A Rose family member, the Rubus genus has over 250 species. Rubus idaeus, Red
Raspberry, occurs throughout the northern hemisphere. The modern commercial raspberry
is a hybrid of several subspecies and varieties.
A bramble, composed of canes growing from root suckers.
Productive 4-20 years, depending on care.
Brambles are typically 3-5' high and as wide. The canes are often 9' long.
White, five petals.
Spring. Low chill plants often bloom early and their flowers can be damaged by late frosts,
lowering fruit production.
Years before fruiting:
The "berry" is an aggregate fruit, with many small round fruit clustered together, connected
to a center part called the torus. When picked, the fruits release from the torus, and
resemble bowls with a hollow centers. The berries do not ripen further if picked before they
are ripe. Most cultivars have red fruit. Yellow fruited cultivar berries are sweeter, milder
in flavor, and grow on everbearing canes.
Months for fruit to ripen:
1-1.5, depending on cultivar. They are ripe when they come off the vine with a very gentle
pull, and must be checked daily. If too soft, they are over-ripe.
Storage after harvest:
Eat immediately at room temperature or store in a refrigerator for up to 3 days. Freeze for
longer storage. At room temperature, raspberries can start to get moldy in 2 hours.
Dark green, fuzzy, wrinkled, toothed edges, 3-5 leaflets.
The canes are biennial, the rootstocks are perennial. The canes can be thorny or thornless,
depending on the cultivar.
First year canes (primocanes) are green, second year canes (floricanes) are brown.
Summer bearing canes produce leaves and stems the first year and bear flowers and fruit the
second year, then die.
Everbearing canes produce vegetative growth the first year and bear flowers and fruit
on the top one-third of the cane in the fall. The second year they bear flowers and fruit
on the bottom two-thirds of the cane, then die.
Canes can take root where they touch the ground, often at the tips.
Shallow, spread by rhizomes, invasive in moist areas.
Cultivars of Note:
for USDA zone 9 hot summers
'Anne' large sweet yellow fruit, bears summer
'Bababerry' / 'Baba Red' extra large red fruit,
The flowers attract bees, the fruit attracts birds and small mammals.
Toxic / Danger:
Commercially grown raspberries originated in the non-desert regions of Asia, Europe, and
Cultivation and Uses
USDA hardiness zones:
From 4-8 to 4-11, depending on cultivar.
250 to 1600 depending on cultivar. Plants needing 300 chill hours or less are more
likely to bear fruit in USDA hardiness zones 9-11.
Usually not, but some cultivars show promise. Raspberries may fail when temperatures exceed
100°F for hours.
When temperatures are over 85°F, raspberries need 50% morning shade and 100% afternoon
Locate raspberries on the east side of a west-facing wall in USDA zones 9 and 10.
Protection with 50% shade cloth so that the plant never receives direct sun is recommended
in temperatures over 85°F. Training to a fence or trellis is recommended. The support
structure should be in place before planting. Planting in raised garden beds is best in
regions with heavy rains. Raspberries can be grown in very large containers.
Well drained, at least one foot deep, 10-20% organic material, pH 6.0-6.5 (slightly acidic)
Use an organic fertilizer, in early spring, spread in a two-foot circle around the plant,
keeping 8" away from the base.
Water after becoming established:
Water at least weekly without berries, daily during flower and berry production. Do not allow
the soil to dry out while flowering or fruiting. Water a circular area up to 3' from the base
of the plant. Raspberry roots are shallow, not deep. One sign of insufficient water is berries
that are small and crumbly.
Spread organic mulch in a 3' radius, and 8" away, from the base. This will reduce moisture loss
and heat stress.
For summer bearing raspberries, cut the second year cane to the ground after its fruit
have been harvested. For everbearing varieties, cut off the top one-third of the cane
that has just borne fruit. In the summer, cut the remainder of that cane, having just
borne fruit on its bottom two-thirds, to the ground.
Low to moderate.
Red raspberry suckers (primocanes) may be cut away in the spring with a spade, taking a bit
of the rhizome and roots with them. Plant in a location where they can be kept moist.
Raspberries are very susceptible to Verticillium wilt. Avoid planting in soils where previous
plants had that disease. Nightshade family members and some rose family members are
susceptible, so avoid soils where they have grown. Black raspberries are more susceptible
to disease, so avoid planting red raspberries within 100 feet of them to reduce insect-spread
Edible fruit. The leaves are used for tea.
The black raspberry is a separate species: Rubus occidentalis. Purple raspberries
are hybrids of red and black cultivars.
Raspberries often fail to flower or fruit in USDA zones 9 to 11 because of a
lack of sufficient winter chill hours. Most gardeners living in these zones find
to be a more reliable crop.
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