Growing Raspberries from Planting to Harvest

, written by Benedict Vanheems gb flag

Raspberries ripening

Every garden should include ravishing, pop-in-the-mouth raspberries. Given the amount of space they occupy they yield a phenomenal quantity of berries, which are equally good eaten fresh or frozen to enjoy in the quieter months.

Raspberry canes grow best in a sunny, sheltered position, but unlike many fruits they will also grow quite successfully in a part-shaded spot. This cool-climate fruit loves soil that is rich and moisture retentive. It’s a good idea to add plenty of well-rotted, nutrient-rich organic matter such as compost, either as a mulch or by digging it in, to help support and feed your new canes, replenishing with more every year.

Summer vs Autumn Fruiting Raspberries

There are two types of raspberry. Summer-fruiting raspberries develop their fruit on last year’s growth, while autumn-fruiting types produce berries on new canes.

A mix of both summer and fall varieties is a great way to maximise the period you are able to harvest these delicious berries.

How to Plant Raspberries

Start with one-year-old raspberry canes from a reputable nursery. In mild areas you can plant canes from late autumn to give them a head start, but if winters are very cold where you live wait until the ground thaws out in early spring.

If you’re planting potted raspberry canes, dig a generous hole for each cane then fork in a bucket of garden compost.

Soak bareroot raspberry canes in water then spread the roots out along a trench

For planting bare-root canes, it’s easier to dig a trench for the row of canes, then spread the roots of each cane out along the row. Fill the soil back in and firm it down with your foot. Canes should be spaced 18 inches (45cm) apart, with about four feet (120cm) left between additional rows so they’re easy to access. Cut the canes back to nine inches (22cm) tall once they’re planted to encourage new growth.

Training Raspberries

Raspberry canes grow up to head height and beyond, so they’ll need a support system. Drive in two upright posts at each end of the row, then stretch strong galvanized wire between them.

The posts should be about six feet (2m) tall with three horizontal wires for summer-fruiting raspberries, or two wires for less-tall autumn-fruiting types.

Training raspberries on wires makes them easier to manage

Harvesting Raspberries

Pick raspberries as soon as they have coloured up all over. The berries should detach easily from their central plug. Raspberries won’t keep for long, so enjoy them as soon as possible after picking.

We reckon the best way to enjoy them is with a dollop of Greek-style yoghurt or cream, with perhaps an indulgent drizzle of maple syrup. You can freeze excess berries for use in smoothies and desserts, or make them into delicious raspberry jam.


Pruning Raspberries

Prune summer-fruiting raspberries immediately after you’ve finished picking them. Cut all the canes that produced berries back down to the ground. Use garden string to tie the strongest canes that remain to the wire supports. There shouldn’t be any more than one cane every four inches (10cm) of wire, so cut down additional canes.

Fall-bearing raspberries are even easier to prune – simply cut all the canes back to the ground in late winter.

Prune out the previous year’s canes on summer-fruiting raspberries

Keep your raspberry rows tidy by digging or pulling up new canes that grow well away from the rows. These are called ‘suckers’, and if your raspberry canes are disease-free you can use them to raise new plants. Dig them up, set them into a fresh area of prepared ground and water them in.

Raspberries are so easy to grow and packed with flavour, so you certainly won’t regret making space for a few canes. Hopefully this has given you the confidence to give them a go; or if you’re an old hand at growing raspberries, why not share your own growing tips or recommended varieties in the comments section below?

