Home grown raspberries are sweet and delicious. Raspberries are best adapted to the cool coastal climates of California, with the exception of the Bababerry cultivar (fall-bearing) which seems to tolerate heat in the southern and central valleys. There are 4 groups of cultivars based on fruit color: red (most common), golden-yellow, black, purple. Raspberries are closely related to blackberries.
Summer-bearing red raspberries are the most common variety. These produce biennial canes called primocanes that grow one year and develop into floricanes, or fruiting canes that bear fruit, the next year.
Fall-bearing varieties produce canes that bear fruit in late summer and fall on the top portion of the current season’s growth. If these canes are left to overwinter they produce fruit in the spring on the lower portions of these canes.
Most raspberries develop many shoot suckers from the root system, which can be broken off and rooted. However, it is best to purchase certified disease-free vines from your local nursery to ensure disease-free rootstock.
Raspberries do best when grown in full sun. If growing in rows, plant rows in a north-south direction to get even sun exposure on both sides of the row.
Raspberries do best when the soil is deep, rich and well-drained. They refer acidic soil, with a pH between 5.5 and 6.5. Compost makes a good soil amendment for raspberries; it helps increase the water-holding capacity of the soil and improves drainage. Read more about cultural conditions for raspberries.
Raspberry roots grow mainly in a horizontal direction, so it is very important to plant at the right depth. The roots should be planted about 2 inches (5 cm) below the soil surface. Plant from late fall through early spring. Dig a shallow hole and spread the root mass so that the highest point of attachment to the cane is about 1-2 inches (2.5-5 cm) below ground level. Cover roots with soil and press firmly and water in the plants. Cut the canes back to about 6 inches (15 cm) to encourage new growth.
Set plants from 2 to 4 feet (30 to 60 cm) apart with 8 to 10 feet (2.4 to 3 m) between rows. Red raspberries typically require less space than black and purple raspberries, so can be planted closer together (1 to 2 feet apart), although rows should be set the same distance apart. Read more about planting raspberries.
Raspberries should be grown on a support system. Read more about trellis systems for raspberries. Read more about trellis systems for raspberries.
Apply organic fertilizers in the late fall or early winter; apply inorganic fertilizers in spring when new growth begins. Follow package directions. Read more about fertilizing raspberries.
Raspberries should be kept evenly moist without making the soil soggy. Soil that is consistently too wet will cause root rot. Depending on the weather, they require 1 to 2 inches (2.5 to 5 cm) of water per week from June through September, and less water during the cooler months. If the weather is hot and dry, they will require additional water. Read more about irrigation for raspberries.