What to do with my Heritage Raspberry??

Billsgarden13(5, Chicago, IL)November 4, 2013

Hi everyone,

I am in a bit of a puzzle here. I received a young Heritage raspberry (only 2 canes) in early September from a friend. I live in an apartment, so I don't have a place to put it in the ground somewhere.

Since then I have been trying to figure out the best care for it because according to my findings on the internet, it is possible to care for them indoors. Right now it is potted in a 6" pot and just within the last couple of days, I noticed that it is starting to put out some new suckers from the bottom.

As far as I know, this plant as not fruited yet. My friend said the vendor stated that they would bloom this year or next season.

My growing conditions:
- My apartment is anywhere from 65-75�F
- I have a Western window that gets a few hours of sunlight, but I have a supplemental light to make sure that it gets 16 hours of light. (Bulb is 6500K color temp and puts out about 2800fc)
- I have kept it pretty regularly watered so soil is moist but not soggy

I would love to keep this going because I love the concept of growing my own raspberries!

But don't they need some chill time? Apparently the vendor said to just pack the main stem in ice for a few days and that should be sufficient. Is that okay? When should I pack in ice if I am getting new canes now?

Please help!

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From my understanding the chill requirements are pretty substantial (600-1200 hours for different varieties), and won't be met by just packing in ice for a short time. Maybe you could put the whole plant in the fridge for a couple months? Since it is an everbearing variety you can cut down all the canes anyway, so just the rootball would need to go in the fridge.

    Bookmark   November 4, 2013 at 8:55AM
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Billsgarden13(5, Chicago, IL)

Okay, that could be an option. Thanks for your input!

I came across this thread (at bottom) after posting from people in Southern California that, if I understand it correctly, doesn't get a chill period? Is that good for the plant?


    Bookmark   November 4, 2013 at 9:48AM
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Do you have a balcony? Or other out-of-the-way place to put it over the winter?

    Bookmark   November 4, 2013 at 9:49AM
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Billsgarden13(5, Chicago, IL)

Unfortunately not, I only have the main living space in my apartment- right now it is growing in my living room.

Ummm, I might be able to harbor it with my parents (who have outdoor space/unheated shed), but how long would I need to leave it there- a month? Should I still try to put it there this winter if it is just now starting to put up new canes?

    Bookmark   November 4, 2013 at 9:55AM
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Even Southern California gets a chill period, just a shorter one (fewer hours accumulated below 45 degrees) than more temperate climates. A month in the fridge or out on a balcony during the winter in your climate would probably turn out to be enough... Insubstantial chilling, and the plant won't initiate new growth and flower in the spring.

    Bookmark   November 4, 2013 at 2:04PM
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Billsgarden13(5, Chicago, IL)

Okay, I might be able to arrange the chilling then. When should I start to chill it? Is it a problem that I have new suckers coming up- do I have to wait for them to be done growing before chilling it?

    Bookmark   November 4, 2013 at 9:21PM
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Beeone(4 N. Wyo.)

If you have new suckers coming up, then keep it indoors and let it grow. You'll probably have to move it to a larger container as a 6" pot is pretty small.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2013 at 1:37AM
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Billsgarden13(5, Chicago, IL)

How large of a container? Would a 2 gallon nursery pot be ok? Thats the only one that is large that I have right now.

If I let it grow the new suckers, when should I give it dormancy? Next winter?

    Bookmark   November 5, 2013 at 7:15PM
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Beeone(4 N. Wyo.)

First, I grow geraniums and amaryllis indoors and garden outdoors, but I don't have any experience in this particular area to rely. The amaryllis do want to go through dormancy each year and one time my brother brought me an apricot tree he bought but never planted, so he brought it over in November so it wouldn't winter kill in its pot outdoors over the winter and it promptly budded out, bloomed, and grew. (It grew in the house all winter and spring, then I planted it outside the next June, where it proceeded to grow and went dormant as normal in the fall.)

I've always had better results when plants have sufficient root room than when they didn't. These raspberries will get fair sized and generate a pretty good root mass. The 6" pot will probably get it started, but if it grows well it will need more room within a couple months at most--otherwise keeping it moist with sufficient nutrients will be a real problem and it will get severely stunted. The 2 gal pot should be a good step up, but you may need to move up again later.

When plants have decided it is time to grow, my experience has been that shutting them down by forcing dormancy is likely to kill them. It sounds like your plants are just "waking up", even though it is out of season. But, you have them indoors so winter cold is not an issue, just short days. I'd let them grow and when they are ready for dormancy, they will start shutting down by themselves. At that time, cut way back on water, put them in the coolest place you can with low light for a while, then bring them back out and resume watering, fertilizing, and plenty of light to start growing again.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2013 at 1:41AM
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Billsgarden13(5, Chicago, IL)

Beeone, thanks for all of your input! I was wondering, how will I know when yo step up the pot size? When canes are over-crowding the pot, or when roots are coming out from the bottom of the current pot? How large do you think I will have to go? A 3gal pot? Wouldn't it be an issue to just step up from the 6" pot directly to the 3 gallon nursery pot?

Thanks again for your patience and insight!

PS- I have a grow light on the raspberry for approximately 14-16 hours a day with a Daylight spectrum (6500K), so I'm hoping that even though the sun doesn't wan to peek through the clouds too much nowadays, the light will help and that it is on for a long time, to help make up for loss of photosynthesis from natural sunlight.

    Bookmark   November 11, 2013 at 1:38PM
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