Blackberry care — tips for delicious fruits and a good yield

Botanical name: Rubus fruticosus
Other names: wild berry, blackberry, thornberry
Use: immediate consumption and processing, climbing plant, bee pasture, tea made from blackberry leaves can help against diarrhea and inflammation in the throat
Origin: North America and Europe, cultivation from the 19th century
Flowering period: depending on Variety from May to June, cream-white-pink
Harvest time: October-November
Special features:From a botanical point of view, the berries are so-called aggregate fruits, which consist of 20 to 30 individual berries. Furthermore, as with all rose plants, the thorns are actually thorns. Colloquially, the term thornless has become established. Blackberries are self-fertile and do not need other plants for pollination. With a flowering period from the end of May to mid-August, you can offer bees and other insects a rich supply of nectar and pollen with blackberry bushes in your own garden.

Blackberries belong to the rose family and are hardy garden plants. The soft fruit is completely easy to care for and robust. In addition to the innumerable wild varieties that are spread almost all over the world, there are cultivated forms that delight with large, aromatic fruits and some without thorns. When choosing a variety, it is important to consider the space available. Upright growing varieties are also great for small gardens and large potssuitable. For climbing blackberries, an area of ​​3 to 4 meters and a trellis or trellis are recommended. No matter which group you choose: the dark fruits contain high amounts of vitamins. The content of beta-carotene (provitamin A) is among the highest of all fruits. The conversion into vitamin A takes place in the body, which is then important for vision, among other things. Next are vitamin C, vitamin E and minerals in high amountspresent in ripe blackberries. Blackberries protect cells from free radicals. They are healthy and therefore very valuable for a modern diet. Anthocyanins are responsible for the blue-black color. Cultivation is easy, maintenance is low and the large fruits taste fresh or are suitable for jam and many other delicious recipes. A good yield can be achieved quickly in your own garden.

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In which location do blackberry plants feel most comfortable?

A wind-protected spot in a south-facing position in the garden is ideal for the climbing plants. A location in front of sunlit house walls or walls is well suited. Here the trees are somewhat better protected from frost in winter and the berries ripen very well in summer. Deep, loose soil without waterlogging is important. In contrast to raspberries, blackberries are very undemanding in terms of soil conditions. The shrubs grow on light and heavy soil. The pH should be around 6. You should work with high-quality potting soil for planting on sandy and acidic soil. Small breeds are also suitable for large tubs or raised beds. So nothing stands in the way of the snack garden on the balcony and terrace. It is important that the plant has at least 30 to 50 liters of soil volume available,

How can I plant blackberries?

Find out everything about planting blackberries, the right planting time and possible planting partners.

When is the best time to plant blackberries?

Like all berry bushes, blackberry plants can be planted before they sprout from March. With a spring planting, blackberries will quickly establish themselves in the new location and form new roots before shoots are formed. However, as long as the ground is not frozen, you can plant blackberries all year round. If you plant the blackberries in summer, you need a little more finesse when watering. Freshly planted blackberries should never be waterlogged, but the soil must be evenly moist. These conditions are easier to obtain in spring or late summer. Therefore, the best time to plant blackberries is spring and autumnLate summer or early fall. Planting too late in autumn can lead to frost damage in climatically unfavorable locations. Therefore, you should plant the blackberries by the end of September at the latest.

Which plant partners are suitable for blackberries?

Blackberries grow best in a sunny, warm, sheltered spot. In addition to planting on walls, the blackberry can be grown on a trellis. The trellis training makes it easier to care for and harvest the berries. Raspberries are suitable as plant partners for blackberries, they have similar soil requirements and are identical in terms of growth. Blackberries are flat-rootedand should therefore not have any fast-growing plants competing for water or nutrients next to them in the root area, especially immediately after planting. A good mixed culture can be beneficial for the blackberries. So-called ‘good partners’ for blackberries are bush beans, mustard, vetches or sweet lupins. The underplanting of the berry bushes can have a positive effect and serves to protect against evaporation, especially in the first year after planting. Forget-me-not is said to be effective against maggot infestation by raspberry beetles. The early bloomers can easily be cultivated by self-sowing for many years as a mixed culture with blackberries. Garlic, lavender, marigolds and thyme also promote the vitality of the berry bushes.

Do blackberries need a climbing aid?

