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Blackberry (Rubus fruticosus) Best Plant Care Hacks

Blackberry (Rubus fruticosus) Best Plant Care Hacks

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With the word “blackberry”, your mind might wander to the pies that were made growing up.

But, did you know that Blackberry plants, or Rubus fruticosus, have been used for a myriad of medicinal properties such as inflammation, stomach issues, and even to combat heart problems?

Typically seen in the backyard, these perennials are known for their long stems with compound leaves and prominent prickles. You can actually keep them as houseplants!

 Not your atypical indoor dwellers, the Blackberry plant can be advantageous to have for your own.

One plant can produce lots of fruit, which are the delectable berries you use for an assortment of desserts and jams.

In order to reap the benefit of having your own Blackberry plant, you’ll need to pay special attention to their care! We’ve taken the guesswork out of it, identifying the preferences of a Rubus fruticosus. 

 


BlackBerry Plant Care Hacks
 

BLACKBERRY PLANT CARE BASICS

With the correct maintenance, Blackberry plants can thrive indoors.

They are generally placed outside for a number of reasons, the biggest being that they can grow to be quite wide.

They aren’t particularly difficult, once you know how to meet their needs! The following sections will do just that. 

 

SOIL

Blackberry plants do best when placed in a container that has loam, that is either loose or sandy. The key factor here is that it must be able to drain properly. The soil should also have a high content of organic matter.

This can include humus and moss. Blackberries already have quite a bit of nitrogen and phosphorus, so try to avoid adding any more to the soil. Providing your plant with the right nutrients. We will look at the possible addition of fertilizers later on. 

Read our article about the nutrients found in soil to better understand what your Blackberry plant might need!

 

LIGHT

Before going into the best type of light to give a Blackberry plant, you should consider how they grow. They can either grow as a trailing vine, or in a small shrub form.

The classical bramble of thorns that you have to dig through in order to collect berries will take place even in a pot. Because of this growth pattern, the leaves need quite a bit of light to be satisfied. Full sunlight is key for the survival of Rubus fruticosus.

This doesn’t mean that they won’t survive in areas with light shade. If this is the case, make sure that your plant gets at least six hours of sun per day to ensure proper growth.

Not all Blackberry plants can survive in these lower light levels so pay close attention to the foliage presentation and fruit production. 

 

WATERING 

The amount of water that a Blackberry plant requires depends on the time of year. Growing those fruits takes a lot of energy.

Younger individuals will need to be given more water for the first month to promote better growth.

After this point, you can adjust your watering schedule based on the time of year.

The growing season will need about an inch or two of water every week.

The moment that you notice berries start to form, you’ll want to add even more water. During this time, the plant needs to have roughly four inches of water weekly. It is very important that the soil doesn’t become too dry. We will go into more detail later on. 

 

TEMPERATURE 

Blackberry plants are fairly resilient when it comes to temperature. The only time that one should really be concerned is when it hits below 23 degrees Celsius.

Those who keep their Rubus fruticosus outside tend to bring them inside during the colder months.

Having your Blackberry plant indoors will keep them from losing foliage. Your house should be above 28 degrees Fahrenheit. Conditions that are either too hot or cold will result in a poor production of fruit.

 

HUMIDITY 

These individuals can be found to exist over a wide range of climates, making them highly adaptable.

The most common areas include Europe, Africa, and Asia. They can grow in either warm or cold areas just as long as there is enough moisture.

In fact, they prefer to be given moisture through misting and humidity rather than become overly saturated with water. Sitting in water will cause detrimental effects to the stems and leaves.

We recommend that you implement a routine misting schedule on top of the consistent watering that you supply. If your house has average humidity, don’t worry. They can handle these conditions.

 

FERTILIZER 

Some plants don’t really require much supplementation, but the Blackberry plant is fairly dependent upon it.

The berries take a good amount of energy, which increases this need. Complete fertilizers tend to work the best, and they don’t need to be diluted like most plants.

You can even opt for organic fertilizers such as through the use of compost or manure. It should contain a good amount of nitrogen to improve overall growth and the production of berries.

The best schedule should be once your plant is beginning to bloom, which is right before the spring and summer months. You don’t necessarily need to add fertilizer in the colder seasons.

They do go dormant for the winter. 

 

PROPAGATION  

Being able to propagate your own Blackberry plant may be extremely beneficial if you want to have plenty of berries for any future pies or jams.

There are a number of ways that you can do this, and none of them are particularly challenging. The two most common are stem and root cuttings.

Another technique, tip layering, involves burying a current shoot into the soil so that it detaches and forms its own plant. Out of the three, we recommend root cuttings. It’s the quickest and easiest.

We will discuss the steps involved in root cutting in a section further below. 

 

GROWTH

You may have heard us say that these perennials are easy to grow, but how big do they get? When given the space, Blackberry plants reach to be around three to four feet in height.

The interesting fact about this flora is that the top half is actually a biennial and the roots are perennials.

This means that they can produce fruit even after it has died. They also grow to be about three to four feet in overall width, making them a somewhat challenging indoor plant.

In fact, even in the yard, these individuals are notorious for taking over. Most tend to choose container gardens for these houseplants.

Blackberry plants take a few years to mature and can live up to a little over a decade! You can somewhat control the growth by frequent pruning with shears. Do so in the winter or early spring months and take back any damaged or crowded canes.

 

POTTING

The fact about Blackberry plants is that they need a good amount of room, even if they are intended to live indoors.

An adult individual should be around five gallons, with at least six inches being soil. The roots will spread out and become cramped fairly quickly.

Smaller containers are permissible too just as long as the plant can be transferred not too long from now. Keep in mind that a larger space will generally make for a happier, happier plant and thus, more berries.

