How to plant a raspberry?

Last updated on October 23rd, 2023 at 08:16 pm

Everything you need & know

You bought yourself a raspberry plant? Good decision! Now it’s all about how best to plant the raspberry in its new location in the garden or on the balcony. We’ll explain everything that’s important when planting raspberries.

Planting raspberries: In rows, individually or in a group

How to plant a raspberry?


Create your own small orchard in rows

Raspberry plants are very well suited to growing in rows. They always form new shoots, so that gaps in the rows close quickly and you eventually have a real raspberry hedge. Of course, you need the appropriate space for this. You can leave a space of 30 – 50 cm between each plant. The more space, the longer it will take to close the gaps, but the better the individual plants can develop. In a row of, for example, 3 meters you can fit about 7 to 11 plants.

If you plant several rows, they should be at least 1.50 meters apart, 2 meters is better. Then you can still comfortably walk between them. The row spacing also depends on the compass direction of the rows, as they should not shade each other too much.

Raspberries in rows usually grow on trellises. For this purpose, posts or sturdy rods can be connected with cords or thicker wire. The raspberry plants themselves do not put too much weight on the scaffolding, but the structure should be able to withstand stronger winds.
Individual plants and groups

Raspberries can, of course, stand individually or in small clusters. Within a group, a distance of about 30 – 40 cm from the other raspberries is sufficient. “Strange” neighbors, on the other hand, should stand about 40 – 50 cm away.

In pots, the following applies: always plant only one raspberry per pot. Exceptions are large, oblong planters such as mason jars.


Planting raspberries: When is the best time?

Raspberries can be planted year-round unless it is freezing or frost is imminent. You often read that berry bushes need to be planted either in the fall or early spring – but that doesn’t apply to so-called containerized plants. The word doesn’t sound so great, but it simply means that the plants have grown up in a pot and are therefore already well rooted in the soil around them. In contrast, bare-root raspberry bushes are also sold, which are a bit more sensitive when it comes to the right time for planting.

Ideal periods for planting raspberries are usually found from February to the end of June, and then again from the end of August to the end of October, depending on the weather. July and August are often hot and dry. Planting is also possible then, but it requires more watering.

You have to be careful especially when the sunlight is very high. Raspberries like it warm and sunny, but with young plants there is always the risk of sunburn, because the young leaves are not yet accustomed to direct sunlight. Therefore, always leave newly purchased plants in a bright place for the time being, but without direct sunlight. Accustom them slowly to the sun within a few days.


Planting raspberries in autumn

Planting raspberries in autumn has several advantages. For example, the sunlight is greatly reduced compared to the summer, so the risk of sunburn on the leaves of the plant is almost non-existent. The soil in the open ground is usually nice and moist and also in the pot the soil no longer dries out so quickly. However, you still need to water the young raspberry regularly so that it grows well.

Depending on the weather and climate in your region, there can be night frosts even in the fall. This can become a problem if you have not yet sufficiently protected your young raspberries in the pot from low temperatures. However, freshly planted raspberries in the open cannot yet withstand frost very well.

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If you planted your raspberry in the fall, it’s best to look directly at how this works with the wintering of the raspberry.


Planting raspberries in spring

While it can already freeze in the fall, it can still freeze in the spring. So here you need to keep the same things in mind as you would if planting in the fall. However, light night frosts are no problem for the young raspberries with sufficient protection.

The danger of frosty nights is not completely banished until mid-May, but in most regions of Europe you can plant raspberries earlier in the spring. Pay attention to the weather forecast, because the weather can be quite different from year to year.

Planting in the spring also has the advantage that the sunlight is not yet so strong. Also, your raspberry will have all summer to grow strong roots. Thus, it is well prepared for its first winter.


The best location for the raspberry plant

Raspberry plants love sunny places, but also tolerate some partial shade. But in any case, do not choose a shady location for your raspberry. The fruits will only grow beautifully large and sweet when they can ripen in the sun. Potted plants have the advantage that they are mobile. You can place them in the cold half of the year a little shadier, but more protected, for example near a house wall.

Outdoors, you must make sure that the raspberry gets enough sun all year round. Leafless trees in spring can hide how shady it gets under them in summer.
Planting raspberries on a balcony or patio?

Raspberries thrive both outdoors and in large pots. So, of course, a balcony or patio location is also suitable for them. However, be sure to plant them in a pot that is large enough. Depending on the variety, they also need a climbing support. Some varieties branch out more than others. Our Bloomify raspberry, on the other hand, grows more upright and is already happy with a few bamboo sticks for support.

