This article has been checked for horticultural accuracy by Oliver Parsons.


Raspberries are easy and cheap to grow, providing you with sweet and delicious fruit that tastes so much better when picked fresh on a warm summer's day. Raspberries are categorised into 'summer-fruiting' and 'autumn-fruiting' types:

  • summer-fruiting raspberries fruit on the previous year's growth and are typically tall plants that require staking
  • autumn-fruiting raspberries are shorter and usually less vigorous, and fruit on the current season's growth

Growing both types means you could be successionally harvesting your own delicious raspberries from late June through to October.

Grown on canes (upright woody stems), raspberries are a great investment, often fruiting for 10 years or more. They require annual pruning and taller, summer-fruiting varieties need support, so they are not as low-maintenance as some other soft fruit. However, they are usually considered worth the effort, and will taste even sweeter when you think about how much you'd pay for a punnet in the supermarket.

How to grow raspberries

Plant raspberry canes 45cm apart, with 1.8m between rows, in moist but free-draining, fertile soil. An open, sunny site is best. Firm in and water well. Tie in summer-fruiting canes to supports as they grow, cutting back weak stems (autumn-fruiting varieties usually don't need support).

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In spring, feed with a general fertiliser and mulch around plants to keep their roots slightly moist and to suppress weeds. Keep the plants well watered during dry spells.

Harvest raspberries as and when they ripen. Cut autumn-fruiting canes back to the ground after fruiting, but only cut back the old canes of summer-fruiting varieties, leaving the new canes for next year's crop. Also thin out the weaker of the new canes if they are too dense – aim for a spacing of about 15cm in the row.

Where to grow raspberries

Grow raspberries in moist but free-draining, fertile soil in full sun to partial shade. Raspberries are more tolerant of shade than other fruits, but their fruit will taste sweeter in a sunny location.

Some raspberry varieties, such as the dwarf variety Ruby Beauty, can be grown in pots, but you will get a smaller harvest from this raspberry bush than from those grown in the ground.

How to plant raspberries

Wetting the roots of a raspberry cane before planting
Soak the bare roots of raspberry canes before planting

Plant in autumn or spring. Before planting raspberries, give the roots a good soak in water. You may also want to add well-rotted manure or homemade compost to the soil to aid fertility. Space canes 45cm apart with 1.8m between rows. Cover the roots with about 5cm of soil and firm around them gently. Canes are usually pre-pruned, ready to plant. If not, cut them down to 15-22cm.

For summer-fruiting raspberries, you will need to add supports, which you can tie the canes to as they grow. Put up strong 2m wooden posts at either end of your row of raspberry canes and run wires between them. Tie the canes to these as they grow. Fix a wooden T-piece to the top of each post to support bird netting over the top.

In this video, Monty demonstrates how to plant bare-root raspberries, with tips on spacing and varieties to grow:

How to care for raspberries

Cutting back flowered raspberry canes
Cut back flowered raspberry canes

In spring, feed raspberries with an organic, general fertiliser, and mulch around the base of the plants to keep their roots slightly moist and to suppress weeds. Keep the plants well watered during dry spells.

How to prune raspberries

Summer-fruiting raspberries fruit on one-year-old canes. Tie in new canes to support them as they develop, but prune out weak shoots. Aim for a spacing of 15cm between new canes, removing extras to avoid overcrowding. After fruiting, cut to soil level all canes that have carried fruit, leaving the new canes to develop fruit the following year.

Autumn-fruiting raspberries flower and fruit on the current season's canes, so you can cut them down at the end of the season. Simply cut them to the ground in winter – you can save the canes and use them as pea sticks the following year. New canes will grow in spring, and they will flower and fruit the same year. The shorter nature of these canes means they don't usually need support like summer raspberries do.

Pests and diseases

Netting raspberry plants
Protect raspberries from birds with netting

Birds such as blackbirds may take the fruit. Many gardeners are happy to share their harvest. If you don't want to, you can net the fruit, but check your netting daily, as birds, small mammals and reptiles can become trapped.

In summer, raspberries can suffer from raspberry nutrient deficiency. Feed with a high-nitrogen fertiliser and mulch annually with well-rotted manure or compost to prevent the problem.

You may spot green shield bugs and other shield bugs on your raspberry plants. These are harmless bugs and will not damage your crop.

How to harvest raspberries

Harvesting raspberries
Pick raspberries when they are ripe

Take care when picking raspberries, as the fruits are easily crushed. With the gentlest tug, ripe fruits should just tumble into your hands.

Growing raspberries: preparation and uses

Eat raspberries fresh, freeze them or use them to make purées, jams and smoothies.

Storing raspberries

Raspberries are best picked and eaten on the same day, although you can store unwashed fruits (moisture encourages grey mould) in a single layer in the fridge for a few days. Most raspberries freeze well – spread them out on a dish to open-freeze, then store in a box or bag for up to two months.

Advice on buying raspberries

  • If you have the space, aim for a selection of varieties that gives you a long season of harvest, including summer- and autumn-fruiting types
  • If buying summer-fruiting raspberries, ensure you have a sturdy support frame in place to tie them to
  • Always buy from a reputable supplier and shop around – there are often bargains to be had

Where to buy raspberries

Raspberry varieties to grow

Perfect raspberries

Early summer

‘Glen Moy’ – large, firm berries, with spine-free stems; good disease resistance

‘Malling Jewel’ – good flavour, reliable and an early cropper on compact plants


‘Glen Ample’ – a heavy cropper with spine-free canes; disease resistant

‘Glen Rosa’ – produces small, aromatic fruits on spine-free stems; disease resistant

'Valentina' – unusual apricot-pink berries on spine-free stems; disease resistant

'Zeva' – for growing in cooler, more northerly climates; produces a large crop

Late summer

‘Glen Magna’ – bears large berries that freeze well; has good disease resistance

‘Tulameen’ – excellent flavour, few spines and can be grown in large pots; resistant to grey mould


‘All Gold’ – a golden sport of ‘Autumn Bliss’ with delicious yellow fruit

‘Autumn Bliss’ – a reliable cropper producing large, well-flavoured fruits on self-supporting canes

‘Joan J’ – high yields of large, juicy, sweet fruits


Frequently asked questions

Help! Are my raspberry canes dead?

Raspberry canes planted in autumn or spring should start to put on growth within a couple of weeks. However, some can take longer than others. Don't give up on them yet – try scratching a bit of the stem, if it's green underneath it's alive. Keep watering them well. If they still don't grow, you may have cause to complain to the supplier. 

Help! My raspberries are covered in ants!

Raspberries are prone to attack from several species of aphids, which suck sap from the leaves, shoots and flower stalks. This usually doesn't cause the raspberries any issues, and natural predators such as birds and ladybirds should keep numbers under control. However, ants can 'farm' aphids for the sugary honeydew they secrete, and can stop laybirds and other predators from eating them. This is a completely natural process and still shouldn't harm your raspberries, but if you're worried you can rub the aphids off the stem tips or prune out some top growth to remove the infestation, and therefore the ants.

When's the best time to transplant raspberries?

The best time to transplant raspberries is autumn or early spring, when the plants are dormant. Cut them back to around 30cm from the ground and dig them out with as much of the rootball as possible. Then plant them in their new spot, watering well. If they are autumn fruiting raspberries you will get a crop but, as summer-fruiting raspberries fruit on the previous year's growth, you will have to wait a year for a crop of summer-fruiting raspberries.