All About Growing Blackberries

Blackberry plants are dependable producers of tangy, nutritious fruit, and growing blackberries is easy if you choose good blackberry varieties for your climate. This guide includes descriptions of the types of blackberries, how to plant blackberries, and tips for pruning your canes to grow more big, juicy berries.


| December 6, 2013



Blackberries

Enjoy the taste of summer by growing blackberries and harvesting loads of juicy, sweet berries for snacking, desserts and more.


Illustration By Keith Ward

(For details on growing many other vegetables and fruits, visit our Crop at a Glance collection page.)

The best characteristics of a dozen species of native Rubus species are represented in modern blackberry varieties. Dependable and easy to grow in Zones 6 to 9, several new primocane blackberries (which bear on new canes in late summer) produce good crops in Zone 5. Among the most nutritious food crops you can grow, blackberry plants begin bearing a year after planting, and continue to produce for many years with minimal care.

Types of Blackberries

Erect blackberries can be grown as a head-high hedge that needs little or no support when properly pruned. Good erect blackberry varieties include ‘Navaho’ (which are thornless) and numerous varieties with thorns, including ‘Illini Hardy’ and ‘Darrow.’

Semi-trailing blackberries need a fence or trellis to keep them upright, but with good pruning these thornless varieties can produce very high yields. Good varieties include ‘Chester,’ ‘Doyle,’ ‘Natchez’ and ‘Triple Crown.’

Trailing blackberries grow long, wandering canes that need guidance and pruning, like climbing roses. At their best in the cool Northwest, the ‘Marionberry’ cultivar has thorns, but ‘Waldo’ and ‘Loch Ness’ are thornless.





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