Planting raspberries: how to do it.

Planting is not difficult at all. Once you’ve found a suitable location, all you need to know is what kind of soil raspberries prefer – and then you’re ready to go.
The right soil for raspberry plants

Raspberries like their soil to be always slightly moist, loose, humusy and nicely nutrient-rich. To either a very hard, loamy garden soil or a very sandy soil on the other hand, you need to mix in suitable planting soil, for example compost or our Bloomify soil.

For raspberries in pots, you can also use compost or nutrient-rich potting soil.

Very important: Raspberries do not tolerate waterlogging and permanently wet soil. Pots therefore need drainage holes. Outdoors, be careful not to plant the raspberries in a depression where rainwater collects.
For planting you need:

  • Outdoors: a spade, sand or compost if necessary to loosen heavy soil.
  • Pots: A garden shovel, potting soil, pot, planter if needed.
  • Fertilizer, preferably organic slow release fertilizer or compost

First, you’ll need to gently lift the plant out of its previous pot and remove some of the old soil. The roots should not be damaged in the process, often it is enough to shake off some of the old soil. If the rootball is very firm, however, you can already “knead” it a bit and tear it open slightly. You can also put the raspberry in a bucket of water for a few hours or overnight. This will allow the roots to soak up water and the plant will grow more easily.

How to plant a raspberry?
After a few hours in the water, the roots soaked with it

Planting raspberries in the open ground

Thoroughly loosen your garden soil and use a spade to dig a hole at least twice the size of the root ball. The heavier and more compacted your garden soil is, the better you should loosen the soil all around and dig an extra wide hole. In any case, make sure that it is not too deep.

Depending on the condition of your garden soil, you can still mix it with nutrient-rich potting soil, compost or sand. Sand is only necessary if your soil is very hard and clayey.

When planting, you can also directly provide the raspberry with fertilizer. Organic slow-release fertilizers are ideal. Compost, for example, is an organic fertilizer that works for a long time. You can also buy slow-release fertilizers if you don’t have a compost pile. Among other things, they are available in pellet form, such as our Bloomify fertilizer. You can mix this with the excavated soil or work it into the surface later.

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Center the raspberry plant in the planting hole. Check to see if it is too deep. Raspberries are shallow rooted and will sprout poorly if planted too deep. On the contrary, you can mound the raspberry a bit with soil after planting, it likes that especially.

It is best to hold the raspberry with one hand and fill the hole about halfway with the excavated soil with the other. Press it lightly and fill the hole completely. After watering the young plant, the soil usually still sags, so you can fill the planting hole with some more soil after the first vigorous watering.

You can also mound the raspberry plant by spreading about a hand’s width of loose soil around the lower shoots.

If you are planting in the spring, do not mulch around the plant for the time being. The soil is still cold and cannot be warmed up by the sun through the cover. In summer, on the other hand, it is positive to have a layer of mulch to keep moisture in the soil and protect it from drying out.


Do raspberry plants need a root barrier?

Raspberries are shallow rooted plants and their roots spread in the uppermost soil layers. In the open ground, this often results in runners, i.e. small shoots, sprouting from the ground around the plant. If you don’t want this, you can keep your raspberry in check with a root barrier: This is done by placing a border around the root ball in the soil when planting. You can use a large planting pot for this, or lay stone or wooden boards vertically along the walls of the dug planting hole.

 
Planting raspberries in a pot

The most important thing here is the size of the pot. In pots that are too small, the raspberry will not have enough space to develop many and strong roots. In turn, if the pot is too big, it has too much space and puts all its energy into root growth. As a result, growth in height or the formation of fruit falls by the wayside.

For newly purchased plants, it is best to start with a pot that has a volume of about 25 liters. Pots with a diameter of about 35 cm and a height of 30 cm hold about 25 liters of soil. For comparison: a sheet of A4 paper is about 30 cm long on the long side. You can use handy online calculators to show you the corresponding volume in liters for each pot size.

Plan a layer of gravel, expanded clay or similar materials at the bottom of the pot so that water can drain away well. So, if in doubt, choose a slightly larger pot and give the raspberry a slightly thicker drainage layer.

The drainage layer is followed by enough soil so that the raspberry is not planted too deep. You can also feed the plant directly with an organic fertilizer now. Mix compost or slow-release fertilizer with the planting soil and fill the pot around the raspberry with it.