Depending on the variety, blackberries develop shoots of different lengths. Some varieties grow more upright and compact, others with lush tendrils. Basically, it is advisable to plant blackberries on a climbing aid or a trellis system. When planting on house walls or walls, wires can help to fix the blackberry tendrils. The trellis system or climbing aid allows blackberry shoots to be clearly arranged, which ensures that all parts of the plant receive the best possible light. A blackberry trellis system consists of wooden stakes with horizontal wires between them. A trellis system is recommended as a guidelinefor blackberries with a maximum height of two meters. This ensures that you can easily reach the blackberries when harvesting. The first wire is stretched at a height of 50 cm, the wires above it follow at a distance of 30 to 40 cm. The horizontal wires of the trellis system ensure that the blackberry tendrils find sufficient support.

Step-by-step instructions on how to plant blackberries

Blackberries are very robust and easy to care for after planting. Careful soil preparation is important when planting blackberries. Bramble bushes tolerate different soil conditions and the pH can range from 5 to 7. In summers with little precipitation, on light sandy soils, the fruits may be smaller and the yield may be lower. It is therefore advisable to improve the sandy soil with high-quality potting soil when planting blackberries. Blackberries can be planted directly in the ground, in raised beds or in sufficiently large tubs (30 to 50 liters capacity).

  • Planting distance for blackberries within the row: 2 to 3 m (depending on the type of training)
  • Row spacing for blackberries 1.8 to 2.5 m Fact: In addition to blackberries with thorns, there are so-called thornless blackberries. These varieties are easier to handle during harvest and care because there are no annoying spikes on the shoots.

    Planting blackberries in the ground – step-by-step instructions:

    1. Loosen the soil well and remove all weeds. A humus -rich, deep and well- drained location is ideal for blackberries.
    2. Dig a planting hole twice as wide and at least 10 to 15 cm deeper than the root ball.
    3. Put 5 to 10 liters of potting soil in the planting hole.
    4. Water the bramble deeply before planting. The so-called immersion method has proven itself well. To do this, place the blackberry plant with the pot in a container filled with water and immerse the root ball until no more air bubbles rise. This will ensure that the root ball is completely soaked.
    5. Remove the pot, loosen the root ball slightly with your hands and place the berry bush in the center of the planting hole. The potted berry bush is planted in such a way that the edge of the root ball is flush with the planting hole at the top.
    6. Scatter Kölle Bio Root Power in the planting hole. The organic natural fertilizer promotes root formation due to the mycorrhizal fungus cultures it contains. Root formation is sustainably improved and soil activity is increased.
    7. Fill the space between the root ball and the planting hole with a mixture of excavation and potting soil.
    8. Kick the soil firmly with your foot so that the root balls get good contact with the ground. Make sure the bush is straight.
    9. Finally, the blackberry is poured with 5 to 10 liters of water and covered thinly with mulch. The mulch layer minimizes evaporation, suppresses weed growth and sustainably improves soil life.

Build a trellis system as soon as possible to make it easier to care for and harvest the blackberry plants. Our gardening tip: Choose the blackberry variety based on the space available. If there is little space, the Navaho® variety has proven itself. It can grow upright without a trellis, has a growth width of 60 to 130 cm and a growth height of 100 to 200 cm. If there is a lot of space available or if a wall is to be planted, a climbing variety (Black Satin or Asterina®) can be used. Vigorous varieties need a climbing aid. The optimal planting distance for several plants is 2.5 to 3.5 m .

Plant blackberries in the tub — step-by-step instructions:

      1. Choose a container for the blackberries that has a drainage hole and a capacity of at least 20 liters.
      2. Put a drainage layer on the bottom of the pot. Expanded clay is ideal for this.
      3. Then put a layer of pot fleece in the container as a separating layer between the drainage and the potting soil.
      4. Water the berry bush thoroughly.
      5. Fill some potting soil on the pot fleece.
      6. Place the potted blackberry in the center of the container and fill the space between the root ball and the pot with potting soil.
      7. Press the soil lightly so that no voids are left.
      8. Water thoroughly the blackberry plant in the pot.

Provide a trellis for the blackberries in the tub. This makes it easier for you to tie up, care for and harvest the blackberry plant.

Multiply blackberries by lowering and thus gain your own planting material

Blackberries can easily be propagated by sinkers/ stolons. The ideal time to do this is in late summer. To do this, you should bend shoots slightly in spring and cover them with soil. The blackberry shoot begins to root underground. Sometimes the berry bushes also form sinkers by themselves. You can separate these young plants from the mother plant in late summer and plant them in a new spot in the ground as young plants.

