A guide to choosing Raspberry canes

Please find below some information that you may find helpful in selecting raspberry canes:

Growth habit and training. Raspberry is a cane fruit. The fruit is produced on long branchless shoots that grow from the roots out of the ground and are referred to as canes. These can grow to as much as 2m/7ft in length. The canes die after cropping and are replaced by new canes growing from the roots. We supply raspberries in bundles of 10 canes. The canes should be planted 30-50 cm/12-18 inches apart in rows. Thus a bundle of 10 is sufficient for a row of up to 5m/15ft in length. As the plants develop new canes fill the gaps and spread outwards. The outward spread needs to be kept in check. A structure comprising of posts and wires is needed to support the canes. The canes need to be wound around and tied to the wires. New canes should start producing fruit from the second year. The canes have a limited useful life. The quality and quantity of the fruit will start to decline after ten years and it is best to replace the canes with new ones.

Summer and autumn fruiting. Raspberries are classified into two main types: summer fruiting or floricane and autumn fruiting or primocane types. Summer fruiting varieties crop from late June to mid August and the autumn varieties crop from mid August onwards. Apart from the cropping season there is one other important difference between the two types: Summer fruiting varieties produce their fruit on the previous year’s new canes while autumn fruiting varieties produce their fruit on the current year’s new canes. So they require different maintenance regimes. At the end of the cropping season all the canes which have produced fruit need to be cut down to the ground. In the case of summer fruiting varieties these are only some of the canes. The best of the new canes which have not yet produced fruit are left for the following year. In the case of autumn fruiting varieties all the canes should have produced fruit and need to be cut down to the ground. New canes will emerge the following spring.

Cropping season. Raspberries have a long cropping season potentially from late June to early October. In southern England the earliest outdoor grown raspberries ripen in late June and other summer varieties crop during different periods through July and August. Each individual variety crops for a period of two to four weeks depending on the variety and prevailing weather conditions. Autumn varieties start to ripen in mid August and have a relatively longer cropping period which can with good weather last into October. In cooler northern regions of the country the whole cropping season is shifted later. If you plan to grow more than one variety you should choose varieties with the minimum overlap of cropping to spread your season.

Growing in containers. All raspberries can be grown in containers and planter. A new dwarfing variety called Ruby Beauty is now available specifically for growing in containers.

Pollination. All raspberries are self-fertile and individual varieties can be grown on their own.