picture of potted Metolious blackberry

fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TXApril 27, 2011

I've now got seven varieties of trailing blackberry in 5 gal pots. Four thorny and three thornless. The Metolious shown below has last years growth in an arch about 4ft tall. You can't see the arch because it is side on. But you can see the two new shoots for next years fruit. The fruit isn't a huge amount but plenty for a taste to see which if any I like.

This shows the fruit on top.

Does anyone else have potted blackberries or raspberries?

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I am growing raspberries in containers, following a greenhouse regimen of "fertigating" (but without the greenhouse). They have really taken off this year. I have Anne and Heritage.

I've also started some Boysenberries (which I already grow in the ground) and some Triple Crown blackberries in containers on the south side of my house which is a difficult growing area because neighbors have decided they need very tall trees planted right against the fence. Time will tell whether these will get enough sun during the growing season. If, not, I can move them.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2011 at 7:42PM
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We have everbearing red raspberries in a bed located near our neighbor's grape arbor. The raspberries see morning sun, & they are in the shade all afternoon. Despite this, the bed produces considerable amounts of good quality fruit, well into October.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2011 at 7:57PM
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Scott F Smith(6B/7A MD)

I don't have any potted blackberries but please post how those guys taste. I got my first Metolius last year and they set about five times the berries per foot of vine compared to yours, and then did not properly ripen. The vine didn't even grow much new cane last year, I think it exhausted itself on the overload.


    Bookmark   April 27, 2011 at 10:05PM
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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX


I've also got fruit on Marionberry, Silvan, and Obsidian. These were planted last year. The three thornless I planted this year are Wild Treasure, Black Diamond, and Black Pearl.

I'll report back in about a month.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2011 at 11:09PM
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Never heard of that one, Metolious. Looks like a Loganberry. I have Doormanred, a deep South raspberry. it is a neat looking plant but the fruit is pretty bland.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2011 at 1:29PM
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hoosierquilt USDA 10A Sunset 23 Vista CA

Wow, lovely fruitnut! I have a Prime Jim, which, when it first leafed out was turned back into a bare cane overnight by either a rabbit or rat, and a Chester thornless. Both are doing very well. My Chester is covered with small little fruit buds. My Prime Jim, which had it's severe setback (now completely caged and I have bait stations all over the place) is just starting to flower on the prime cane. I've got to figure out how to trellis them both pretty soon. And, need to move the Chester pot to put it in a better spot. My landscaper, well meaning, decided to sink??? my pot into the ground. I was trying to explain to him the importance of keeping it in a pot, with a cement paver under the pot to prevent it's roots from spreading. Next thing I know, the pot's sunk in the ground. So, gotta yank it out of the ground, move it, and move the drip. But for now, it's a happy camper.

Patty S.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2011 at 11:37PM
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I do. My blackberry inventory this year consists of 3 Obsidian, 4 Marion, 4 2 year old Prime Arks, 2 Metolius, 4 3 year old Triple Crown, 4 Navaho ( Navajo ), 1 Black Diamond, 2 Black Pearl, 2 Wild Treasure, 1 Nightfall, 5 Kiowa, and 4 Natchez.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2011 at 10:29PM
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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX


A report on fruit quality would be much appreciated.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2011 at 11:26PM
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oregonwoodsmoke(5 OR Sunset 1A)

Fruit report from here will be much later. Blackberries are just showing their first microscopically tiny leaves at the base of the plant. At least they made it through the winter, and later is probably better to avoid late freezes.

The raspberries are organizing to take over the world. Cold doesn't bother them. They are doing their stealth commando thing where they sneak around underground and pop up in the next row over.

Boysenberries are up and having a party. They look awfully good, considering they aren't even supposed to grow here.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2011 at 3:02AM
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Could you elaborate on how you are trellising your potted blackberry plants?

    Bookmark   January 9, 2012 at 6:53PM
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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX


Really simple actually except for dealing with the thorns. You form an arch with current seasons shoots as shown below. Then the next year those shoots fruit and are removed while a new arch, rotated 90 degrees, is formed from current growth to fruit the following year.

The following years arch will be formed, on both sides, where the bamboo stake is in the center of the fully formed arch.

    Bookmark   January 9, 2012 at 10:45PM
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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX


Look at the picture at the top of this post. The fruiting arch is pictured edge on so it doesn't look like an arch. The new arch is being trained up both sides on bamboo stakes. Those new shoots will be arched over the top and weaved together to form the fruiting arch for the following year.

    Bookmark   January 9, 2012 at 11:21PM
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Voyage034(USDA 10a Sunset 23)

Ive been growing boysenberries in a wine half barrel for three years now. I train them up a Y shaped trellis and allow the current years growth to sprawl until late fall when i prune out last years canes. They like to take root on the tips so i have to keep an eye on them when they sprawl. Second year fruit was almost wiped out before it started by earwigs. Took me a while to realize they were the culprits but once I did I ended up with about a half gallon of fruit. Flavor was excellent. Very sweet with a bit of tang. Third year the quality was even better and I picked about a gallon. Im probably going to hex myself here but the birds dont seem to like the berries which is awesome. Im looking forward to this years harvest but am a little nervous as I tore down the old shed they were next to and now they will get full sun instead of half so they will dry out a lot faster.

