Tips on Growing Newer Varieties of Raspberries
Newer varieties of raspberries are well worth considering. Many are a marked improvement on old varieties!
As we approach the end of another planting season for bare root fruits, I thought you might find it useful to read my tips on growing newer varieties of raspberries.
I recall when it was almost November that I was still picking a bowl of ‘Autumn Bliss’ raspberries three times a week! They were just from a small patch of canes and are really easy to grow! I had a light crop from a summer fruiting variety but that was hardly surprising since they were only planted a year before.
Now both of these are relatively old tried and trusted varieties.
In recent years new varieties have emerged and I’m planning to try several of them out.
But before I get into that I need to just clear up a bit of confusion that there is over how to manage raspberries. There seems to be a lot of confusion about how to prune and in the case of this fruit crop that is critical!
Primocane Newer Varieties of Raspberries
Autumn fruiting varieties extend the season of this delicious berry!
Fruit is produced on canes that started growth in the same year as they produce fruit. So the canes are never more than a year old.
This means that autumn fruiting varieties are dead easy to prune since, after fruiting and leaf drop, you cut each and every cane to ground level!
Then next spring the new canes emerge from the ground and produce fruit right at the tops of each cane.
For the technically minded this type is called “primocane” varieties.
Examples of primocane varieties other than ‘Autumn Bliss’ are ‘Joan J’, ‘Polka’ and ‘Heritage’.
‘Allgold’, which is also known as ‘Fallgold’, is a tasty yellow late fruiting variety.
Canes of primocane varieties are usually stiff enough to not need any support.
This is another big advantage.
I have found that birds often leave these berries alone and so do not need to be protected against them.
Floricane Newer Varieties of Raspberries
The summer fruiting varieties are called “floricane” types.
They fruit on canes that grew in the previous year.
They fruit on side shoots produced in the second year and so need to be spaced out, tied in and supported to get the best crop. This helps to avoid losses to pests and diseases.
At the same time as fruiting, the raspberry plants are also growing the new canes on which they will produce fruit in the following summer!
So these young canes will need a bit of managing too. Thin them out and tie in away from the fruiting canes.
I don’t want to put you off growing the summer varieties; I just want you to be prepared!
Good varieties of floricane [summer fruiting] raspberry include Glen Ample, Glen Prosen, Glen Clova, Tulameen and the late fruiting older variety ‘Leo’.
Growing Raspberries in Pots
Many new raspberry varieties have been bred in Scotland but some recent introductions have come from elsewhere.
I’m especially interested in the new Ruby Beauty variety from New Zealand!
This is a naturally dwarf variety and will be perfect for growing in large containers.
Dwarf ‘Ruby Beauty’ has a great future for smaller gardens.
I see this has huge potential as a patio, terrace or even balcony fruit.
Use a 45 cm diameter pot filled with the best potting compost that you can buy and ensure that there is good drainage.
Add resin coated slow release fertiliser to the compost and keep well-watered throughout the growing season.
No extra protection is needed although I imagine that established plants could be enticed to crop earlier if brought into a greenhouse after winter chilling.
Plants grow just a metre high and are claimed to yield 1.5 kg of tasty berries.
If you’re interested in this variety there is some information on this here.
Growing Newer Varieties of Raspberries in Pots
I’ve had mixed success so far with growing raspberries in pots but there is absolutely no reason why it shouldn’t work as they are sometimes container grown commercially.
I well recall seeing a British owned farm producing raspberries in pots near Hermanus in South Africa.
Aptly called Haygrove Heaven and Earth, they grow soft fruits to feed our fancy for delicious berries here in the European winter.
Apparently, the biggest challenge initially was getting the fruit handled quickly before it got lost and rotted in Heathrow Airport! I’m sure that problem has now been ironed out.
Keep an eye out for them on supermarket shelves in winter.
Raspberry ‘Sugana’, both red and yellow berried forms, have limited availability at the moment but are worth investigating since it is claimed they crop twice a year!
But the one that is receiving a lot of attention at the moment is the black raspberry called ‘Black Jewel’!
I saw and picked some of this variety a couple of summers ago with my grandchildren. It was grown on a berry farm in Oregon, USA.
I noticed that it has a very different growth habit.
It’s fair to say that it grows more like a blackberry and to keep it in check the American farmer had regularly cut all top growth back to about knee high.
This exposed the dark black berries, each covered in a white bloom, and made for easier picking.
But the big thing about black raspberries is that they have five times the level of antioxidants as cultivated blackberries.
They also promise to deliver some very exciting cancer inhibiting properties. Hear what ethnobotanist James Wong has to say about black raspberry.
Whichever raspberry you choose to grow, I hope that you will consider planting these newer types too!
Some of these newer varieties are available as pot grown plants and that extends the planting season beyond late winter.
However a word of caution; many raspberry canes are sold in bundles of 5 potted in the autumn into pots. These leaf out early and are not pot grown. Separating them when they have new root and leaf growth often leads to poor establishment and so it pays to plant these as soon as the are available in late autumn.