When Do Raspberry Plants Produce Fruit?


If you recently planted raspberry plants (also known as brambles) in your yard, you may not have any fruit on them just yet.  In that case, you are probably wondering when raspberry plants produce fruit, and if there is anything you can do to help them along.

So, when does a raspberry plant produce fruit?  A summer-bearing raspberry plant produces fruit for about 4 weeks, starting in June or July.  An everbearing raspberry plant produces a fall crop in August or September that may continue until the first frost of the season, and a second crop the following summer.  Most raspberry plants will not produce fruit until 1 or 2 years after planting.

Of course, depending on the variety of raspberry plant you choose, you may get fewer berries or smaller fruit.

Other factors such as crowded spacing, over fertilization, and environmental conditions can all affect the growth of fruit on your raspberry plant.

Let’s take a closer look at raspberry plants, when they bear fruit, and the factors that can affect your harvest.

When Do Raspberry Plants Produce Fruit?

There are two different types of raspberry plants: summer-bearing and ever-bearing.  Both have primocanes (first-year canes) and floricanes (second-year canes).

raspberry canes
Raspberries have primocanes (first year canes) and floricanes (second year canes). After the second year, the canes do not produce fruit, and can be pruned away to make room for new canes to grow in.

Summer-bearing raspberry plants do not produce any fruit on primocanes.  Instead, they produce fruit for about 4 weeks during the summer, in June or July, on their floricanes.

Everbearing raspberry plants can produce two crops of raspberries per year.  The first crop grows on the primocanes in August or September, and may continue until first frost.  The second crop grows on the floricanes in the summer.

Of course, you can prune both summer-bearing and everbearing raspberry plants right after harvest (more on this later).  However, this will prevent you from getting the summer crop of raspberries from everbearing plants.

Do Raspberry Plants Produce Fruit The First Year?

No, raspberry plants do not produce fruit in their first year.  Generally, a raspberry plant will not produce fruit until it is 1 to 2 years old.  For more information, check out this article from Stark Brothers on the years until berry bushes produce fruit.

raspberries
A newly planted raspberry plant may not produce fruit, since it is too young to bear fruit. Usually, you will have to wait 1 to 2 years for fruit.

If you want fruit twice a year, choose raspberry plants that are everbearing (primocane-fruiting or double-bearing), as mentioned above.  They will produce fruit in late summer to early fall on the first-year canes (primocanes), and then again in the summer of the second year when the canes are two years old (floricanes).

For more information on the distinction between everbearing and summer bearing, check out this article on raspberries from the Penn State Extension.

How Much Fruit Does A Raspberry Plant Produce?

According to Stark Brothers, the average fruit yield is 1 to 2 quarts (2 to 4 pounds) of raspberries per plant.

A single raspberry plant can produce 1 to 2 quarts (2 to 4 pounds) of raspberries per year. Here are some golden yellow raspberries from the yard!

Of course, productivity may decline over time as the raspberry plant ages and loses its vigor.

For more information, check out this article on raspberries from the Oregon State University Extension.

How Long Does A Raspberry Plant Live?

Red raspberries can produce fruit for over 15 years if given a good location and proper care.  Black raspberries might only live for 4 to 8 years.

If your raspberry plants seem to have short lifespans, check out my article on why your raspberry canes are dying.

raspberry cane
Although raspberry canes only produce fruit for two years, the plant itself can live for 15 years or longer! (4 to 8 years for black raspberries).

For more information, check out this article on raspberries from the Oregon State University Extension.

Of course, the canes only live for two years.  After that, they should be cut back to allow room for the growth of new canes.

What Type Of Raspberry Should I Plant?

When selecting a raspberry plant, make sure to choose one that you can grow in your climate!  For more information, check out the USDA Zone Hardiness Map to see what zone you are in.

Remember that there are two basic types raspberry plants, as mentioned earlier: summer-bearing and everbearing.

raspberries
Summer bearing raspberries produce fruit once in the summer. Everbearing raspberries produce fruit twice: once in the fall, and once in the summer.

Here are some raspberry varieties of different types that you might want to try (the first three are summer-bearing, and the last five are everbearing):

  • Latham Red Raspberry – this raspberry plant is summer-bearing.  It grows in Zones 3 to 8, and produces large red fruit that matures in mid-July.  The mature plant will be 4 to 5 feet tall and 3 to 4 feet wide.  For more information, check out the Latham Red Raspberry on the Burpee website.
  • Royalty Purple Raspberry – this raspberry plant is summer-bearing.  It grows in Zones 4 to 8, and produces extra-large purple fruit that matures in August.  The mature plant will be 4 to 5 feet tall and 3 to 4 feet wide.  For more information, check out the Royalty Purple Raspberry on the Burpee website.
  • Munger Black Raspberry – this raspberry plant is summer-bearing.  It grows in Zones 4 to 8, and produces large black fruit that matures in August.  The mature plant will be 4 to 5 feet tall and 3 to 4 feet wide.  For more information, check out the Munger Black Raspberry on the Burpee website.
  • Jaclyn Primocane Red Raspberry – this raspberry plant is everbearing.  It grows in Zones 3 to 8, and produces large red fruit that matures in July and September.  The mature plant will be 4 to 5 feet tall and 3 to 4 feet wide.  For more information, check out the Jaclyn Primocane Red Raspberry on the Burpee website.
  • Prelude Red Raspberry – this raspberry plant is everbearing.  It grows in Zones 4 to 8, and produces medium to large red fruit that matures in July (summer crop) and September (fall crop).  The mature plant will be 4 to 5 feet tall and 3 to 4 feet wide.  For more information, check out the Prelude Red Raspberry on the Burpee website.
  • Double Gold Raspberry – this raspberry plant is everbearing.  It grows in Zones 4 to 8, and produces medium orange fruit that matures in July (summer crop) and September through frost (fall crop).  The mature plant will be 5 to 8 feet tall and 4 to 5 feet wide.  For more information, check out the Double Gold Raspberry on the Burpee website.
  • Anne Yellow Raspberry – this raspberry plant is everbearing.  It grows in Zones 4 to 9, and produces large yellow fruit that matures in July (summer crop) and September (fall crop).  The mature plant will be 4 to 5 feet tall and 3 to 4 feet wide.  For more information, check out the Anne Yellow Raspberry on the Burpee website.
  • Fall Red Everbearing Raspberry – as the name implies, this raspberry plant is everbearing.  It grows in Zones 3 to 8, and produces large red fruit that matures in July (summer crop) and mid-August to frost (fall crop).  For more information, check out the Fall Red Everbearing Raspberry on the Burpee website.

