Growing Bushel and Berry® Blackberries and Raspberries

Growing Bushel and Berry® Blackberries and Raspberries in containers:

Bushel and Berry® plants are dwarf bushes that require no trellising or staking. Upon arrival, replant in a 12–16″ container using good-quality potting soil. We recommend Fafard Complete Container Mix with water-retaining crystals that help reduce stress in the hot summer months. Place the container outdoors in full sun for the growing season. As your plant matures, you will likely need to put it in a 20–24″ diameter container. Your plant will start producing more fruit in the second year.

Fertilizing. Fertilize your plants in early spring and again in midsummer with a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer (such as 18-18-18).

Pruning. Simply let your plant go dormant in the winter. In early spring, you should start to see new green sprouts coming up from both soil and on some of the old canes. The sprouts from the ground will become canes that will fruit the following year. Old canes with new growth emerging should fruit this year. Leave all the new shoots from the ground and old canes that have green leaves emerging. Cut all the dead canes with no new growth at ground level.

Wintering over. In colder climates (Zone 5), you can overwinter plants in their containers by storing them in a sheltered, unheated area such as a garage or shed once the leaves drop in fall. Be certain the soil is moist when the plant is brought under cover, and water very sparingly during the winter. Once every 6 weeks is generally sufficient. The intent is for the plant to go as dormant as possible. In spring, bring them outside when temperatures remain above 25°F and place in full sun.

In warmer climates where freeze-thaw cycles occur, store plants on a protected porch. Where freezing is not a concern, plants can remain outdoors in containers and enjoyed year round.

Growing Bushel and Berry® Blackberries and Rasberries in the ground:

Choose a location in full sun (at least 6 hours of direct sun each day) with rich, well-drained soil, and then dig a hole that will generously accommodate the plant's root ball. Gently remove the plant from its pot and place into the hole so that the top of the root ball is level with the surrounding soil. Then push soil back into the hole around the plant and press firmly with your hands to eliminate air pockets and establish good soil contact. A gentle but thorough watering will further settle the soil around the plant.

Blackberries and Raspberries need at least 1” of water per week, especially during the first season after planting. If the amount of rainfall is less than this, water deeply at the base of the plants once a week. Keep moisture off the leaves to discourage disease. Fertilize the plants 4–6 weeks after planting, with a timed-release fertilizer. In subsequent years, fertilize in early spring and again in early July. Adding 1–2” of compost or well-rotted manure as a side dressing around each plant in spring will improve the soil's texture and add nutrients.

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