Now the raspberry is supplied with water. If the soil in the pot sags, you can add more soil.

How to plant a raspberry?
Raspberry is supplied with slow-release fertilizer directly at planting

The perfect pot for raspberry plants


Clay or terracotta pots

You can plant your raspberry directly in a clay pot with a drainage hole. However, these have some disadvantages.

They are very heavy and thus, once planted, difficult to handle.

Unglazed pots have a porous surface and allow water to evaporate. On the one hand, this is beneficial in the summer, as it provides natural cooling of the pot. On the other hand, you’ll need to water the raspberry plant more often to keep the soil from drying out. Raspberries think it’s great if the soil is always slightly moist.

In winter, we want to keep the pot warm; unglazed clay pots then need a little thicker frost protection. If they have become waterlogged, they can break in a heavy frost because the water in the material expands when it freezes.

The moisture in the material will cause lime stains or even a light growth of algae over time. Clay pots therefore need to be cleaned regularly.

However, well maintained, they look great and are suitable for raspberries if you follow the above points. In addition, the weight is also a plus: the pots are less likely to tip over.

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Plastic pots

One option is to plant the raspberry in a lighter plastic pot. This makes it mobile. There are now many planters made from recycled plastic or other plastics that are better for the environment than traditional pots.

But beware: dark plastic pots in particular heat up a lot in the sun. Thus, the soil becomes very warm, dries out quickly and the roots can overheat. Dark pots should therefore not be placed in very sunny locations.

An additional planter can protect against overheating. However, this must also have a drainage hole if your raspberry gets rainwater. If your raspberry is placed under a roof, you can also pour out excess water from the planter – but don’t forget to do this!

By the way, a planter also protects against cold temperatures, since plastic pots are usually very thin-walled.

For pots made of lightweight material, you should choose a rather wide and therefore less high model. Raspberries are flat-rooted plants and do not need particularly high pots. In addition, the risk of tipping over is then less. However, with a drainage layer of gravel and filled with moist soil, even a plastic pot should not run the risk of tipping over quickly.


Pots or tubs made of zinc or other metal

You should only ever use metal planters as planters. The material is not corrosion resistant and also gets very hot in the sun. But otherwise, with good care, it is durable and looks chic.


Other planters

There is a huge selection when choosing a planter. As long as it’s big enough and water can drain away, you’ve already met the main points for a raspberry to feel comfortable in it.

For example, there are pots and planters made of natural materials such as wood, bamboo, sisal or jute. Our Bloomify planter is woven from sea grass.

Also a great thing are planting bags, which come in a variety of materials. However, durable models usually have a plastic component.

 
Repotting: It has to be done sometime

When cultivated in a container, the raspberry plant is repotted more often when it is young. This is mainly to give it more space to develop large and strong roots and to thrive. Later, the focus is not so much on growth, but on providing the plant with fresh soil. The first repotting is on the agenda right after purchase. This is followed by the second repotting into a larger container after about 2 – 3 years. After another 2 – 3 years the plant is repotted again, so that after about 6 years you should have a pot volume of at least 30, better 40 liters. From this point on, further repotting can take place every 4 – 5 years to replace the soil.

Good neighbors for your raspberry plant

If you want to plant raspberries, you may be wondering who the tasty berries will do best next to. You need to keep these points in mind:

  • Raspberries are shallow-rooted plants. Other shallow-rooted plants nearby may become competition.
  • Raspberries need air and sun. Neighboring plants should not shade them or crowd them too closely.
  • Raspberries are heavy feeders and need adequate fertilizer. Plants may compete for nutrients with other heavy feeders nearby.

You can use the space around your raspberries to plant garlic or spring onions, for example. They won’t mind the shade below the raspberries and won’t take up much space. Also suitable are bush beans or low pea varieties. They are low growers and even enrich the soil with nitrogen.

Very nice is also the combination of raspberries with flowers. Here, marigolds and marigolds or even forget-me-nots come into consideration. They attract pollinators, so you can harvest even more delicious raspberries.

Do you feel like having your own raspberry plant?

Author

  • James Jones

    Meet James Jones, a passionate gardening writer whose words bloom with the wisdom of an experienced horticulturist. With a deep-rooted love for all things green, James has dedicated his life to sharing the art and science of gardening with the world. James's words have found their way into countless publications, and his gardening insights have inspired a new generation of green thumbs. His commitment to sustainability and environmental stewardship shines through in every article he crafts.

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