Do You Need Two Raspberry Plants To Get Fruit?

No, you do not need two raspberry plants to get fruit.  Raspberry plants are self-pollinating (self-fertile), meaning that the flower contains both male and female parts.

butterfly
A single raspberry plant can produce fruit on its own, since raspberry plants are self-pollinating. To me, raspberries are delicious enough that a single plant would be preposterous.

Wind and rain are enough to cause the male part of a raspberry flower to release pollen onto the female part of the flower.  However, pollinators such as bees can help this process along.

What Other Factors Can Affect Fruit On Raspberry Plants?

The quality of care that you give your raspberry plants will help to decide how much fruit you get each year.  Remember that raspberry plants need full sun (8 or more hours or sunlight per day).

Other important factors for raspberry plants are temperature, watering, fertilizing, pruning, and spacing.

Temperature For Raspberry Plants

Most varieties of raspberries can survive up to Zone 4, and most can survive as far south as Zone 8.

The ideal growing temperature for raspberry plants in the summer is 70 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit (21 to 24 degrees Celsius).

Raspberries (and other plants) need to acclimate to cold gradually.  For instance, a temperature of 18 degrees Fahrenheit (-8 degrees Celsius) will kill raspberries in mid-summer.  However, some varieties can survive temperatures down to -35 degrees Fahrenheit (-37 degrees Celsius) in December.

For more information, check out this article on small fruit cold hardiness from the Penn State University Extension.

Watering For Raspberry Plants

Avoid letting the soil get too dry for too long, especially if you have raspberry plants that are flowering or trying to get established.  Usually, one thorough watering per week is enough for raspberry plants.

garden hose
Be careful not to over water or under water your raspberry plants!

If you have a problem with dry soil, check out my article on dry soil.

On the other hand, over watering can spell death for your raspberry plants, due to root rot or fungal diseases.  For more information, check out my article on over watering.

You can also check out this article from Stark Brothers on watering raspberry plants.

Fertilizing For Raspberry Plants

Before you plant a raspberry plant, add some compost to your soil.  It will provide organic material and nutrients for your raspberry plant as it grows.  The best part is that you can make compost yourself from ordinary yard and kitchen waste!

compost bin
Compost is a great way to add nutrients to your soil while also recycling kitchen scraps and yard waste.

For more information, check out my article on how to make your own compost.

It may be necessary to use fertilizers as a supplement to compost, in order to provide extra nutrients if you soil is lacking. The best way to tell if you need fertilizer is with a soil test.

For more information, check out my article on soil testing.

A soil test will also indicate the pH of your soil.  The ideal pH range for raspberry plants is between 5.5 (somewhat acidic) and 6.5 (slightly acidic).

If your soil pH is too low (acidic), you can add lime (calcium carbonate) to raise it.

If your soil pH is too high (basic), you can add sulfur to lower it.

Finally, remember that it is possible to harm or kill your raspberry plants by over fertilizing them.  For example, too much nitrogen can prevent your raspberry plants from producing any fruit.

For more information, check out my article on over fertilizing and my article on low-nitrogen fertilizers.

Pruning For Raspberry Plants

Raspberry plants require little pruning in the first year after planting, since all of the canes are still alive and will be producing fruit the next year.

pruning shears
Raspberry plants should be pruned each year, to cut away old floricanes and make room for the growth of new canes.

After that first year, you should prune raspberry bushes annually.  To do this, cut off second-year canes after harvesting fruit from them in late summer or early fall (depending on whether they are summer-bearing or ever-bearing).

For more information on pruning, check out this article on raspberries from the Old Farmer’s Almanac.

Spacing For Raspberry Plants

If you plant your raspberry plants too close together, they will compete with each other for resources, such as water and nutrients in the soil.  Planting too close together can also promote the spread of diseases.

Plant your raspberry plants at least 3 feet apart, with 6 feet between rows.  Depending on the width of the plant, you may need to leave more space between plants or rows, especially for trailing varieties.  (You can check the width of the raspberry plant in the plant description in the catalog that you order from).

Conclusion

By now, you have a good idea of when raspberry plants will produce fruit.  You also know a bit more about how to take care of raspberry plants and how to avoid the problems that can affect your harvest.

I hope you found this article helpful – if so, please share it with someone who can use the information.  If you have any questions or advice about raspberry plants, please leave a comment below.

jonathon.david.madore

Hi, I'm Jonathon. I’m the gardening guy (not guru!) who is encouraging everyone to spend more time in the garden. I try to help solve common gardening problems so that you can get the best harvest every year!

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