How to Grow Raspberries 12

Raspberries are a great addition to any edible garden. They are easy to grow and can be highly productive. Raspberries are best trained up a trellis so they can make great use of vertical spaces. For those of you worried about prickles… you can even get thorn-less varieties! Best of all, homegrown raspberries are usually packed full of flavour!

How to Grow Raspberries Melbourne

Growing raspberries is easy in Melbourne’s temperate climate.

Where to plant Raspberries

Raspberries evolved in the understory of European forests. This heritage enables them to grow in semi-shade, and can make great additions to Edible Forest Gardens. However, I’ve found that often when plants are grown in these conditions they produce less fruit which generally isn’t very sweet.

How to Prune Raspberries Melbourne

It’s a good idea to train your raspberries along a trellis.

You need to be careful to contain raspberry plants, as just like mint, they can quickly take over a whole garden bed. You may want to consider growing them in a pot, a raised garden bed or wicking bed, to stop them escaping. We’ve seen root barriers used semi-successfully to stop their spread. Some of you may like the idea of them spreading – after all you can never have enough raspberries… right?! If they spread into lawn, they are easy enough to control by mowing the tops off.

Rats, blackbirds, possums and all sorts of other thieves love raspberries. So you’ll need to consider how you might protect your crops. Netting is a great way to keep the pests at bay, but also makes harvesting difficult (you’ll need to harvest every few days as the season peaks). If you’ve got the space and budget then consider adding a larger cage or enclosure to protect your crops.

Some varieties of raspberry canes can get quite long, so consider implementing a trellis to train them along. This can be as simple as a few wires or more elaborate mesh systems.

Preparation and Planting

Like most of the berry crops, Raspberries prefer an acidic soil. Work through plenty of organic matter, compost and animal manure.

How to Grow Raspberries Melbourne

You can even get “black” raspberries from specialist nurseries.

Raspberries are best planted as dormant canes in winter. You can get canes from friends or family who are already growing them, from local nurseries or online. At other times of the year you can purchase plants growing in pots to plant out. For standard suburban backyards, one cane of two or three varieties should be enough to get you started. In two to three years this will quickly grow into quite a large volume of canes. Larger plantings may need larger quantities of each variety to help establish your berry patch.

Consider under-planting the raspberries with a living mulch. We have found strawberries and raspberries grow well together. The strawberries act as a living mulch to suppress weed growth and to help retain moisture in the soil. Alternatively you can mulch your raspberries with a thick layer of pine bark mulch or similar wood chip.

Raspberries are pretty easy to manage in Melbourne’s temperate climate. They are relatively heavy feeders, so applications of compost, animal manures or fertilizers are recommended in spring and summer.

Primocane vs Floricane Varieties

How to Grow Raspberries Melbourne

Nothing beats freshly picked, home-grown raspberries

Raspberries can be classified as either floricane (summer fruiting) or primocane (autumn fruiting). The great thing about primocane raspberries is that pruning them is simple. Once the canes have stopped producing (in winter) you just cut the whole lot back to ground level. This easy maintenance is offset by the fact that summer raspberries tend to be sweeter and have more flavour (because of the summer heat).

Floricane (summer fruiting) varieties are slightly more complicated to prune. To do so, in winter remove the canes that have already fruited (two year old wood). All of the newer canes (that have grown this year) need to be retained, as these will produce fruit in summer, when the plant wakes up from its dormancy. It’s usually easy to tell the difference between the first and second year canes.

How to Prune Raspberries

Pruning should be done in winter (see Primocane vs Floricane Varieties for more information on how they are pruned). Raspberries don’t actually need to be pruned to produce fruit. In fact, spent canes (ones that have already fruited) will often throw out short lateral growth the following spring, and often these will produce some fruit. However, pruning in winter will reduce the congestion around the plants, making netting and harvesting easier. It will also enable better airflow, which can help reduce pests and fungal issues.

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12 thoughts on “How to Grow Raspberries

  • Mal

    I live in Melbourne and want to grow raspberry canes in pots, can this be done? If so how many canes per pot? I have lots of 30cm pots to use.

    • Leaf, Root & Fruit Post author

      Hi Mal,

      Yes you can grow raspberries in pots quite easily. I’d use the biggest pots you can find, quality potting mix and keep watering and fertilizing them regularly.

      Stay Safe & Keep Gardening!


  • Mal

    I live in Melbourne and along my rear fence i have about 5m where i would like to grow raspberries, blue berries and blackberries. I’m not a gardener and am learning from others, and I’m almost there and just need to get some wire and straw. I’ve bought 7 Summer canes (Chiliwack) and 3 Autumn canes (Heritage). An article on how to grow raspberries in Australia advises to plant canes in bunches of 3 about 30cm apart. Is this ok and if so does it apply to both Suumer and Autumn canes?

    • Leaf, Root & Fruit Post author

      Hi Mal,

      Raspberries are pretty easy to grow and will quickly take over a small garden space. So no need to overthink the spacing. The more canes you plant, the quicker they will establish, but in theory you only need one cane of each to get started!

      Bunches of three sounds a bit excessive to me. Perhaps it was written by someone who sells canes, so they can sell even more?!

      Stay Safe & Happy Gardening!

    • Leaf, Root & Fruit Post author

      Hi Debbie,

      without seeing the site itself it is difficult for me to offer advice. But it sounds like you are on the right track.

      Good Luck & Happy Gardening!

  • Carolyn

    I’ve had a couple of raspberry canes in for a year now, this will be their second winter. They neither flowered or trusted last year. I’m in the Yarra Valley. How do I prune these ans when do I feed them? New shoots have come up either side.

    • Melissa Bruce

      Keen to hear a reply to this query as it applies to me too! I bought a potted raspberry from the nursery (before doing any research) but lost the tick so have no idea what kind it is. It took off growth-wise, but no berries. It has 3 nice tall canes and new little shoots started to pop up too. The leaves have now died back and I am wondering how to prune it (just remove the dead leaves?).

      • Leaf, Root & Fruit Post author

        Hi Carolyn and Melissa,

        I only ever prune out dead canes and those that have already fruited. If your canes haven;t fruited yet and are still alive then I wouldn’t prune them at all.

        Good Luck & Happy Gardening!


  • Julie Mauger

    My lovely neighbour planted raspberries a couple of years ago, on her side of our shared back fence.. Of course some have crept to my side of the fence. I have tended to the canes, and now I’m having some delicious raspberries!!! Bonus!! Thank you neighbour!!

    • Leaf, Root & Fruit Post author

      Hi Ivan, the most basic rule is prune any canes that have already fruited. Look for the old pedicels (fruit stems) then follow the cane back to ground level and remove.

      Good Luck & Happy Gardening!