Savor the delights of fresh berries within the comfort of your garden. Learn about raspberry and blackberry varieties, embrace the art of trellising, and nurture these berry bushes to a bountiful harvest.
The genus Rubus contains a wide variety of perennial shrubs, climbers, and herbaceous plants, known as brambles. Common members include blackberries, raspberries, dewberries, loganberries, boysenberries, gooseberries, and marionberries. The plants are usually deciduous, but some are evergreen. Canes are typically biennial, living only 2 years, but arise from a perennial root system, which continually produces new canes. Rubus plants are either biennial-fruiting (summer-fruiting), setting buds in autumn of the first year that, after a period of dormancy, develop into fruits in the spring or summer of the following year, or annual-fruiting (autumn-fruiting), producing flowers in late spring/early summer that develop into fruits from summer until late fall of the same year. The plants bloom in clusters of small, nectar-rich flowers, which sustain pollinators, followed by sweet, tasty fruits, which are considered superfoods due to their high levels of antioxidant phytonutrients.
Rubus is a large, diverse genus with over 750 species, having erect, trailing, or vine-like habits. The plants range in size from 6 inches to 12 feet tall, but many sprawl and form dense thickets, if not managed. Plants in the Rubus genus are often thorny or bristly, like roses, but thornless varieties are available. Many cultivars grown in home gardens are hybrids, but some cultivated species include R. (blackberry), R. (cut-leaved blackberry), R. (sawtooth blackberry; tall blackberry), R. Hu (raspberry), R. occidentalis (black raspberry), and R. (red raspberry), which contains 2 varieties: Rubus var. (European raspberry), native to Eurasia; and Rubus var. (American red raspberry), native to North America.
Easy to grow, these edibles grow best in sunny locations (at least 6 hours of full sun a day) with organically rich, slightly acidic soil.