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Show Comments


"I am planning to build a raised bed in my garden for herbs, salad and soft fruits. I am a complete beginner! Are raspberries suited to grow in a raised bed alongside strawberries? many thanks!"
Kelly on Sunday 18 February 2018
"Hi Kelly. They should be fine growing together. The only thing to watch out for, however, is that the raspberries don't over-shadow the strawberries or flop onto them. Leave enough space between the raspberries and strawberries and make sure the strawberries will get enough direct sunlight."
Ben Vanheems on Monday 19 February 2018
"I have moved into a house with a well established old garden. While cutting back a BlackBerry bush I have found a raspberry bush. unfortunately I have cut a lot of new growth off. Will I be able to save it. I am new to this type of gardening learning as I go so very grateful for any advice."
Jo on Sunday 13 May 2018
"Hi Jo. It's likely you won't have irreparably damaged the raspberry. It may not fruit this year (though it might!), but it shouldn't have been killed off at least, and normal fruiting should resume next year."
Ben Vanheems on Monday 14 May 2018
"I just inherited a garden patch with 2 rows 20 feet long of overgrown raspberries. Lots of dead canes among crowded producing ones. I hardly know where to begin."
Karel on Sunday 20 May 2018
"Hi Karel. Cut out all of the dead canes and any canes growing away from the rows and their supports. You may need to thin out the remaining canes to de-congest them, to allow light and air to reach those that remain. This promotes a much healthier growing environment. Check out our other articles on pruning raspberries for more specific advice - just search 'pruning raspberries' in the search box at the top of this page."
Ben Vanheems on Monday 21 May 2018
"Why raspberries in the fall don't ripen. The patch is older and thick."
Mignonne on Monday 17 September 2018
"Raspberry canes can eventually grow old and unproductive. If they aren't producing as much fruit or failing to ripen, but you have enjoyed good harvests in the past, this could be the reason. It may be the time to plant new canes in a new area of ground, to stimulate better harvests."
Ben Vanheems on Monday 17 September 2018
"Do you have any advice on growing Youngberries? I believe they are a raspberry cross. My plant produces flowers but the bud whither before fruit is set."
Valerie on Sunday 30 September 2018
"The youngberry is a cross between a blackberry-raspberry hybrid and a dewberry. They grow in a similar way to blackberries and raspberries. If they are producing flowers, then that's a good start, but if they are then withering this could be a sing of poor fruit set, possibly as their aren't enough pollinators about. You could try planting flowers to attract pollinators nearby. We have an article on growing hybrid berries, including youngberries. Ssearch Choosing hybrid berries in the search field at the top of the page here."
Ben Vanheems on Monday 1 October 2018
"Hi, i have just moved into a new property with only paving slabs in the back garden. Is it possible to grow raspberries via pots? If not is there another fruit or veg better suited to pots i could grow? Thanks in advance"
Rob Broome on Monday 8 April 2019
"You can certainly grow raspberries in containers, which will need to be filled with a soil-based potting mix. Other perfect fruits for growing in containers are strawberries and blueberries. Check out our other videos and articles on container-growing - just search 'growing vegetables in containers' for a list of all our videos and articles on growing vegetables and fruits in pots."
Ben Vanheems on Tuesday 9 April 2019
"Hello, Thank you for the great article! Quick question. You said to pull up suckers that are well away from the main stem. What about those nearby? I planted a couple of bushes in early June and both have suckers (if that's the right term) closer by, as well as farther away. Thank you! Walter"
Walter Rosenberg on Thursday 3 October 2019
"Hi Walter. Basically you want to differentiate the new stems that are coming up to replace the old ones, with ones growing some way off that can't easily be tied into the supports to maintain a neat row of canes. So it doesn't really matter which ones you pull up, it's more about making it easier and neater to grow them. So pull up any further away that are difficult to tie in and cause the plant to 'spread' into other areas, but keep those you can easily manage."
Ben Vanheems on Monday 7 October 2019
"I’m planning on making an archway and wall into my veggie garden with posts and stainless wire. I’d like to have raspberries growing in the garden bed in front of it. Plenty of sun etc but will raspberries be ok in one bed long term (they will be fertilised, mulched, etc) or will they have to be moved regularly?"
Sarah on Saturday 9 November 2019
"Hi Sarah. Yes, the raspberries would be fine in one bed, as they will grow in one place for several years or more. Keeping them mulched with organic matter is key to a good crop. It sounds like you've a good spot for them."
Ben Vanheems on Monday 11 November 2019