How do I water my blackberries correctly?

The berry fruit requires even soil moisture, but also tolerates dry phases. Sufficient water is beneficial for fruit set and berry size, especially after flowering and especially on light soil. In the absence of moisture, there are small berries that are hard and the aroma is not as pronounced and sweet. However, standing water should never prevail.

In the first year after planting, it is important that you water as needed. This means: In phases without significant precipitation, penetrating watering once a week is recommended. Longer care intervals are better than daily watering with small amounts of water. The moisture should penetrate deep into the soil, encouraging the blackberry to dig deeper with its roots. Blackberries in pots need a steady supply of water. Here, too, water must never be allowed in the coasterstand. Keep the shrubs evenly moist and remember to pay a little more attention to potted plants than to specimens planted in the ground.

How do I properly fertilize my blackberry bushes?

For a bounty harvest, it is important that you fertilize the blackberries regularly . Fertilization in the spring when sprouting is optimal is optimal. A special berry fertilizer is suitable for this. This fertilizer promotes flowering and fruit set. Due to the organic components, an even supply of nutrients is made possible for months. The additional fertilization in July can be done with organic natural fertilizer, an organic special fertilizer that stimulates and promotes the formation of humus and soil life. It is important that the soil is never too dry after fertilizationand the last fertilization takes place at the beginning of August. Subsequent fertilizer applications only have a negative effect on the winter hardiness of the berries. In the absence of fertilizer, the shrubs only bear smaller fruits and form weaker shoots for the following year.

Our gardening tip: In autumn, a dose of compost helps to activate soil life and protect the plant roots against low temperatures. As a natural fertilizer, compost has a lasting effect and improves the soil structure.

How do I properly prune my blackberry plant?

Regular pruning is necessary for continuous hanging and large berries. Every year from May new green shoots grow, but these only form the fruit shoots in the coming year. Therefore, leave these young canes on the plant and, if possible, do not cut them. In the second year, the special side shoots grow on the two-year-old rods. At the end of these flowers appear and later the fruits. The fruit shoots turn brown and unsightly after harvest. Since they will not bloom again, they should be cut off. Blackberries only bear on two-year-old shoots. Therefore, it is important that after harvest in autumn the worn -out canes are cut off close to the ground . Use sharp secateurs and gloves to cut. Try to remove the old shoots with a clean cut. Leave four to five new shoots on the cane.

Our gardening tip: Harvesting the fruit is easier if the shrubs are trimmed regularly. Furthermore, blackberry plants form new rods, especially with proper care. If the plants are climbing too much, a radical cut can restore the distance to other plants. Wild blackberries grow rampant without pruning and overgrow other plants.

How do I overwinter my blackberries?

Aside from pruning, fertilizing and even soil moisture, few care measures are required for blackberry plants. The growth form varies depending on the variety. In the case of fast-growing varieties, it is necessary to guide the long rods to the wire trellis. Long shoots and supporting rods are regularly tied to the wire of the trellis to protect against wind breakage. Compact and upright growing blackberries rarely require tying. A trellis or trellis system is then not necessary. In climatically unfavorable locations, it is advisable to apply a layer of mulch. Especially with blackberries in pots, we recommend the one-year-old canesprotected with fleece or reed mats. This protects the roots and young shoots from severe frost. It is also important that the plants as a container plant never dry out completely, but never have waterlogging.

When can you harvest blackberries?

The ripeness of blackberries varies depending on the variety, climatic location and weather conditions. It is important to know that blackberries, unlike strawberries, do not ripen after harvest . Therefore, it is important that you only harvest ripe blackberries. Initially the berries are green, slowly turning pink, then red and finally they are very dark to black. Early ripening varieties can be harvested from mid-July. Harvesting blackberries lasts for weeks and when there is enough heat, it is advisable to harvest the berry bushes twice a week. With two different types of blackberries, you have fresh blackberries in your garden for an even longer period of time.

How can you tell if blackberries are ripe?

        • First of all, the color is a good indication of the ripeness of blackberries. You can harvest blackberries when the whole fruit is uniformly dark in color. The color is usually deep black.

Ripe blackberries can also be easily detached from the tendril. Unripe fruits are harder to pick. Fact: If the berries are unevenly ripe — some areas of the fruit are red, others dark — there may be an infestation of blackberry gall mites. Unfortunately, it is not possible to harvest these blackberries. The fruits are inedible and should be disposed of with household waste.

What types of blackberries are there?

