Growing Boysenberry Plants

Boysenberry plants are the result of a cross between raspberries and blackberries. The large, tasty fruit of the boysenberry becomes dark, reddish purple when ripe. Boysenberry bushes can be grown in zones 5 and south, but are considered an invasive species in some parts of the country.

Successful Boysenberry Plants Are No Accident

Although boysenberry plants are vigorous and will trail freely, you'll have a healthier and more productive plant if follow the following tips:

  • Site and soil. Boysenberry plants require plenty of sunlight and soil that drains well and is rich in organic material. To corral their wandering ways, consider planting your boysenberry in a large container. Boysenberry plants have a trailing habit, which means you'll need to provide a sturdy trellis for your plant to grow into.
  • Don't buy trouble. If you're planting in the ground, avoid sites where potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, eggplant or other berry plants have been planted in the last 3 years. These plants can leave diseases in the soil that will weaken your boysenberry plants.
  • Planting time. North of climate zone 6, you'll want to plant your boysenberry in the late spring. Gardeners in zone 6 and south will want to wait until the fall to put their plants in the ground.
  • Growth cycle. Like their parent plants, boysenberries will not produce fruit on first year growth (called primocane growth). Berries will form on second year growth (called floracane growth), which will die back after the harvest is complete.
  • Care and feeding. Boysenberries require average water and little in the way of fertilizer until harvest season. In late spring, just prior to berry formation, begin a weekly feeding of half strength liquid plant food. Suspend feeding when berry production stops.
  • Pruning. You won't need to prune your boysenberry during its first year, but be sure to train the canes up into the trellis. In following years, cut fruit producing canes back to the ground at the end of the harvest season.
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