"We have inherited a small raspberry plant in a pot that look like it was on its last legs. we have repotted and in the last 3 months has shot up from 2 inches to about 3 foot. However the top leaves and a few of the bottom ones have turned grey (it has been unseasonably hot on the Central Coast of NSW, bush fires, 40 degree temps(celsius) not every day but premature to summer. Would it have a bug eating it or has the heat detroyed it and it is recoverable?"
john on Saturday 7 December 2019
"John, it sounds like tough conditions for you in NSW at the moment. Raspberries don't like it too hot - they thrive in a Scottish climate, which is probably more like parts of Tassie than NSW. So it could well be heat damage. Make sure you keep plants watered and in as cool a part of the garden - likely in shade - as you can muster."
Ben Vanheems on Friday 27 December 2019
"How many raspberry canes do you recommend planting together? I was thinking of starting with 2 and seeing how much these propagate over the years. DO you think 2 isn't enough? I'm wanting a mini Orchard with an apple tree some herbs and some soft fruit"
Bekcy on Wednesday 15 January 2020
"Hi Becky. Raspberries are self-pollinating, so you should be fine with two canes. The important thing is to attract plenty of pollinators into the garden to ensure even pollination and berry formation. Additional herbs, as you plan, should help with this (if left to flower) as well as other pollinator-friendly favourites. You can usually buy raspberries in bundles. I'd be inclined to seek a bundle out (it will consist of several canes) to give yourself a head start."
Ben Vanheems on Thursday 16 January 2020
"HI, I live in South Yorkshire UK. I planted a shop bought raspberry cane last Summer, and planted it . I added fish and bone to the soil, and it grew like mad, producing a couple of berries, which ripened. I knew I had to prune them but I didn`t know when, so I have left them. There is now 1 sucker about 1` away from the main plant. Following your instruction, I will dig it up and replant it . will the original plant refruit this year, or will I have to wait and prune it back , and wait till next year? I have never grown raspberries before, "
MR A MACTAGGART on Tuesday 7 April 2020
"Hi Mr MacMacTaggart. Can you advise what the variety/name of the raspberry is? That would tell us whether it's a summer-fruiting or autumn-fruiting variety, which are pruned at different times. Have any other shoots come up close to the original cane? The berries are produced on the new season's growth, so if new canes pushed through, after late last summer or this spring, then you want to save these ones and cut out to ground level the older canes that fruited last year. I'd do this as soon as possible, so the plant is putting all of its energy into new fruiting canes for this summer. If there are indeed new canes, you can expect fruit this year."
Ben Vanheems on Thursday 9 April 2020
"Hi, I am about to plant 3 raspberry plants I purchased at the garden center. Do I need a covering for my raspberry plants to protect them? I see you have something overhead. Thank you, Cindy "
cindy on Thursday 16 April 2020
"Hi Cindy. Covering them isn't essential. The fruit cage you saw is an ideal - for when you're growing lots of fruit - to keep the birds from snaffling the berries before you have a chance to pick them. But you may find the birds don't take many fruits and it's fine to share the few they take. Certainly netting/a fruit cage isn't essential to their growth."
Ben Vanheems on Friday 17 April 2020
"Thanks for your brilliant and informative growing guides. I really enjoy all aspects of gardening but I'm pretty useless with raspberries. Your video was so clear, I'll never cut down the wrong canes again! Best of luck for continuing success and stay safe"
Liz Prior on Friday 22 May 2020
"Many thanks Liz - so pleased the video was useful."
Ben Vanheems on Monday 25 May 2020
"I received the raspberry plant from the nursery and it looks like a big stick. The roots looked good and it has she'd outer bark. When will I see branches and leaves?"
Valerie on Friday 29 May 2020
"Hi Valerie. Once you plant your raspberry canes and start watering them, they should sprout leaves very soon afterwards - usually within two weeks."
Ben Vanheems on Monday 1 June 2020
"I live in Melbourne and have bought 8 Summer and 5 Autumn fruiting canes from a local nursery to plant in next few weeks. I am preparing an area about 3m along my rear fence which seems to get the sun for most of the day even in Winter. How far apart should i plant the raspberries and should i plant 2 rows? I can manage putting in posts, wire, netting etc but have very limited gardening knowledge and fear any of my pruning could actually kill them off lol. Any advice? "
Mal on Thursday 11 June 2020
"Hi Mal. Canes should be spaced 45cm apart, with about 1.2m left between rows if planting more than one row. Be brave - raspberries are pretty resilient and you'll do just fine I'm sure. I would recommend a double row to make the most of the space you have, but a single, long row would work fine too."
Ben Vanheems on Thursday 11 June 2020
"Thanks, just need to get the wire and straw. Hopefully one last thing, i've read in one of the sites on the internet on how to grow raspberries, that they should be planted in bunches of 3? If that is ok, does it apply to Summer and Autumn canes?"
Mal on Thursday 11 June 2020