    Bookmark   January 10, 2012 at 12:48AM
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Thank you fruitnut and Voyager034.

Voyager034: Hadn't thought about boysenberry. What made you select boysenberry over blackberry? Are your boysenberry thornless? Do they taste more like blackberries or raspberries? Do you think they are hardier than blackberries?

1) How often do you have to tie the canes? Every couple of days? Once a week?
2) Once a cane arches back down to the pot, do you cut it off or loop it back around?
3) Do you incorporate all the canes from a plant, or do you limit it to a small number of the most promising canes?
4) I've read a couple of approaches to managing / pruning blackberries. What are you doing? Do you cut off the tips or do you let the canes grow to maximum height? What do you do with the laterals? Do you tie them into your wreath parallel to the canes, or do are they short enough to just let them hang out?
5) Will you choose 5 gallon pots next time?


    Bookmark   January 10, 2012 at 9:57AM
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I am also very interested in the response as i plan to plant blackberries and ras in containers in spring. I was going to go with 18" pots but thinking i may be able to get away with smaller for the first couple years?

    Bookmark   January 10, 2012 at 10:24AM
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Voyage034(USDA 10a Sunset 23)


I chose to plant boysenberries because as a child i loved the boysenberry preserves and pancake syrup from Knotts Berry Farm. When I bought them the tag said 'thornless' but only about half of the canes end up thornless the rest have very tiny thorns that sting a bit if they manage to pierce my gloves. As far as hardiness goes I dont think they are very hardy. My understanding is they were originally grown in Los Angeles and most will be found within a couple hundred miles of there. I am in zone 10a sunset 23 in San Diego. Their flavor is similar to a blackberry. I have yet to try a homegrown blackberry though so I couldnt tell you if boysenberry would be more sweet or tart since I only have storebought blackberry flavor to compare them to and storebought always seem super tart and very little sweetness.

    Bookmark   January 10, 2012 at 11:14AM
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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX

These 3 gal pots are plenty big enough for me. I'll post pictures when they fruit but I expect a qt or two from each plant. The canes were just looped around until there was all the foliage/canes I wanted. Then some was trimmed off the most vigorous, not a lot. There was only 1-2 canes started from each side, looped around, and weaved together. Not much tying but I still might do a little.

When the vigor drops I'll start new plants in fresh media by tip rooting.

There are 7 varieties, 3 thornless, a big plus.

This is what they look like today.

. .
. .

    Bookmark   January 10, 2012 at 2:39PM
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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX

I might add that the new canes didn't put out laterals as long as they weren't tipped. The single cane could just be looped around as many times as desired. Some grew much more than others, one almost dwarf. So there were no laterals to deal with until the cane was tipped. Then laterals galore. That's the material I had to cut off late in the summer. Better not to tip unless you want canes growing everywhere.

The cultivar that is dwarf; short, stout, thornless canes is Black Diamond. My other thornless are Black Pearl and Wild Treasure.

Thorny are Silvan, Marionberry, Metolious, and Obsidian. I liked Metolious last year. Didn't get enough berries on the others to really rate them.

    Bookmark   January 10, 2012 at 3:10PM
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    Bookmark   January 10, 2012 at 4:49PM
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those are only 3 gallon containers? they look much bigger. Could i grow them in 5 gallon pails? do you think they would last a few years? I appreciate all of your assistance during my "learning phase". I found a good source for 55 gallon food grade plastic drums and was thinking about putting the blackberries in those to give them more space. What do you think?

    Bookmark   January 10, 2012 at 7:12PM
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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX


Five gal pails would work fine. Even that is heavy if they need moving. Mine are an actual 3 gal media volume.

These berries are very easy to tip root. So my plan is to grow them 3-4 years or whatever possible and then root a replacement in new media. That seems much better to me than going bigger as the plant gets older. But maybe you have different needs/objectives.

I do expect 2-5 fruit crops off the current pots. I don't need them bigger each year. But how long they last depends a lot on your media. It needs to be stable and very well draining.

They'd do well in 55 gal drums, whole or cut in half. But they probably won't fruit longer. You'd just have a bigger canopy. You would need a real trellis to hold up the tops if growing the trailing type. I'd rather have more smaller pots with a smaller easy to manage canopy. But again I just want a bit of fruit to taste.

    Bookmark   January 10, 2012 at 7:33PM
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Thanks I am planning on growing erect thornless only. arapaho apache ouchita and navaho. with 5 gallon pails i will be able to get more plants but i would prefer less plants with a heavier fruit set (which is why i was leaning towards bigger pots). Seems like rasbs need less room and may work better in 5 gallon. I also want the drums to try and grow lapins cherries.

    Bookmark   January 10, 2012 at 9:05PM
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