Planting raspberries: when, where & how


With a passion for growing installed at an early age, I have always been happiest outdoors in nature. After training as a professional gardener and horticultural therapist, I currently run horticultural therapy and community kitchen gardens in the UK, helping others access the many physical and mental health benefits of growing vegetables, fruit and plants.

Favourite fruit: apples and pears
Favourite vegetable: asparagus

There’s no doubt that homegrown raspberries taste better than any shop-bought ones. Raspberries are easy to grow, a great addition to any garden and even grow in pots. Find out when to plant raspberry canes and the best location to grow them.

Raspberry bush
Ever thought about growing your own raspberries? [Photo: Peter Turner Photography/]

Raspberries (Rubus idaeus) are a firm favourite of most gardeners and for good reason. As not only do they need little ongoing care, but they are tough and reliable and provide one of the tastiest treats from the garden. However, in order to thrive, raspberries need to be planted at the right time and in the right location, which we will cover below.

When to plant raspberries?

Raspberries are available to purchase either as bare-root plants or in containers. Bare-root raspberries are only offered when they are dormant from late autumn to early spring and should be planted during this period. Pot-grown raspberry plants are often available all year round and can be planted at any time of year. However, the optimum time to plant raspberries is during autumn, as this gives their roots time to establish before their vigorous cane production begins in spring. Depending on the raspberry variety, autumn planting may also encourage faster fruit production. As when planted out in spring, summer varieties are unlikely to produce harvestable raspberries in the same season, although autumn fruiting varieties may well do so.

Tip: even though raspberries are best planted in autumn, choose a day when the ground is easy to work and not frozen or overly wet.

The best location and soil for raspberries

When it comes to planting raspberries, a sunny site that is protected from strong winds is best. Full sun is necessary for maximum yields; however, raspberry plants can cope with partial shade but may not fruit as impressively. Avoid exposed locations, as strong winds can hinder pollination and damage canes. Most raspberry varieties sold can tolerate temperatures as low as -15 °C and can cope with the average UK winter in all but the coldest of areas.

Ripe raspberries on bush
Raspberries like it warm and sunny [Photo: Igor Pushkarev/]

The best soil for growing raspberries is fertile, slightly acidic (pH 6.5 to 6.7) and well-drained. Our Plantura Organic Tomato & Vegetable Compost is ideal, as not only is it slightly acidic but free-draining and nutrient-rich. Since raspberries require a light and airy soil, avoid any site that is prone to waterlogging or flooding, as saturated soils can lead to root rot and other fungal diseases.

However, it is worth noting that raspberries are vigorous plants and can spread through the development of runners, which can take over an area if not removed. To prevent their spread, either grow raspberries in a contained area or install a root barrier to limit their reach. It is also advisable to choose a new site where raspberries or blackberries (Rubus fruticosus) have not been previously grown, as this will help prevent the likelihood of pests and raspberry diseases developing on the new plants.

Organic Tomato & Vegetable Compost, 40L
Organic Tomato & Vegetable Compost, 40L
  • Perfect for tomatoes & other vegetables such as chillies, courgettes & more
  • For strong & healthy plant growth as well as an abundant vegetable harvest
  • Peat-free & organic soil: CO2-saving composition

Planting raspberries: step-by-step

When planting raspberries there are a few things to consider to ensure they establish well, remain healthy and provide a good crop for years to come. Due to their size, raspberries are typically grown directly in the ground; however, if space is at a premium, some smaller raspberry varieties grow well in pots.

To prepare the site prior to planting, remove any weeds and dig in plenty of well-rotted manure to enrich the soil.

  • Water container-grown plants the day before or soak the bare roots for 30 minutes before planting
  • Dig a hole twice as wide and to the same depth as the current root ball or bare root
  • Add a mixture of fertiliser, such as our Plantura Tomato Food, and fresh soil to the bottom of the hole
  • Loosen the root ball or remove any damaged bare roots
  • Water thoroughly after planting and regularly for the first growing season
  • Place the plant in the hole at the same depth as before, ensuring that the topmost roots are no more than 5cm below the soil level
  • Backfill with soil, gently firming around the roots to remove any air pockets
  • Apply a layer of organic mulch to help suppress weeds and conserve moisture
Tomato Food, 1.5kg
Tomato Food, 1.5kg
  • Perfect for tomatoes, chillies, courgettes, cucumber & more
  • For healthy plants & an abundant tomato harvest
  • Long-lasting fertiliser that is free from animal products - child & pet friendly

After planting, shorten the canes to 25 to 30 cm using a pair of clean and sharp secateurs and install supports as necessary, depending on their expected size when mature. You can find ideas on how to make your own trellis for raspberries in our other article.

Planting young raspberry plant
The right type of soil is important when planting raspberries [Photo: Alex Brylov/]

Raspberry plant spacing

To avoid competition with neighbouring plants and to make harvesting easier, plant your raspberries spaced 45 to 60 cm apart, with 1.6 to 2 m between rows. Providing adequate space between plants helps ensure that the plants receive enough light and ventilation, which will help reduce the prevalence of fungal diseases or pests.

Tip: to prevent bare-rooted plants from drying out before planting them, you can temporarily ‘heel’ them in by covering the roots with some loose and moist soil until required.

Growing raspberries from seed

It is possible to grow raspberries from seed. However, raspberry seed is not easily available to purchase here in the UK and the time from sowing until fruit production can exceed 18 months. Hence, most domestic gardeners purchase pot-grown specimens or cheaper bare-root plants for growing at home.

Raspberries: Good and bad companion plants

Companion plants are those that grow well together for their mutual benefit and do not compete against each other. Some plants that are advantageous for growing with raspberries include:

  • Garlic (Allium sativum), onions (Allium cepa) and leeks (Allium porrum) are all members of the allium family and give off a distinctive aroma that can act as a broad insecticide against raspberry pests.
  • Yarrow (Achillea millefolium) is known to attract a variety of pollinators when in flower, which can help pollinate nearby raspberry flowers.
  • Chervil (Anthriscus cerefolium) is grown as a companion for many plants and if grown near raspberries can help repel aphids (Aphidoidea), slugs and snails (Gastropoda).

However, along with these raspberry companion plants, there are also some plants that should not be grown with or near raspberries, including:

  • Potatoes (Solanum tuberosum) and tomatoes (Solanum lycopersicum) are part of the nightshade family and are susceptible to similar fungal diseases such as verticillium wilt (verticillium dahliae)and therefore should not be grown with raspberries.
  • Blackberries (Rubus fruticosus) and gooseberries (Ribes uva-crispa). Being similar to raspberries, growing blackberries and gooseberries close by is not a good idea, as they can increase the likelihood of soil-borne fungal diseases being transferred.
Watering raspberry bush
Raspberry bushes are thirsty plants and need to be watered well after planting [Photo: Olga Koberidze/]

If you follow the above steps and plant raspberries correctly, your raspberry canes will have the best chance of establishing themselves well and fruiting for many years to come. Nevertheless, for the highest yields, you should prune your raspberries according to their specific variety. Find out all about pruning raspberries in our specialist article.

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