Container gardens are great for these reasons!

Blackberry (Rubus fruticosus) Close-Up

Blackberry plants produce beautiful flowers called brambles. Here’s a close-up of a white blackberry flower.

 

WATERING YOUR BLACKBERRY PLANT THE RIGHT WAY

To provide an in-depth review of how to correctly water your Blackberry plant, let’s start at the beginning. As a fresh individual, they will need to be watered every day up until a month.

The goal is to keep it saturated enough so that the top inch of soil is moist. After this, you can add water every couple of days. Continue to do this for a few more weeks.

Once they reach full maturity, they will need about an inch or two of water for the warm seasons, and four inches a week when blooming fruit. 

Another way to ensure that your Blackberry plant thrives is to provide it with enough moisture. Watering is essential, but you can also add a misting regimen to the leaves.

On top of watering, mist the leaves every few days. If you have a particularly warm house, increase the frequency. 

 

PROPAGATING YOUR BLACKBERRY PLANT

As we mentioned earlier on in the article, there are three common ways that you can choose to propagate your Blackberry plant.

These include root cuttings, leafy stem cuttings, and tip layering. We will provide the steps for the most effective of the three, root cuttings.

Leafy stem cuttings aren’t a bad way to go, but you will get faster results with root cuttings. 

 

PROPAGATION THROUGH ROOT CUTTINGS

  1. Choose an individual that blooms plenty of fruit and is rather healthy
  2. Take a few mature roots and cut them into six-inch sections with a sharp, clean knife. 
  3. These new cuttings should then be placed into a pot with fresh soil. Take a plastic bag and put it over the top to provide extra moisture. Indoor floras can either be put into the refrigerator or the garden container.  
  4. Water your plant daily and keep an eye on the overall moisture level. 
  5. After a few weeks, you should start to see the development of new roots. 
  6. Transfer your plant to a larger pot so that it can spread out, giving it about four inches of water a week. 

 

PESTS AND THE BLACKBERRY PLANT

Having such delicious fruit comes at a price. Unfortunately, you’re not the only one who would want to partake in consuming those berries. There are a number of insects that will attack both the fruit and leaves on your Blackberry plant.

We will also go over a few of the diseases to better equip you!

Insects are among the biggest concerns that you will have to deal with in regards to invaders. These bugs include strawberry weevils, thrips, midgets, stink bugs, red-necked cane borers, gall midges.

Not all of these are all that frequent, but you’ll want to be aware of the potential. The majority of these insects can be thwarted through insecticides, or by washing the leaves with mild soap and warm water. 

 Blackberry plants have a few diseases that will attack the plant as well. The most common are anthracnose, leaf spot, crown gall, and orange rust.

Some of them will be just fine with a fungicide, while more extreme cases involve burning the infected plant.  

We have an article on root rot treatment for any questions regarding how to deal with such a troublesome problem!

 

BLACKBERRY PLANT PROBLEMS

Owning a plant can be a lot of fun, until it experiences a shift in bloom production. A large reason as to why people buy Blackberry plants is to have access to their berries.

But, there are a number of problems that can get in the way. Here are just a few, along with ways that you can combat them before your plant suffers. 

 

PROBLEM #1: YELLOW LEAVES

The leaves of a Blackberry plant tend to be a light green with hints a few hints of yellow on the underside. Completely yellow leaves indicate that your plant may have too much moisture, or that there isn’t enough iron. 

First try to solve this problem by increasing the frequency of your watering routine. You can even just start by misting the leaves more often. If this doesn’t work, consider investing in a fertilizer that focuses on adding iron. 

 

PROBLEM #2: WILTING

Unfortunately, wilting is a clear indication that your flora is going through the potential of root rot. Don’t fret. Catching root rot early on enough can be easy to turn around!

 A plant with root rot will need to be repotted and cut back. In some cases, the Blackberry plant would have to be sterilized with a mixture of bleach and water. Do your research first before tackling this problem.  

 

PROBLEM #3: CURLING LEAVES

The curling of leaves could be a sign that your plant is experiencing a war with small bugs like aphids. 

Aphids should be dealt with carefully. Burn and remove all of the dead canes so that the aphids won’t spread to other parts of the plant. You can then use insecticides. 

 

PROBLEM #4: RED TINTED FOLIAGE

There may be times where the foliage starts to shift to a red color. If it is on the outer edge, extending to the whole leaf, then it could be because of nitrogen deficiency. It can also mean that it has been exposed to cold temperatures. 

First place your plant into a room with warmer temperatures. Wait to see if the red fades away. If not, use a fertilizer that can supply more nitrogen. 

 

Blackberry Care Hacks

You may have been given a lot of information during this article. We’ve condensed it into five of the top tricks so that you can keep your plant thriving. 

  1. Loose or sandy loam is the best type of soil to plant them in!
  2. Find a spot in your house that has plenty of full sunlight.
  3. Any temperature above 28 degrees Celsius will be plenty warm for your plant.
  4. Fertilizer tends to be useful, especially during the growing season. 
  5. Consider regularly pruning back your Blackberry plant to prevent it from spreading out and taking over the root!

 

BLACKBERRY PLANT FAQ

 

How long does it take for a Blackberry plant to produce fruit?

It may take up to two years for a Blackberry plant to bloom and produce berries. 

 

Are Blackberry plants invasive?

Unfortunately, the Blackberry plant has spread to so many different parts of the world that it’s natural origins is somewhat unknown. Because of this, they have been frequently referred to as a weed, spreading out and taking over the area. 

 

Are Blackberry stalks edible?

Every part of the Blackberry plant has been used in a variety of ways. The stems create fiber, while the leaves and roots are good for medicinal uses. 

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