The best time to plant raspberries is in late autumn or early winter, when bare-rooted canes are available in nurseries. There are two commonly grown types of raspberry: summer-fruiting berries and autumn-fruiting berries. Aside from their fruiting times, the key difference between these varieties is: summer-fruiting berries produce fruit on two-year-old canes (floricanes), while autumn fruiting varieties fruit on current season’s growth (primocanes). There’s a great assortment of varieties to choose from both summer and autumn types, but if you have the space, you may want to consider planting both to make the most of the season!
It’s also important to note that canes generally have thorns, so if you’re bothered by them or have children or pets who love to get into the garden, look for thornless or near thornless varieties.
Raspberries do best in areas with cool or cold climates. They may also grow in temperate climates, provided summers are mild (temperatures averaging less than 30°C). Plant them in a sunny spot with 6-8 hours of sunlight and ideally, sheltered from hot drying winds and the harsh westerly sun.
Raspberries like to grow in a slightly acidic to neutral soil, with a pH between 6.5-6.8 (see The Importance of soil pH). They also love a rich soil, so enrich the soil with plenty of rotted manure, compost and organic matter like Yates Dynamic Lifter Soil Improver & Plant Fertiliser.
Feed in autumn and spring with Yates Dynamic Lifter Soil Improver & Plant Fertiliser. When the canes start to bud, feed weekly with Yates Thrive Strawberry & Berry Fruit Liquid Plant Food to help promote flower and fruit production.
Water regularly to keep the soil moist, especially when fruiting. When canes go dormant in winter, you can reduce watering and/or rely on the winter rains, but once plants begin to grow new leaves in spring, water regularly.
Pests and diseases
Raspberry canes may be attacked by scale. Keep an eye out for them and treat at first sight with Yates Nature’s Way Citrus & Ornamental Spray. In warm, humid conditions, raspberries are susceptible to various cane and leaf issues, including anthracnose, leaf blight or spur blight. To help prevent fungal problems, avoid overhead watering and spray with Yates Leaf Curl Copper Fungicide.
Once the harvest has finished, it’s best to remove the canes as well as any dead or diseased growth. Pruning differs between varieties, so make sure you know what variety you are growing.
Summer fruiting varieties: If you purchased one-year old canes, there is no need to prune until the second year. In the following winter, tip prune the canes (now two-year-old floricanes) and these will fruit in summer. You’ll also notice new shoots, aka primocanes, forming at the base of the plant in spring – let these primocanes develop and they will be next year’s fruit bearing floricanes. Once the harvest is finished, prune the floricanes to ground level – do not prune the primocanes. Loosely tie the primocanes into bundles and secure to the trellis.
Autumn fruiting varieties: Once fruiting finishes, simply cut canes back to ground level.