Raspberries are extremely popular plants because they produce small, sweet berries that are packed with intense flavor. The berries come in a number of varieties, although most consumers are only familiar with the classic red ones. Different varieties have different flavor profiles, and they grow differently, depending on the location. Raspberries can be eaten out of hand, included in fruit salads, added to pies and tarts, or used in preserves and jams. Especially in the summer, these berries are a perennial favorite.
As a general rule, raspberries are very easy to grow. The berries are extremely hardy, and they do well in temperate zones, as long as they are planted in a sunny spot with well drained soil. They will need support in the form of a trellis or fence. Raspberries also require pruning to produce well, since the canes die back after they produce fruit. Different varietals need to be pruned at different frequencies, but all need to be pruned after the fruiting season to make way for fresh canes. Some also like to be “topped” during the growing season, meaning that the gardener removes the upper portion of growth.
All raspberries fall into two categories: summer bearing and ever bearing, sometimes known as fall bearing. The canes of summer bearing plants take two years to mature, and they will produce fruit throughout the summer. Ever bearing raspberries produce one crop on the top half of the canes in the early fall, and follow with another crop on the lower half in the following spring. The pruning needs of each type are different, so gardeners should make sure that they know what kind they have before they start pruning.
Red raspberries are perhaps the most commonly known. Some summer bearing varieties include Meeker, Willamette, Newburgh, Candy, Latham, Chilcotin, Boyne, and Tulameen. Popular ever bearing varieties are Heritage, Amity, Summit, Dinkum, Autumn Bliss, and Caroline. These berries tend to be the easiest to care for, and regional garden centers will have more plants specifically targeted at the local area.
Raspberries can also be found in more unusual colors. Yellow or golden varieties include Fall Golds and Golden Summits. These fruits have the same rich flavor as red ones, but they are a sunny yellow color instead. Consumers can also find dark purple raspberry cultivars such as Royalty and Brandywine. Black raspberries like Cumberland and Mungers are more susceptible to disease, but they yield rich, intensely sweet fruit which is popular in jams and preserves.