For a long time, prickly varieties such as ‘Theodor Reimers’ dominated in the home garden. Crossbreeding and breeding brought so-called thornless varieties (actually thornless varieties) onto the market . Unfortunately, these new blackberry varieties had the disadvantage that the taste had little to do with wild blackberries and the winter hardiness was significantly worse. Further improvements in breeding brought the thornless ‘Loch Ness®’ and ‘Navaho®’, which come up with aromatic fruits. The latter is also known as the pillar blackberry.

Another new variety is the dwarf hanging blackberry ‘Black Cascade’®. This special feature bears fruit on this year’s shoots and is ideal for sunny locations on the balcony and terrace. As a sweet fruit, ‘Black Cascade’® can be placed in raised beds or large hanging baskets, is a thornless variety and provides sweet fruit for many weeks from the end of July.

Specialties such as blackberry varieties with pink flowers or red berries are appreciated by enthusiasts. To extend the blackberry season, it is advisable to plant different species. A harvest can take place from July to October and nothing stands in the way of a healthy diet.

A sophisticated breed is the Tayberry (Tayberry) ̶ a cross between a blackberry and a raspberry. In the berry, Rubus fruticosis x idaeus, as it is botanically called, resembles the raspberry. The tasty fruits are red in color and longer than raspberries. The up to 4 m long tendrils and the shape of the plant are similar to blackberries. In addition to their hardy nature and high tolerance to cold, it is worth noting that tayberries are low in fructose.

What pests and diseases can the blackberry get?

Bramble bushes are hardy and not particularly susceptible to pests and diseases. The following diseases and pests can still occur:

Gray mold — fruit rot (Botrytis cinerea)

Especially in rainy, cold summers, the berries are covered with a gray fungus coating. The fruits are not edible and should be disposed of with household waste. It is important that the plant is cut regularly and that airy conditions prevail. Preventive treatments with bio-active agents against fungal diseases also help. Used early, it can prevent or minimize an infestation. Curatively there is no way to save the harvest. Susceptibility varies by blackberry variety.

Spotted Drosophila — (Drosophila suzukii)

With the still relatively new pest, the female lays her eggs in the ripening fruit. The larvae eat and decompose the pulp around the oviposition site. The white-cream colored larvae are up to 5 mm long and visible in the fruit. The fruits do not fully ripen, become mushy and are inedible. The orchard can be tied in with a fine-meshed net as a preventive measure. Make sure the net has a mesh size of 1.2 mm. Furthermore, a dry climate and a loose plant structure are unfavorable for the propagation of the spotted-wing drosophila. Direct combat is not possible.


Drosophila—A Pest That Destroys Entire Crops

It’s hard to believe the damage flies can do. Entire stands of fruit can be destroyed by the invasive pest spotted wing drosophila. Find out here how you can take action against the plague.

Bramble gall mite (Acalitus essigi)

The berries affected by the pest ripen unevenly. They do not turn black over the entire surface, but remain red in whole or in part. Furthermore, the fruits are hard and inedible. Sometimes yellow-white dots are also visible on the leaf. Affected tendrils are severely cut in autumn, since the barely visible gall mites overwinter on the bramble bush. Control in summer is not possible. _ As a preventive measure, sprouting can be sprayed in the spring. Thornless varieties are often affected. Under the right conditions, however, nothing stands in the way of a good harvest next year.

FAQ — Frequently asked questions about blackberries

Why does the blackberry bush bear only a few fruits?

Above all, too much pruning can be responsible for the lack of fruit. If the new shoots were cut in addition to the old canes in autumn, the harvest in the coming year can be small.

Is special berry fertilizer necessary?

Special berry fertilizer is ideal for the formation of flowers and berry development. It contains ingredients tailored to the needs of the plant and ensures an even supply of nutrients for months. Therefore, it is the best choice for the delicious fruit.

How does propagation take place?

Blackberries can be propagated by lowering or cuttings. In the first variant, long shoots are buried. Once roots have formed, the front section can be used as a new plant. When taking cuttings, cut the shoot tips and insert them into a propagation substrate. After just a few weeks, the cuttings have formed roots. Attention: Protected varieties may not be propagated.

When are blackberries picked?

The berries are optimally ripe when they can be easily removed from the plant . The best time is in the morning as the fruit is still fresh and not too hot.

Blackberry tarte flambée recipe

Here you can find the delicious recipe and learn how to use blackberries. Our instructions are ideal for copying. Enjoy your meal!




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