Propagating raspberries is a simple and effective way to expand your garden’s berry production. Raspberries are versatile and hardy plants, which makes them suitable for a lot of different climates—a bonus for those of us living with shorter growing seasons.
Knowing how to propagate them successfully means you never have to go without raspberry plants!
Raspberries are one of our favorite fruits. They are super healthy and taste delicious. With last year’s abundance, we made gallons of raspberry juice to can. It’s wonderful.
They also freeze really well which makes them a super berry in our world. The strawberry is still my favourite berry, but the raspberry comes in a close second!
Raspberry canes can be easily found in gardening centers, but an even better method of getting new raspberry plants is by propagating them from a neighbour’s plants.
Each year, raspberry plants will send up runners. This method works best in Spring, and there are also other methods of getting new raspberry plants.
Different methods of propagating raspberries include using suckers (or runners), division, and tip layering.
Each method has its benefits, and knowing which one is best for your specific situation will help ensure a successful propagation process.
Raspberry plants can be propagated by dividing the roots and suckers. With this method, you select a healthy sucker and carefully dig it out to ensure minimal damage to the roots.
You should be able to see tiny roots on the end of the sucker. If it broke off with no tiny hairlike roots, choose another one.
The sucker is then planted in well-drained, rich, and fungus-free soil to encourage new growth. This method is relatively easy and is the method that I have always used.
If you have a neighbor or friend with delicious raspberries, ask for a few suckers in spring. Plant them a foot apart, and you’ll soon have a big raspberry patch.
Tip layering is another method to propagate raspberry plants. This method works well if you want to add to your existing patch.
Choose a flexible, long cane during spring or autumn, and remove the leaves approximately 30cm from the growing tip. You don’t cut off this cane, but rather bend it down into the soil.
First make a slight wound on the cane, with a sharp knife. Dig a shallow trench 10cm deep in the soil, then lay the wounded part of the cane in the trench.
Cover the wounded part of the cane with soil, leaving the tip exposed. Over time, the wounded part will develop roots, and the tip can be cut off and transplanted to a new location.
Though less common, raspberries can also be propagated using hardwood cuttings. In late winter or early spring, take cuttings from healthy, dormant canes, ideally with a diameter of about 1 cm.
Each cutting should have several buds and be around 20-30 cm long.
Prepare a well-drained planting site with fertile soil, and treat the cut end of the cutting with rooting hormone (optional, but recommended).
Stick the cutting into the soil, leaving at least one bud exposed above the soil surface. Water the cutting well, and keep it moist to encourage root development.
The cutting should form roots within a few weeks, and new shoots will emerge from the buds above the soil.
When propagating raspberries, it is important to choose the right plant material to ensure successful growth and a healthy, productive plant.
There are several methods to propagate raspberries, including using suckers, root and stem cuttings, and seeds.
Using suckers and runners is the most common method for propagating raspberries.
Look for healthy, well-developed suckers that have emerged from the base of an established raspberry plant. These offshoots can be separated and replanted to create a new raspberry bush.
Similarly, you can use runners from certain raspberry varieties, which are horizontal stems that grow above or below the ground, producing shoots and roots along their length.
Another option is to use stem and root cuttings from healthy, disease-free plants. Choose young, vigorous canes and trim them into 4-6 inch segments with a clean, sharp tool.
Root cuttings should also be taken from healthy plants and preferably during the dormant season.
Select pencil-thick roots and cut them into 2-4 inch segments for planting.
Some people might choose to propagate raspberries from seeds. Ensure that you only use seeds from ripe, healthy fruits and clean them thoroughly before planting.
Timing and Season
Best Time for Propagating From Suckers (Dividing)
Dividing raspberry plants is a great way to propagate them, and while some say that the winter is the best time, I find the best time to do this is in the spring.
Raspberry plants send out a lot of shoots in the spring, so the tiny plants are the perfect size to transplant easily.
