Raspberries are a popular garden plant that grows vigorously and must be kept under control in most gardens to prevent it from spreading. How well do raspberries translate to container growing, and can you successfully get a harvest growing them this way?
Raspberries can be grown in containers. Raspberries grow to between 4 and 6 feet tall, while dwarf varieties grow to about half this size. The container must be 12-inches deep and 12-inches in diameter for dwarf species and at least 24-inches for larger plants. Soil must be loamy and well-drained.
Raspberries can be grown successfully in containers, but the available space will determine the variety of raspberries that will make the best choice for your container. The size of the variety of raspberries you select will determine the type of container best suited to growing the plant.
Are Containers Good For Growing Raspberries?
Raspberries provide a fresh hit of flavor, and their nutritive value makes them popular in many gardens. Raspberries grow in a wide range of climates, making them a great choice for container growing if you can provide them with good sunlight.
Raspberries come in a variety of cultivars, some that grow relatively tall and other dwarf varieties that are shorter and have bushier growth.
All raspberry varieties can be grown in containers, but you need to select the right size plant according to your available space.
Larger raspberry varieties can reach heights of between 4 and 6 feet, while smaller dwarf varieties are about half this size.
Raspberries grow from a central woody stem called a cane, and larger varieties may need to be supported when the plant starts to fruit. The weight of the fruit can cause the plants to lean over, which can take up additional lateral space that you may not have available.
Providing support for the raspberry plants will prevent them from leaning over and ensure they only take up vertical space.
Raspberries are perennial plants that can give you a harvest for years to come. The red varieties or raspberries have been known to live between 10 and 15 years. The black raspberry varieties typically live between 5 and 10 years.
Depending on how your raspberry plant is grown and where you get it from, you may only get a harvest from the plant in its second year. Some cultivars grow their raspberry canes in cooler climates and relocate them to warmer climates to stimulate earlier fruiting in the plant.
Your plant supplier should be able to tell you when you can expect the raspberry plant to fruit that you buy from them.
Choose Your Raspberry Fruiting Season
The many cultivars of raspberry have produced varieties that fruit at different times. Some cultivars fruit in early summer, mid-summer, or late summer. Many raspberry cultivars produce fruit in autumn, providing a fruit rich in vitamin C before the winter season.
If you want to have a long season of harvesting raspberries, grow different cultivars in separate containers that fruit at different times of the year. This ensures a harvest throughout the summer season and into autumn.
What Containers Are Best For Growing Raspberries?
Raspberries are not particularly selective about the type of container they grow in, as long as the container has good drainage. Consequently, you can use plastic pots, clay pots, or half barrels as containers for growing raspberries.
Raspberries do not have deep root systems, making them ideal for growing in containers. The roots like to be close to the surface of the soil so they can send out suckers that will root in the soil and produce a new cane.
A container with a depth of at least 12-inches or 30cm is required for growing raspberries. The diameter of the container will depend on the variety of raspberries you want to grow. Dwarf species will manage nicely in a 5-gallon bucket with a diameter of 11-inches or 28cm and a depth of 12 to 15-inches or 30cm to 38cm.
Larger raspberry varieties require a container with a diameter of at least 15-inches and a depth of 15-inches. If you want your raspberry plant to reproduce, select a larger container with a diameter of 24-inches to 36-inches or 60cm to 91cm.
The additional space will allow the raspberry plant to send out suckers which will root in the additional space in the container, producing new canes. The canes can be harvested and transplanted into their own containers or left to grow in the same space.
What Soil Is Best For Growing Raspberries In Containers
Raspberries prefer well-drained soil with a pH of between 6 and 7. The shallow root system of raspberries means they need a growing medium with good soil content to provide enough substance in the medium for the plant to remain upright.
If your potting mix contains too much organic material and is loose and airy, the roots will not be anchored enough, and the plant may fall over when it starts to bend over from the weight of the fruit.
The soil must be added with care. Too much soil in the potting mix will result in poor drainage. Too little soil will not provide enough purchase for the roots.
Instead of using a straight potting mix, use potting soil with high-grade topsoil mixed with the organic material of a potting mix.
Where Should You Put Your Container Raspberries?
Raspberries prefer full sun, and the container must be located in a sunny spot where the plant will receive a minimum of 6 hours of sunlight each day.
If the raspberries do not receive enough sunlight, they will not fruit to their full potential, and your harvest will be reduced.
How To Care For Raspberries In Containers
Raspberries do survive in clay soil or soil that dries out too quickly, meaning you need a goldilocks zone of soil mixture where it provides the right amount of drainage without causing waterlogging or drying out.
How To Water Raspberries In Containers
The two main problems when growing raspberries in containers are overwatering and underwatering. The raspberries must be watered regularly enough to keep the growing medium moist but not so much as to waterlog the plant.
Watering small amounts daily to keep the growing medium moist is better than letting it dry out and water too much in one go.
You may get some limited fruiting of the raspberry plant in its first year, but typically the best fruiting of the plant takes place from the second year onward. The fruit will usually be on the new canes the original plant reproduces in the container.
Should You Prune Raspberries In Containers?
At the beginning of spring, you should prune your raspberry bushes and cut the dead canes that are not showing any signs of new, green growth. The pruning of the dead canes should be at ground level.
The pruning will also help to keep the raspberry plant under control and prevent the old growth from shading out the new growth.
Protect Raspberries In Containers From The Cold
If your region has cold winters and the plant goes dormant, you should only water the raspberries once a week, which is enough to keep them alive. If you experience frost in the winter, you should move the plant indoors or to a warm sunny spot where it will not be exposed to frost.
Frost can kill your raspberries, preventing them from growing back in spring. If you only occasionally get frost, a good layer of mulch on top of the growing medium should be sufficient protection for the raspberry plant.
Once the risk of frost is over, reposition the plant in a warm, sunny location where it will receive abundant sunlight.
Fertilize the raspberries in early spring with a high-nitrogen fertilizer. Fertilize the plants again about 6 weeks into the growing season with a low nitrogen fertilizer.
Raspberries grow very well in containers, and if they receive the right amount of water and sunlight, they require very little other maintenance.
Choosing the right variety that fruits when you want to harvest raspberries is crucial to getting a harvest at the right time. To get a harvest multiple times a year, you can grow several raspberry plants, each with a different fruiting season!