"Hi Mal, I would always plant raspberries individually, rather than in bunches. They will soon grow out to fill their space and will establish better with the extra room."
Ben Vanheems on Monday 15 June 2020
"Hi Mal I find your website really helpful but unless I have overlooked this, I could not find advice on dealing with the raspberry beetle. Our plant is only 2 years old and last year the beetles attacked all the young leaves and it happened again this year resulting in only 1 very poor raspberry! I have cut the canes right to the ground and disposed of them and the few branches carefully, and also forked around the canes to expose any beetles (as advised on Gardeners’ World forum) but wonder what I need to do to prevent this occurring again next year. Can you please offer any advice."
Lynn on Tuesday 30 June 2020
"Hi i live in the uk near ELY cambridgeshire and have around 50 raspberry canes and every year when its picking time i always get some small white worms in some of the raspberrys, on the inside mainly after being picked they range from 5 to 10mm in lenth and are quite thin, they are not maggots, i suspect they are a moth catapillar but am not sure, how can i prevent these worms eating the raspberrys ?"
Anthony Croft on Saturday 4 July 2020
"Hi i live in the uk near ELY cambridgeshire and have around 50 raspberry canes and every year when its picking time i always get some small white worms in some of the raspberrys, on the inside mainly after being picked they range from 5 to 10mm in lenth and are quite thin, they are not maggots, i suspect they are a moth catapillar but am not sure, how can i prevent these worms eating the raspberrys ?"
Anthony Croft on Saturday 4 July 2020
"Hi Lynn. Raspberry beetles can be a nuisance during the summer. They overwinter in the soil, so the only thing you can do to prevent them is to disturb the soil around the canes a few times over the winter, to expose any overwintering bugs to insect-eating birds, which will then hopefully deal with them for you. The only other option to avoid them is to grow autumn-fruiting varieties."
Ben Vanheems on Monday 6 July 2020
"Hi Anthony. I wonder if they could be raspberry beetle larvae, as described by Lynn above. Either way, I would remove all old leaf litter at the end of the season and fluff up the soil around plants to expose any grubs to hungry birds and cold weather. You could then look to set up fruit cage netting next season, to stop moths etc. from reaching your plants."
Ben Vanheems on Monday 6 July 2020
"Hi There: I have bought two bushes and want to plant them now before the winter comes. Do I need to cut the canes down to the ground or do I just leave them as is? TKX so much for your help."
Pam on Thursday 3 September 2020
"Raspberries are best planted when they are dormant - from late autumn to early spring. After planting, cut them down to about 8-10inches / 20-25cm, which will encourage more canes to sprout from the base."
Ben Vanheems on Friday 4 September 2020
"How do I keep the frut flys away from my raspberry patch?"
Tracy Cadeau on Sunday 24 January 2021
"Generally netting is the solution to most larger pests. For smaller pests you could cover the berries in insect mesh or similar. Generally the very small fruit flies that you sometimes get in the fruit bowl wouldn't affect fresh fruits that are still on the plant. "
Ben Vanheems on Monday 25 January 2021
"I'm a little confused. On an earlier reply you said raspberries are self pollinating and that we should attract pollinator plants into the garden. I'm thinking of planting mine in a net tunnel, so is this a good idea or not. Many thanks for your great site"
Linda Firth on Saturday 13 February 2021
"Hi Linda. Raspberries are self-fertile - which means you can get away with planting just one variety. They are generally self-pollinating too, but you will get a far superior fruit set if you also have the help of bees and other pollinating insects. Raspberries are often grown inside a fruit cage, lined with netting that enables insects to come and go, but that keeps the birds off. Alternatively you could leave planted uncovered, then temporarily cover them once the fruits have set then remove covers at harvest time. Generally, if you can allow insects entry that would be ideal."
Ben Vanheems on Saturday 13 February 2021
"Initially I over pruned my raspberries and lost fruit. Now I put a peg on the fruiting canes so I can easily identify which ones to cut back to the ground at pruning time. My raspberries are along a fence next to an old grapevine. I carried 3 rows of tension rods along the length of the fence incorporating the grapes and raspberries, and along the top post of the fence screwed galvanised hooks to hang netting . I cut the netting extra long so it has plenty of slack to come down over bamboo canes at the front of the garden and peg into the ground. Interplanted with spring onions and sweet alyssum. Worked really well and great crop of berries with no loss of fruit to the birds. Sadly the grapes did not do so well but it seems it was a bad year for grapes in the region. "
Nana on Saturday 21 August 2021
"Hi Nana. Thanks for sharing your system - it sounds like you have a very successful setup there. "
Ben Vanheems on Sunday 22 August 2021

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