Growing raspberries in pots: the best varieties, plant care & overwintering
Raspberries are a real treat in any summer garden. More importantly, you do not have to go without if you only have a balcony or courtyard, as there are a few raspberry varieties that are suitable for growing in pots or containers.
Commonly grown directly in the soil and under a fruit cage, raspberries (Rubus idaeus) can also be grown successfully in containers or pots. Read on to learn more about how to grow raspberries in pots, how to overwinter them and which varieties are most suitable.
- Growing raspberries in pots: which types of raspberries grow well in pots?
- Planting raspberries in a pot: step-by-step instructions
- Raspberries in pots: plant care tips
- Overwintering raspberries in pots
Growing raspberries in pots: which types of raspberries grow well in pots?
If not kept in check, raspberries tend to take over their growing site. So, growing raspberries in pots can be a good way to control their spread. If planted in the right location and cared for correctly, container-grown raspberries can produce a delicious and impressive crop when harvest time comes.
In theory, all raspberry varieties can be grown in pots or containers. However, some are definitely more suited to growing in pots than others. The more compact cultivars bred specifically to remain small are ideal, as they will not become top-heavy and potentially get damaged in the wind. Summer fruiting varieties can be tricky to grow in containers because they fruit on the previous year’s canes, making pruning quite complex.
Here are some of the best dwarf and compact raspberry varieties suitable for growing in pots:
- ‘Autumn Bliss’: one of the earliest autumn varieties. Produces heavy yields of flavourful fruits from August to autumn. With canes reaching 150cm in height, it is commonly grown directly in the ground but can also be grown in a large container.
- BonBonBerry ‘Yummy’ ®: an almost thornless, primocane variety that produces large red fruit from July onwards. Very compact habit with a mature height of 45cm. Only prune back canes older than 18 months.
- ‘Glen Fyne’: a summer fruiting variety, which produces bright red berries from June to July with an excellent flavour. Thornless canes and a height of 150cm.
- Lowberry ® ‘Baby Dwarf’: the most compact variety available, growing only 50cm tall. Juicy red fruits with a superb flavour. Can be treated as an ever-bearing raspberry with fruits produced both on last year’s canes in June and on the current season’s growth beginning in August. Ideal for pots and containers.
- Lowberry ® ‘Little Sweet Sister’ ®: an autumn variety producing dark red fruits from mid-July to autumn. Medium-sized berries. Grows to a maximum height of 100cm.
- Lowberry ® ‘Goodasgold’ ®: an early autumn variety that produces yellow fruits from mid-July to autumn. Medium-sized berries with a sweet flavour and aroma. Ultimate height of 80cm.
- ‘Ruby Beauty’: a summer fruiting variety that crops from June until July. Red fruits on thornless and erect canes. Grows to a maximum height of 100cm.
Planting raspberries in a pot: step-by-step instructions
Pot-grown raspberry plants are less hardy than those grown in the ground because their roots are more exposed. As a result, it is best to plant raspberries in pots in spring rather than autumn, ideally in time for a summer harvest. Here is how to plant raspberries in pots:
- Prior to planting, water the raspberry plant thoroughly
- Add a 5cm layer of gravel to the base of the pot to aid drainage
- Fill half the pot with a suitable compost, such as our Plantura Organic Tomato & Vegetable Compost
- Work in some slow-release fertiliser like our organic Plantura Tomato Food
- Plant the raspberry at the same depth as before
- Fill with compost, gently firming it as you go
- Water thoroughly
- Add a layer of mulch to help conserve moisture
- Place the container in a sheltered spot with full sun or partial shade
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What is the best soil for raspberries in pots?
Raspberries grow best in a fertile and slightly acidic soil with a pH of 6.5-6.7. With the right pH, multipurpose compost can be used for growing raspberries in pots with some ericaceous soil, like our Plantura Organic Ericaceous Compost, added to increase the acidity if necessary. Our Plantura Organic Tomato & Vegetable Compost is ideal for growing raspberries in pots, as it is slightly acidic and contains the right NPK ratio of nutrients to promote healthy growth and fruiting.
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What size pot do raspberries need?
Raspberry plants develop shallow but wide root systems and must be grown in a large container to fruit well. A 25L pot is recommended for compact varieties, but anything taller than 100cm will require a 40L container to provide adequate root space, nutrition and weight to keep it from toppling over. Being porous, terracotta pots are ideal; Avoid metal containers because they can heat up too much in the summer. Raspberries prefer free-draining soil, so any container used must have adequate drainage holes to prevent their roots from sitting in water.
Do raspberries in pots need supporting?
Most compact and dwarf raspberry cultivars have an erect habit with self-supporting canes and do not need extra support. Larger varieties, especially those over 100cm tall, can benefit from being supported by bamboo canes or coppiced poles and string to prevent the canes from breaking.
Raspberries in pots: plant care tips
Whether grown in pots or directly in the ground, raspberries must not be allowed to dry out. During the growing season, pot-grown raspberries need to be watered regularly to keep the soil moist but not wet. Whenever possible, use rainwater because it contains no chemical compounds that may be present in tap water. As they are heavy feeders, the pot’s soil can quickly become depleted of nutrients, so feed your raspberry plants to encourage a good harvest and prevent any nutrient deficiencies. In addition to a slow-release fertiliser applied at planting, raspberries can benefit from a regular application of liquid feed during the summer months. Our Plantura Liquid Tomato Food is ideal, as it can be applied when watering and contains all the necessary nutrients to maintain plant health and promote fruiting. It is also best to re-pot raspberries in fresh compost every other year to maintain soil health and nutrient levels.
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- Liquid fertiliser for healthy plant growth & an abundant harvest
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Tip: keep an eye out for any yellowing raspberry foliage, which could indicate a nitrogen, magnesium or iron deficiency.
Pruning raspberries correctly is critical to their care and a good harvest. Depending on the variety, they are pruned in summer or winter. For more information, check out our expert article on how and when to prune raspberries.
Can you grow raspberries in hanging baskets?
Raspberries are not commonly grown in hanging baskets, as they require a lot of soil and grow erect canes, which a hanging basket cannot provide or support.
Can you grow raspberries on the patio?
If you are wondering whether raspberries can be grown on a patio or balcony, the answer is most definitely yes. The more compact and dwarf raspberry varieties are ideal for growing in pots or containers on a patio and take up very little space.
Can you grow raspberries indoors?
Technically, raspberries can be grown indoors when pollinators are present. However, due to their size, winter dormancy, and need for at least 6 to 8 hours of sunlight per day, they are almost always grown outdoors.
Do raspberries grow well in containers?
Raspberries can thrive when grown in containers. However, it is essential to use a container that is large enough to hold the recommended amount of soil and has adequate drainage holes to allow any excess water to drain freely.
Overwintering raspberries in pots
Raspberries are hardy plants that do not need any winter protection when grown directly in the ground. However, raspberries in pots and containers are more vulnerable to extreme temperatures and frost damage can occur. To overwinter raspberries in pots, add a layer of mulch and wrap the pots with fleece or bubble wrap to protect them from the cold weather. In severe winters or if grown in frost pockets, move pots to the lee of a wall or under a porch to protect them from the worst of the winter wind and rain. As the temperatures rise, water the plants to avoid the soil drying out, but only sparingly, as raspberries dislike sitting in cold and wet soil.
With the right care and conditions, raspberries in pots can produce an impressive harvest. If you are lucky enough to have more raspberries than you can eat fresh, check out our article for tips on freezing and storing raspberries.