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How to Grow Raspberries

A guide to growing Raspberries in gardens, allotments and containers


Family/Latin Name

Rosaceae - Rubus idaeus

Type of Plant

Hardy Perennial Cane

Suitable for

Gardens, Allotments, Large Containers

Recommended Forms Canes
Jump to:-     Pruning/Training   |  Pests & Diseases 


Growing Raspberries - Details

See also:-  Fruit Growing Glossary  |  Tree Forms  |  Container Growing  | Buying Plants


Site and Soil

Prefer sun  sheltered out of strong winds
Tolerant of soil types
Suitable for large tubs and containers

Plant Dimensions

Height: Trained -  1.8m/6ft  - Spread:  30cm/1ft


Mature plants will give +1kg/2.2lb of fruit per cane

Time between planting  and harvesting

1-year-old plants: Produce the season after planting

Planting Time

Best: November

Alternative: December to March (soil conditions permitting)

Number of plants needed for pollination 1
How to plant - Open ground Space raspberry canes 38cm/15" apart in rows. Plant the canes 7.5cm/3" deep, spreading the roots out to encourage the plant to throw up new canes. Cut each cane back to a bud about 30cm/12" from the ground. Mulch with a 5cm/2" layer of well rotted manure or compost.
If growing more than one row, space the rows 1.8m/6ft apart
How to plant - in containers 1 plant per container size minimum 30cm/1ft wide x 30cm/1ft deep.  Make sure there are plenty of drainage holes in the bottom of the container. Place a 2.5cm/1" layer of stones or crocks in the bottom and cover with enough soil or compost to within 15cm/6" below the top of the container. Spread the roots of the raspberry cane over the soil then cover with  soil or compost within  5cm/2" of the top of the container. Firm well and water in.


Open Ground - The plants will need pruning, supporting and training (see below) Every year in late January apply a 5cm/2"  mulch of well rotted manure or compost to the surface of the soil surrounding the bush. In March apply a general fertiliser. Water when necessary, especially as the fruit begin to colour. Remove any suckers which are growing too far away from the plant.
Containers -  Each plant will need pruning, supporting with 3 tall bamboo canes set equidistantly apart in the pot and training (see below). After the first season of fruiting, it is best to carefully remove some of the soil from the container and replace it with fresh compost every year in January. Do this very carefully so as not to damage the roots. water when necessary. In March apply a general fertiliser.
General - Protect from birds with netting. Once the fruit begin to swell, keep well watered, watering the base of the plants only to avoid the risk of fungal diseases.


Fruit for eating are best left to ripen on the tree. Harvesting takes place between late August and September depending on the cultivar.  Once the berries turn very dark, leave for a few more days before harvesting. Pick individual berries leaving the white middle "plug" on the plant. Try not to handle the berries too much when picking.


This is done by digging up any suckers which have grown between the rows and replanting them elsewhere.

How to Prune Raspberry Canes and how to Train Raspberries

Raspberries must be trained on wires. These can be free-standing in open ground or against walls. In open ground, the wires should be suspended between posts spaced 1.8m/6ft apart. Space the lowest wires about 60cm/2ft off the ground, the middle wire 1m/3½ ft above the ground and the top wire at 1.6m/5½ft above the ground. 3  tiers are generally sufficient. The maximum recommended length is about 1.8m/6ft.   Can also be grown up trellising both free standing or on walls.

Raspberries produce fruit on 1 year old canes. As soon as harvesting has finished, cut down the old canes which fruited this season to ground level and tie in the new canes which will have grown during the summer. Limit these to 8 per plant.  In early February prune the new canes to 15cm/6" above the top wire or bamboo cane.

Raspberry Pests & Diseases

Pests Diseases
Birds - like to eat the berries. Protect  with netting, cotton or cages.

Aphids - can cause leaves to curl. There are chemicals available to combat aphids which can be bought at garden centres. Organic methods include spraying with diluted washing up liquid ( 1 teasp per 2 litres of water), companion planting of flowers such as marigolds nearby.
Cane Spot  -  small purple spots on leaves and fruit turning into grey blotches. Cut diseased canes very had back to below soil level and burn infected canes. Spray with a copper fungicide as the new canes begin to grow.

Spur Blight
purple blotches no nodes on canes which turn silver. Buds and shoots die back in spring. Remove and burn badly diseased canes. Spray with a copper fungicide when the buds are 1cm/½" long.

Grey Mould (Botrytis)
Causes stems to die-back
 Cut out dead wood back into living tissue. Avoid damp or humid conditions and if the bush is congested prune to permit air to circulate.

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