Growing blackberries in Florida isn’t too hard… but growing most raspberries is another story. Today I’m going to share how you can grow both; however, you’re not going to be able to grow both in all parts of the state, so I’ll cover the climate aspect as well.
I received an email recently on the topic of growing raspberries and blackberries in Florida and that triggered today’s post. Let’s just start with the question.
“I live in Pasco County just north of Tampa and are in Zone 9 right at the boundary of A and B, our soil is mostly sandy with low levels of organics. I live on the site of an old orange grove.
I would like to try my hand at some Raspberries and maybe some Blackberries. I have seen wild blackberries in the areas of our community that have been allowed to revert to natural, but they are small and somewhat bitter.
Growing Raspberries in Florida
The nasty thing about Mysore raspberries is their incredible spines. These cane fruit are vicious and even bear spines on the leaves themselves.
I’ve enjoyed growing Mysore raspberries ever since my friend Andi blessed me with a little baby one in a pot a few years ago. That has now grown into a monster plant and borne multiple times. It’s also rooted into the ground outside of its bed here and there. Wherever the canes get a little buried, they’ll start a new plant. I’ve been able to share quite a few thanks to this habit.
Besides Mysore, there’s another raspberry called “Dorman Red” that’s sometimes recommended for Florida but it’s very marginal. I only got one fruit from mine in three years, then it died. Raspberries in general don’t like the heat here and I also believe the winters aren’t cold enough to stimulate them into decent production.
The final variety of raspberry you’ll sometimes see in Florida is the Southern selection “Caroline”. This one produced more fruit for me than Dorman Red, but I only had them growing in pots in my (now defunct) plant nursery. It needs more testing to see if it’ll be worth growing here long-term.
I believe both Dorman Red and Caroline appreciate some shade. Both are very cold-hardy. Mysore doesn’t seem to mind the heat, though it may freeze down during a cold snap that reaches into the low 20s.
Growing Blackberries in Florida
I grew Apache up in Tennessee and down here in Florida I’ve grown Natchez, Ouachita, Kiowa and Arapaho. You can see the University of Arkansas blackberry list and recommendations in this free .pdf.
pH and Cane Fruit
Growing Cane Fruit in South Florida
One Final Option for Florida
I mostly relegated blackberries and raspberries to the novelty side of my gardening plans after discovering the incredible productivity of mulberries.
One mulberry tree will produce gallons of fruit with less work, less care and less water than any cane fruit. They also produce for years, don’t need weeding or mulching, plus will bear in just a year or two after planting.
I suppose if you wanted to get really clever, you could grow a mulberry tree, then plant cane fruit around it to bear a multitude of berries from the ground to the sky.
Good luck with your berry growing plans – may you end up with plenty of delicious fruit.