Blackberries, like raspberries, are a very easy fruit to grow. Here’s how to grow blackberries in your garden!
However tempting, do not grow blackberry plants unless you are certain they are virus-free, as plant viruses are a widespread problem with blackberries. Select high quality plants from a nursery with a good reputation.
Types of Blackberries
(Credit to Colorado State University Extension for details on specific types of blackberries.)
- Trailing blackberries produce vigorous primocanes (first-year vegetative cane) from the crown of the plant rather than roots. Second-year canes (called floricanes) produce long-shaped fruit with relatively small seeds and a highly aromatic, intense flavor. They are not hardy in northern climates, experiencing damage at temperatures of 13°F in mid winter, and in the 20s in late winter/early spring.
- Erect blackberries have stiff, arching canes that are somewhat self-supporting. However, they are much easier to handle when trellised and pruned. Prune or tip primocanes in the summer to encourage branching and increase fruit production on the second-year floricanes. Plants can become invasive to an area as they can produce new primocanes (suckers) from their roots.
Erect blackberries produce fruit with relatively large seeds. Flavor and aroma are not considered as intense as in the trailing blackberry cultivars. They are semi-hardy in climates with rapid springtime temperature shifts, like Colorado.
- Primocane-fruiting cultivars of erect blackberries produce fruit on the new primocanes. This makes management easier, as the canes can be cut to the ground each winter.
- Semi-erect blackberries are thornless and produce vigorous, thick, erect canes from the crown. No primocanes are produced from the roots (suckering). Prune primocanes in the summer to encourage branching and increase fruit production on floricanes. A trellis is required to support the canes. Semi-erect blackberries generally produce a higher yield than trailing or erect types. Fruit quality is similar to that of the erect blackberries.
- Blackberry/red raspberry hybrids are generally natural crosses between blackberries and raspberries. Because the receptacle (white core) comes off with the fruit, they are generally considered a type of blackberry rather than raspberry, whose fruits leave the receptacle on the branch. Popular cultivars include ‘Boysen’ (Boysenberry), ‘Logan’ (Loganberry), and ‘Tay’ (Tayberry).