Ideal Season for Layering
The ideal season for layering is late summer or early fall, as this gives the new plants enough time to establish themselves before the dormant winter period.
Optimal Timing for Cuttings
Raspberry cuttings can also be propagated, and the optimal timing for this method is during the dormant season in late winter or early spring.
According to Gardening Know How, propagations from nurseries can arrive in culture vessels, rooting cubes, or as year-old dormant plants, and should be planted after the danger of frost has passed.
Dividing Raspberry Plants
Dividing raspberry plants is one method of propagation. When dividing plants, vigorously growing suckers, shoots that grow up from the raspberry plant’s roots, should be chosen.
Carefully dig up the sucker with its attached roots, and trim off any old canes (leaving only the new growth). Plant the divided sucker in its new location, and water it thoroughly.
This technique is best done in early spring or late fall when the plant is dormant.
Creating Tip Layers
Another method to propagate raspberries is by creating tip layers. To do this, identify a healthy and flexible primocane, a first-year raspberry cane.
Bend the tip of the primocane to the ground, and bury a small section of it in the soil, leaving the very tip exposed.
The buried tip will eventually develop roots, which can be severed from the original plant and replanted elsewhere.
Preparing Hardwood Cuttings
Lastly, taking hardwood cuttings is another way to propagate raspberry plants.
Choose healthy and mature canes from the plant, and cut them into sections about 6-10 inches long. Each cutting should have at least two buds, one at the top and one at the bottom.
It is best to take cuttings during the dormant season. Plant the cuttings in a pot or directly into the ground, with the bottom bud just above the soil line.
Care and Maintenance
Raspberry plants require consistent and sufficient water to grow and produce optimal yields. They need approximately 1-1.5 inches of water per week.
Drip irrigation works great for this.
Mulching around the base of the plants can help retain soil moisture, preventing the plants from drying out quickly.
Be careful not to overwater the plants, as raspberries hate wet feet, and are prone to waterlogged diseases.
Providing raspberries with proper nutrients is essential for their growth and fruit production.
As raspberries are heavy feeders, they benefit from the application of organic matter, such as compost, to improve soil fertility.
Mixing well-decomposed compost or aged manure into the soil will help provide additional nutrients throughout the growing season.
Pruning is crucial for maintaining healthy, productive raspberry plants. The pruning process varies depending on the type of raspberries being grown.
Troubleshooting Propagation Issues
Propagating raspberries can come with some challenges. Let’s discuss common issues and their solutions to help you successfully propagate your raspberry plants.
Issue 1: Root Development Failure
For successful propagation, it’s crucial that roots develop properly. In case of failed root development, consider using a rooting hormone on the cut end of the cane to promote root growth.
While you won’t need this when propagating from suckers, you will need rooting hormone for cuttings for better success. Cinnamon works as a rooting hormone if you don’t have any on hand.
Issue 2: Drought and Overwatering
Maintaining proper moisture levels is essential for successful raspberry plant propagation. It’s important to keep the new raspberry propagation moist but not too wet. Watch for clues and adjust your watering practices accordingly.
Issue 3: Soil pH and Drainage
Raspberries prefer slightly acidic soil with a pH between 6.5-6.7. Ensure proper drainage by using free-draining soil or containers with drainage holes. This will prevent root rot and promote healthy root growth.
Propagating raspberries can be easily achieved through several methods such as using stem and root cuttings, suckers, or seeds.
By selecting healthy plant parts, you can start your own raspberry patch, multiply your raspberry plants, and even sell raspberry plants by propagating raspberry canes.
All in all, you’ll be enjoying delicious fruit in abundance.
Raspberry propagation can be done using suckers, layering, and cuttings. They are one of the easiest fruits to propagate (although propagating grape vines is pretty easy as well!) and can be done in a day.
Proper care, including regular pruning, is essential to maintain the health of your raspberry plants as they grow and will help you successfully expand your raspberry garden and enjoy the tasty reward