Will Raspberries Grow in Containers?
I have 3 blackberry, 3 raspberry, and 2 blueberry bushes. Can they be planted in containers? When planted, what special soil additives should be used for the indivual bushes? I in zone 9. Any help is appreciated, Erika
Answer: Blackberries and raspberries are in the same genus, Rubus, but different cultivars offer different winter resilience and disease resistance. They all like a well-drained soil with a pH between 5.5-6.5. They require good air circulation and frost protection. There are three different growing habits: some stand erect, some are semi-erect and some are trailing, but all do best if provided support from a trellis or fencing system and really like to be heavily mulched to keep their root system cool and moist. Because of that reason I would suspect that their growth and production would not be the best if grown in a container, unless you’re talking about a large raised bed. Some people have reported that growing in a large container has been productive but overall quantity of harvest is lower. Growing in this constrained habit could put the plants under stress and make them more susceptible to insect or disease damage. Both blackberries and raspberries require some pretty specific pruning habits, also. There are two bearing categories that have different pruning times. I suggest you contact your local Extension office for your area’s specific growing and pruning requirements.
Blueberries, on the other hand, seem to do OK in large containers and there are some dwarf varieties that are best suited for this. Just like the blackberries and raspberries, full-size blueberry bushes are going to produce much less fruit when they are containerized. Blueberries like an acidic soil for best growth, so you would need to make sure you are feeding them with a fertilizer made for rhododendrons or azaleas. Blueberry bushes only need pruning once they’re mature, after 3 years, by removing some of the older branches and reducing the height by no more than a third. There is a variety called Sunshine Blue that is recommended for Southern gardens and especially for containers.