How to Grow Raspberries

Growing raspberries, is easy and can provide great crops of flavoursome soft fruit – great for eating straight from the plant and used as an excellent ingredient to desserts and jams.

They come in two harvesting types; autumn-fruiting raspberries that produce fruit on the current-year’s growth, and summer-fruiting raspberries that produce fruit on the previous seasons’ growth.


These days you can get a range of varieties that produce fruit in various colours – yellow, pink and red. They also have subtle differences in flavour and sweetness, so choose to suit.

How to Plant and Feed Raspberries 

  1. Incorporate a thick layer of bulky compost to the soil, a month prior to planting
  2. Just before planting add a sprinkling of general-purpose fertiliser over the soil surface
  3. Plant in an area of the garden or allotment that is sheltered from strong winds and preferably a sunny site. Partial shade is acceptable
  4. Dig in lots of bulky manure into the soil to increase soil fertility and improve the soil texture to make it more airy and better draining
  5. Plant bare-roots ‘canes’ in late autumn or early spring. Soak the canes in a bucket of water to hydrate the roots temporarily before planting

While they are soaking you can prepare the planting hole/ trench (for more than one plant):

  1. For one plant, dig a hole 7.5cm (3in) deep. Pierce the sides of the hole with a border forkto encourage roots to penetrate into the surrounding soil
  2. Place the soaked canes in the planting hole and ensure the roots are spread out evenly
  3. Level the soil mark of the raspberry canes to the surface of the surrounding soil and fill back the hole. Consolidating the soil so that the canes remain upright even when you tug at them
  4. Cut back the cane to a healthy full bud about 30cm (12in) above the soil level.
  5. For more than one plant, dig a trench 7.5cm (3in) deep and 30cm (12in) wide. Space canes at 45cm (1 ½ ft) apart. Repeat the process above.

Summer-fruiting raspberries need support, so provide and prepare a post and wire system to attach growing canes to.

How often to water raspberries:
Raspberries are particularly thirsty plants and watering in mornings and evenings is advisable daily during dry periods. Mulch helps with keeping moisture in the soil for active roots.

Growing Summer-fruiting varieties

Short cane types:

  • Cut down cane to about 2cm (1in) above ground level in the first spring. This will encourage multiple canes to grow from the ground
  • Tie in canes as they grow in the first summer. You may not get harvests in the first summer while the plants establish
  • If you notice flowers in the first summer, remove them to encourage vigorous plant growth for future harvests
  • In the following summer harvest the fruits, and prune the fruiting stems after harvests to the ground level
  • There should be some strong leafy (non-fruiting) stems that have emerged from the ground. Tie these onto the supports, as these stems will flower and fruit the following summer
  • Repeat the late summer pruning each year

Long cane types:

  • If your canes are ‘long-cane’ ‘Tulameen’ variety do not cut the canes down at planting
  • Fruit will form on side shoots near the top of the plant, while new growth appears at the base. (This basal growth will form fruits the following year.) 
  • Tie in canes as they grow in the first summer. You may not get harvests in the first summer while the plants establish
  • If you notice flowers in the first summer, remove them to encourage vigorous plant growth for future harvests
  • In the following summer harvest the fruits, and prune the fruiting stems after harvests to the ground level
  • There should be some strong leafy (non-fruiting) stems that have emerged from the ground. Tie these onto the supports, as these stems will flower and fruit the following summer
  • Repeat the late summer pruning each year

Harvesting and Storing Raspberries
Harvest when berries are full-coloured and firm. Pick carefully leaving behind the central white plug. Try to harvest on dry days, as wet fruit quickly deteriorates when harvested.

Raspberries are best used and eaten immediately for the intense flavour. If you do want to freeze them, the slightly unripe raspberries are best for this.

Marshalls recommends these raspberry varieties:

  • Summer raspberry ‘Malling Minerva’: Raspberry Malling Minerva is in our opinion the best early season variety
  • Summer raspberry 'Joan J': The Raspberry Joan J is an easy fruit to grow and yields delicious rewards of beautiful berries
  • Autumn raspberry‘Erika’: It is a high yielding, great tasting variety with an above average sugar content and berry weight
  • Autumn raspberry‘All Gold’: A novel variety producing attractive yellow fruit for lovely autumn colour

Pests and Diseases of Raspberries

  • Raspberry bettle
  • Grey mould