How To Grow Blackberries

blackberries

Blackberries can be grown for their flowers as well as their fruit and make an attractive display trained over a pergola or up a wall.

Blackberries will grow in most soils, however, they won’t flourish in poorly drained, clay soil or sandy soil, because they like the soil to be moist in growing season. If your soil is poor, improve it a couple of months in advance by digging in plenty of well rotted manure or compost.

blackberries growing on a trellis

Planting Blackberries

Plant your blackberry bush in autumn, ideally in mid October, in a spot where they’ll get plenty of sunlight but where their roots won’t be too exposed to the sun. Ideally, they need to grow somewhere that you can train their canes up a wall or a fence in the shape of a fan, or over an arch.

For more on sowing and planting out fruit, check out our guide.

Caring For Blackberries

In early spring, around March, apply a compound fertiliser to boost growth and keep them well watered (but not wet) once the weather starts to warm up, when the berries start to colour and again after picking.

Cutting Out Canes

To keep the plant healthy, canes that have finished fruiting should be cut out at soil level – new canes will provide fruit for the following year. Try to limit the plant to six to eight canes per plant. New canes can provide a home for diseases over winter, so two-yearly cropping will help avoid this. Cutting off all the canes after fruiting will also make pruning and training easier. Remember to tie in the new canes as they grow.

blackberries

Harvesting

Usually around August, blackberries will be ready for picking – once the fruits have turned from white to red to blue-black. They are usually picked without stalks and you can tell they are ready if you give the fruit a gentle tug – if they come away easily they’re perfectly ripe. If they’re clinging on tenaciously to their stalks, they could probably do with a few more days.

For more on harvesting fruit, check out our guide.

Varieties Of Blackberries

Adrienne

This early fruiting blackberry is spine-free and grows very quickly. The fruits are large and tasty.

Loch Ness

The canes of this varietie are vigorous growers, spine-free, semi-erect and very easy to manage. The fruits are very large and flavoursome.

Chester

This late, heavy-cropper will really extend your blackberry picking season. The fruits are sweeter than most other blackberries.

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