Family: Rosaceae

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Raspberries (also known by their botanical name, Rubus idaeus) are easy-to-grow, shrubby plants that produce delicious tasting berries in varying shades of red, pink, purple, a dark inky shade of purple that almost looks black, yellow, orange, peach, and very occasionally, white.  The raspberries pictured in the photograph (taken at my allotment) that accompanies this plant page are still developing, they have yet to colour or ripen.

Summer fruiting raspberries produce their fruit (as you would expect) in the summertime; usually from June onwards.  Autumn fruiting raspberries fruit in autumn.  There is usually a lovely crossover, where you can harvest both summer and autumn raspberries at the same time.  By growing both types of raspberries, you can harvest raspberries from June, until the cold weather arrives in mid to late autumn.  If you have a bumper crop, you can freeze raspberries very easily, or why not make jam?

Raspberries flourish and thrive when planted out in gardens and allotments – these fruits don’t do as well in containers.  Raspberries grow best planted in a position that enjoys full sun to partial shade; raspberries favour moist, well drained soils, which are slightly acidic.  Avoid planting raspberries on wet or boggy ground.

Raspberries really do benefit from having a support system.  I’ve always found it easiest grow raspberries in rows with paths either side for easy access.  I favour soil paths, these can be mulched with bark chip to help keep weeds down or hoed regularly.

Summer fruiting raspberries are pruned after they have fruited – it’s very simple, just remove all the raspberry canes that have produced a harvest, cutting the cane off at ground level with secateurs.  The older canes are often tinged with brown, which makes them easier to spot and the new canes look fresher and are often more green in colour.  After removing the old stems, tie in the new, young raspberry canes to your supports.  These new canes will fruit next summer.

Autumn fruiting raspberries are also very easy to prune.  Simply remove the canes that have fruited, after you have harvested their fruit in early winter – to prune autumn fruiting raspberries, cut all of the canes down to ground level in December, January, or February.  New canes will then grow up and fruit the following summer.

Plant raspberries while they are dormant: from November to early March.  Look out for suppliers of raspberries that sell their plants bare root – this a more cost effective way to purchase plants, which also saves on plastic and water.

Although it’s tempting to save money and plant some raspberries that have been dug up from a friend or relation’s garden, it’s best to buy certified raspberries, to ensure that you purchase healthy plants, which are free from virus – something that raspberries are rather prone to.

For information on raspberry cultivars I’ve recommended, check out the articles below and click on the red text to read about Raspberry ‘Glen Coe’, Raspberry ‘Tulameen’, and Raspberry ‘Polka’.

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