Being able to head out to your garden in the summer and pick a handful of raspberries is pure joy. Whether you’re an adult or a child, raspberries pack a serious punch of sweetness. Find out when to plant raspberry bushes and how long it will take before they start producing fruit.
When to plant raspberry bushes: Raspberry bushes start out as canes that can look like mere sticks but don’t be deceived as they have a lot of growth potential. Plant your canes in your garden in the spring or, if you live in a mild area, in the fall. Raspberries are perennials and will continue to grow each year. However, the canes they produce only live for two years. It is in the second year that the canes will grow fruit. Be sure to prune back dead canes to allow for more new growth and a better concentration of nutrients. Add compost to your raspberry patch each year as well as a thick layer of mulch. Even though there is a bit more work to be done with raspberries, the effort is worth it as you will be rewarded with a sweet, natural snack.
Planting Raspberry Bushes in Different Climates
Raspberries may be able to grow in a tropical climate because they like the sun and warmth. However, they usually need a cold, dormant period, so might not do well.
A dry climate may be ok with raspberries, as long as you adhere to a strict hand watering schedule.
Raspberries grow best in a temperate climate. The summers are warm enough for growth and the milder winters are cold enough for dormancy but won’t be a threat to the plants.
Hardier varieties of raspberries will do well in a continental climate. You may want to add row covers in the height of the summer as the hot temperatures can scorch the leaves in the peak afternoon hours.
Unfortunately, raspberries won’t grow in a polar climate as there isn’t enough heat.
Choosing Raspberry Bush Seeds
There are two main types of raspberry bushes. The raspberries are compatible with each other and it’s a good idea to have a mix of them in your garden.
These are the most common types of raspberries and new growth happens on old canes. As the name suggests, raspberries grow once per year, in the summer.
These varieties of raspberries grow on new canes that pop up each year. The raspberries will grow in the summer but will also continue to grow into the fall.
How to Plant Raspberry Bushes
Number of raspberry plants
One of the benefits of growing raspberries is that they are self-fertile. This means that you only need one bush in order for fruit to grow.
However, as raspberries are so delicious, you will probably want to start with a few bushes. Keep in mind, though, that the bushes will grow out so even if you only start with one plant, over time you will have a larger bush.
You should also plant flowers near your raspberry bush to encourage pollinators such as bees. Without pollinators, your raspberries won’t flourish.
Age of canes
Raspberry bushes usually start with canes. These can often look like a simple stick but there is a lot of potential in them.
It’s best to start with canes that are one year old. This way they are established and it will only take a year before you have raspberries to eat.
Most local gardening centers will have a few varieties of raspberries to choose from. Alternately, you can see if any friends have a raspberry patch and dig up some of their canes to transplant.
The best time to plant raspberry canes is in the spring. Just after your last frost date is ideal as the ground needs to be warm and easily workable.
If you live in a warmer climate, you may be able to plant your raspberry canes in the fall. This will give them a head start but if you have very cold winters, it may be too much of a shock to the plants.
Raspberries prefer sunny areas but can also grow in partial shade. Just remember that if you want more fruit, then you will need more sun.
For soil, make sure the ground is rich in nutrients. The soil should drain well as raspberries don’t like to be in wet soil but they also don’t like bone-dry conditions.
Before you plant your raspberry canes, be sure to mix in some aged compost. Raspberries require a lot to grow so the better you can start the location off, the stronger your plants will be.
Prepare the canes
As stated earlier, when you purchase a raspberry plant, it will be in the form of a cane. This will be a tall stick with a small root structure at the bottom.
Place this cane and its roots in a bucket of water. Let it soak for one or two hours before planting.
Now you’re ready to dig a hole. It should be twice the size of the root structure and if you have multiple canes to plant, you can also save a bit of effort and dig a trench.
Place the cane into the hole but make sure the crown of the plant is above the soil line. One or two inches is ideal.
Space your canes about 18 inches away from each other and if you have rows of raspberries, aim for three feet between them. Add your soil back into the hole and then tamp it down nicely to keep the roots secure.
Some raspberries can grow to be quite large so if your raspberries aren’t near a fence, you can add a trellis for support. Place the trellis around the young canes so that as the plant grows, it has somewhere to hold onto.
How to Water Raspberry Bushes
Raspberries need that sweet spot of moist soil that isn’t water-logged. As soon as your spring starts to warm up and it doesn’t rain as much, you will want to start to regularly water your raspberries.
Try to keep to a consistent watering schedule, such as every other day. It’s better to water small amounts a lot of the time than deep watering only once a week.
How to Grow Raspberry Bushes
To keep your soil healthy for your raspberries, you will want to side-dress with compost at least once a year. This will add important nutrients back into the soil.
You can also use a liquid fertilizer every month or so. Find one that isn’t too high in nitrogen to encourage blooms and fruit growth.
Every year, you should add a thick layer of mulch around your raspberry canes. This will help keep the soil moist but not soggy.
The mulch will also help keep weeds from growing up and make gardening easier for you.
Although raspberries aren’t too difficult to grow, they do have an important step that needs to take place each year. The main branches of a raspberry bush are called canes and they can be a bit complicated to manage.
These canes will continually pop up from the underground roots but they only live for two years. In the first year, the can will start out green and then take on a brown color.
That cane will then become dormant over winter and start to grow again in its second year. During this second year, the cane will produce fruit.
After two years, the cane won’t produce fruit anymore. You will then want to cut these old canes down in order to allow new canes to produce and to stop your bushes from becoming overcrowded.
Powdery mildew is the biggest threat to raspberry bushes. This is when the leaves on your plant start to turn a white shade color.
While powdery mildew actually likes warm temperatures, it won’t often grow in full-sun areas. You can try to prevent it by making sure there is adequate air circulation between the leaves.
When watering, try to only water the soil as too much moisture on the leaves can lead to the fungus growing. However, you can try to water from overhead once the mildew has formed in order to wash it off.
How long do raspberry bushes take to grow?
Raspberry bushes produce fruit on a two-year cycle. Therefore, if you start with canes that are a year old, you will have raspberries one year after planting.
While you will only have a handful of raspberries in the first year of growth, you will have more as the canes grow. The plant will also spread out and produce new canes each year, which will increase your yield.
It is best to plant your raspberry canes in the spring although if you live in a mild area, you can try them in the fall. Raspberry canes have a two-year life cycle but the plant will produce new canes each year, which means a never-ending supply of raspberries.