How to Grow Blackberries
and Harvesting Blackberries

Learn how to grow blackberries to be able to reap the benefits of growing this hardy fruit. 

Planting blackberries the correct way can supply you with this fruit for years to come.

Harvesting blackberries takes time and growing blackberries will usually start with a plant cutting. 

Growing blackberry plants from seeds requires some knowledge as well as timing - not to mention great patience.

Get some important tips for growing blackberries to speed along the growing process.

That way you can enjoy these wonderful berries as soon as possible. 

Planting blackberries can be done in beautiful pots or containers as well as planting them in your backyard. 

And learn how to grow blackberries to work with your specific needs and climate.

How to Grow Blackberries

  • Best to plant cuttings or a rooted plant
  • Requires slightly acidic soil with a pH range of 5.5 to 6.8
  • Requires well-drained, fertile, and moisture-retentive soil
  • Likes full sun, but can tolerate partial shade
  • Requires 1 to 2 inches of water per week
  • Adding a good layer of mulch will help keep more moisture near your plant's root system
  • Space your plants approx. 4 to 8 feet apart depending on the variety.
  • Choose a variety that is appropriate for your zone, blackberries can grow in zones 3 to 10  
  • Good yearly pruning is needed to restrict growth as plants can grow rampant if left unattended

Tips for How to Grow Blackberries

Since blackberry plants can live for a long time, be sure to pick a permanent spot for growing blackberries as blackberry plants can produce fruit for 15 to 20 years when grown correctly. 

Blackberries can self-pollinate and will produce fruit even if just one plant is grown.  Also, you will need to decide whether you will be planting erect, semi-erect, or trailing canes.

Blackberries are considered to be perennial plants as their roots will live indefinitely.  Each year this plant will send up new canes that will produce fruit in its second year of life.

Therefore, each blackberry cane will live for 2 years.

After you harvest blackberries from that cane in the 2nd year, you will then trim that cane down to ground level as it will have completed its life cycle.

Make sure not to cut any or too many of the new canes that are on their first year's growth as they will be the ones that you will be harvesting from next season.

How to Grow Blackberries - Best Time:   Plant blackberries as early in the spring as possible - as early as the soil will allow. 

Late spring or early summer can work too.  Just remember that blackberry plants won't produce any fruit until the second year or season.

How to Grow Blackberries in Fall/Winter:   In milder climates, growing blackberries in the fall or winter can be accomplished without too many problems.

In colder climates, planting blackberries in containers and keeping them indoors until they can be moved outdoors in the spring may be necessary.

Mulching blackberry plants in the winter for extra protection may also be required in some states.  Erect blackberry plants are generally more cold tolerant than trailing blackberry plants.

How to Grow Blackberries in a Container

When planting blackberries in a container it is best to opt for the more erect types of blackberries.

These upright varieties will not need a trellis to support its growth in containers.

Varieties such as Arapaho, Apache & Navajo work great in pots or containers and they also do not produce any thorns. 

Its best to grow one blackberry plant per container. 

Planting blackberries in a container large enough to allow for the continued growth of your plant should be taken into consideration.

Blackberry Pruning Tips

When the fruiting season is over, use loppers to cut the old canes at the root crown or ground level.

Pruning at the end of each harvesting season is required to provide room for the new canes for the following year.

Keep enough canes to have a good crop next season, but remove any undesired canes each year.

Pruning helps to reduce unneeded stress on your plants. 

By removing any unwanted canes or branches of your blackberry plants you help to maintain the size, shape, and productivity of your plant.

Some people believe that pruning is best done after the growing season and not before.  Its also important to not let the tips of your plants touch the ground or it may start to produce roots.

3 Different Types of Blackberries

There are basically three different types of blackberries - erect, semi-erect, and trailing.

The erect ones can pretty much support themselves, but the other types tend to sprawl and must be supported by a fence or trellis.

Of the numerous varieties of blackberries grown, some will be early season, mid-season, or late season types of blackberries.

Also, there are thorny or thorn-less types of blackberries which can make growing these fruit much less scarey.

Different Varieties of Blackberry Plants

Cheyenne Blackberries - Grows in Zones 5 to 8

  • Early-season Berry
  • Thorny Variety
  • Erect Plant with Large Fruit

Black Satin Blackberries - Grows in Zones 5 to 9

  • Late Season Berry
  • Thorn-less Variety
  • Semi-erect Plant with Large Fruit

Apache Blackberries - Grows in Zones 5 to 9

  • Mid-season Berry
  • Thorn-less Variety
  • Erect Plant with Large Fruit

Triple Crown Blackberries - Grows in Zones 5 to 9

  • Late-season Berry
  • Thorn-less Variety
  • Semi-erect Plant with Very Large Fruit

Chicksaw Blackberries - Grows in Zones 5 to 9

  • Early-season Berry
  • Thorny Variety
  • Erect Plant with Large Fruit

Navaho Blackberries - Grows in Zones 6 to 10

  • Mid to Late-season Berry
  • Thorn-less Variety
  • Erect Plant with Large Fruit

Harvesting Blackberries

You could start harvesting as early as June depending on the variety and other varieties can be harvested from August thru early October.

Blackberries should be deep purple or almost black in color when they are ripe.

They should also look plump - fully ripened berries should practically fall off the plant when harvesting.

Just grasp a berry between your thumb and finger - gently twist and the fruit should come off easily.

Blackberries will ripen over a period of several weeks and should be harvested every 2 to 4 days. In essence you will be picking blackberries for a month or so.

The best time of the day for picking blackberries is early in the morning and when the weather is dry.  Make sure to pick off rotting or unpleasant looking fruit to help keep your plant healthy.

How to Grow Blackberries -  Seed Tips

Blackberry seeds require stratification before they can germinate which is why planting blackberries is usually not done from seeds.

They are more often started as cuttings from an established plant.

If you do decide to grow your blackberries from seeds, you should start planting blackberry seeds in the fall.  

Blackberry seeds need the chilling of winter before they will be able to sprout.

Some people enjoy starting from scratch so to speak, but others may want a jump start in growing blackberries. 

You can find farmers online or visit your local nursery for that jump start.

Go to How to Grow Strawberries

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