- Plant in the early spring (or late winter for warm zones)
- Plant far from wild growing berries, otherwise risk the spread of pests and diseases to your garden.
- Prepare soil with compost or aged manure a couple weeks before planting.
- Raspberries love moisture, so try soaking the roots for an hour or two before planting.
- Dig a hole that is roomy enough for the roots to spread.
- Space plants about 3 feet apart, in rows 8 feet apart.
- After planting, cut back canes, leaving 8 to 10 inches.
- Depending on the variety you plant, you may need to fashion a support. A trellis or a fence are good options. If you chose to use one of these, establish them at or before time of planting so the plants are not disturbed when maturing.
- Mulching is important throughout the season to conserve moisture and suffocate weeds. Keep a thick layer of mulch surrounding plants at all times.
- Water one inch per week.
- The roots send up an abundant amount of shoots, called canes. Keep order by pruning away the majority of them so that the survivors can produce lots of berries.
Summer-Bearers produce berries on two year old canes while one year old canes grow right beside them. You shouldn’t have trouble telling which is which: the older canes have brown stems, and the young ones are still green. Prune only the older ones, the ones that have finished their fruitful year.
- Prune in the fall. Leave about 6 of the thickest, strongest green canes.
- Keep plant contained to a 19-inch wide space. Left alone without care all summer, neat rows will become thickets.
- Cut off all canes that grow sideways.
Ever-Bearers require less care:
- Mow them to the ground in the fall, after you finish picking. (For a small patch, pruning shears will do.)
- Clean up all debris—diseases and pests overwinter.
- Pruning is not required during the growing season unless you want to keep a uniform order.
Raspberries are one of the few fruits that are hardly bothered by pests and diseases. (Black raspberries are most susceptible to this type of damage than red or purple.)
- Powdery Mildew
- Cane Borers
- All varieties will begin to produce fruit in their second season. In some cases, ever-bearers may bear small berries in their first autumn.
- In early summer, berries will ripen over a time of about 2 weeks. You will need to pick berries every couple of days.
- Try to harvest berries on a sunny day when they are dry.
- Don’t tug too hard on your raspberries when picking. A ripe raspberry will leave the vine willingly.
- Raspberries can be kept refrigerated for about 5 days.
- If the fruit is to be made into preserves, it should be done straight off the plant.
- Raspberries can be frozen. Make a single layer of berries on a cookie sheet. When frozen, place into airtight bags.
- ‘Canby’ recommended for New England, Upper Great Lakes and Northwest.
- ‘Heritage’ recommended for the Mid-Atlantic and Ohio Valley.
- ‘Fallgold’ yellow variety recommended for the Upper Midwest and Canada.
- ‘Plainsman’ recommended for the Rockies and High Plains.
- Becky’s Raspberry Muffins
- Darby Field Inn’s Raspberry Thumbprint Bars
- Cold Chocolate Souffle with Raspberry Sauce
Wit & Wisdom
Raspberries are a good source of dietary fiber and Vitamin C.
See Also …