Raspberries in the Home Garden

Raspberries are a popular small fruit that grow well in Nebraska and can be used fresh or frozen, in jams or jellies. They grow in a wide range of soil, but prefer well-drained loam, high in organic matter.  The site should have full sun and good air movement to reduce damage from spring frosts, winter injury and diseases.  Some wind protection is recommended to reduce possible cane breaks or winter desiccation.  Do not plant raspberries in soils formerly used to grow potatoes, tomatoes, peppers or eggplant.  The wilt diseases that affect these crops also affect raspberries and the fungus and virus that cause the diseases may remain in the soil for many years.

Red and yellow raspberries produce slender, upright, light brown canes and suckering readily from the crown of the parent plant. Black raspberries have vigorous, purplish-colored trailing canes that may need trellising.  They are not as winter hardy as red raspberries and are also more highly susceptible to foliar and cane diseases, which can reduce production.  Purple raspberries are hybrids of red and black cultivars, and tend to have a growth habit similar to black raspberries.

The crowns of raspberry plants are perennial and produce new canes each year.  First year canes are called primocanes; second year canes are called floricanes.

Raspberries can be divided into two groups, summer-bearing and fall-bearing. Summer-bearing plants produce one large crop of fruit in early summer. Fall-bearing plants, sometimes called "everbearing" raspberries, produce both a smaller crop of fruits in summer on the lower portion of second-year canes, and a larger crop in fall on first year canes.  Fall-bearing plants are often managed to produce only a larger fall crop. 

Good raspberry cultivars for use in Nebraska gardens include the following.

  • ‘Kilarney'- an early season summer red raspberry with bright red medium sized fruits.  Excellent cold hardiness. 
  • ‘Latham'- a mid-season summer red raspberry with good yield, firm round light red fruits and fair winter hardiness.  Resistant to fungal diseases and virus.
  • ‘Cumberland'- midsummer black raspberry with excellent flavor.  Other good black raspberries include ‘Bristol', ‘Jewel' and ‘Mac Black'.
  • ‘Royalty'- purple raspberry with large sweet fruits on vigorous plants.
  • ‘Heritage'- fall bearing red raspberry with large brilliant red fruits on vigorous plants.  Other good fall red raspberries include ‘Caroline' and ‘Autum Bliss'.
  • ‘Anne'- a fall bearing yellow raspberry with large, very sweet, pale yellow fruits.  ‘Fall Gold' is another good fall bearing yellow raspberry with good cold temperature hardiness. 

For more information on raspberry cultivars and culture:

Growing Raspberries