Blackberries are loaded with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, making it a healthy and delicious snack. They are used to make jams, juices, shakes, and snacks among other things. Its combination of being tasty and healthy is why blackberries remain one of our favorite things to eat and grow. Plucking fresh blackberries straight from your home garden and enjoying its delicious taste has a unique joy of its own. While typically grown outdoors, you can also grow them indoors. Here is how you can start growing blackberries indoors today and enjoy them for years to come!
Sowing the Seed
First, you need to decide the kind of variety you want to grow. There are many varieties of blackberries, but they generally fall into two broad categories: the erect varieties that grow vertically and the trailing varieties that grow horizontally. If you want to grow your blackberries in a pot, then choose the erect variety as they are easier to contain and will naturally fit better. If you are planning to grow it in a home garden, then go for the trailing variety, but make sure to give them enough space. Either one will grow perfectly well in either location, space is the prime factor in deciding which variety to go with.
Another term you might see is “erect dwarf”. This is a specially bred variety of the erect variety that will not grow too large. This makes it perfect for indoor growing.
There are two ways you can begin growing your blackberries: from a seed or a pre-grown sapling.
If your choice is to plant a seedling, fill the soil into a pot that is at least 12 inches deep. After digging 5 inches into the soil at the center of the pot, place your blackberry seed in it. If you wish to plant multiple plant, maintain 24 inches of space between each one. Due to the space needed, it’s generally a good idea to keep a single plant in a pot unless using oversized pots. Place soil on the seed and make sure it’s completely covered. Pat the soil down and gently water it until the soil feels damp.
If your choice is to plant a sapling, get a good quality blackberry sapling from a nursery. Dig 6 inches deep into the center of the pot. After carefully removing the wrapper, trim any roots that look unhealthy and slowly place the plant into the pot. Gently pat the soil onto the roots until they are properly covered. If you want to plant multiple saplings, plant each one at least a foot away from the other, once again one pot per plant is a good rule of thumb. Slowly water the soil around the sapling till it feels damp.
Preparing the Container and Soil
Some good options to use as containers are clay, plastic, metal, and ceramic. Make sure that the container’s dimensions are big enough to be able to take the weight of both the soil and the growing plant. Drill holes at the bottom of your container as it’ll let excess water drain out. To prevent soil from spilling, place meshes over the holes. You can also layer the bottom of the container with gravel or small pebbles to control the drainage of water and spillage of soil.
The quality of the soil is very important as it nourishes the plant and lets it grow healthily. For flourishing growth, use good quality commercial potting soil that drains well. Blackberries have good growth in acidic soil. So, 5.5 – 7.0 is the ideal pH range the soil should be between.
For trailing varieties of plants, you can use a dowel rod to secure the plant. Make sure the rod is firmly placed and use twist ties to carefully tie the plant to the rod. When done well, the dowel rod will act as a support, letting the trailing plant grow beautifully vertical.
To enjoy full growth, blackberry plants need a large amount of time in the sun. This is typical of most edible plants like fruits and veggies. When growing blackberries indoors choose a spot that receives a minimum of 6 – 8 hours of sunlight every day. If you cannot find a spot like that, you can also use well-positioned sun lamps. When using sun lamps, keep some distance between the lamp and the plant or you risk burning your plant. This problem is lessened with energy efficient bulbs that give off less light.
Also, take care to monitor your plant during the winter. In general, winter months have less intense sunlight meaning your plant will need more time to gain enough light. It’s not a bad idea to give the sun extra time in the light, or using the above mentioned supplemental light during these months.
After the initial planting, water your plant with about 2 inches of water for the next 2 weeks. Two of the main reasons for stunted growth is over-watering or under-watering.
A common problem when gardening indoors, you can avoid over-watering your plants by watering them only when necessary. You can avoid under-watering them by pouring about 2 – 4 inches of water onto the soil, any more than this is excessive.
A general rule of thumb is to water the plant when the top layer of the soil starts to look dry but has not completely dried out. Slowly pour water till the top 2 – 3 inches of soil feels wet. You can determine that by pushing your finger into the soil after the water has been absorbed.
It takes about a year for blackberry plants to mature and start growing actual blackberries. After all your patience and hard work, when the plant begins to bear fruits, it is time to pluck them out. The right time to harvest the berries is a day or two after they turn black in color.
Wait till the blackberries soften a bit and pluck them while they look plump and shiny. As you pick the blackberries, prune out the branches to allow more growth in its place. A good tip is to wear durable gloves when picking blackberries to avoid injuries.
Once you pick your berries and prune the branches the emerging branches will produce more fruits next year. Don’t underestimate the importance of pruning as it provides room for the new stems to produce berries the following year.
Growing Blackberries Indoors
With some care and love, learning to grow blackberries inside your house is very easy and fun. Biting into a home-grown blackberries is a unique experience of its own. Its lush and juicy taste enhances flavor in most dishes, making this bountiful berry a delight to grow at home.
What is the best variety of blackberry plant to grow?
The best variety to grow indoors would be the erect variety. Adaptable to different ranges of temperatures, the erect varieties don’t need external support and are more robust.
What kind of soil does the blackberry plant need?
Blackberries grow well in acidic soil where the pH range is between 5.5 – 7. If your soil isn’t acidic enough, you can naturally increase the acidity of your soil by adding 3 – 4 inches of peat moss to it.
How to protect my plants from birds and insects?
As a precaution, protect your plants from birds by covering them with horticultural mesh. To protect from insects and pests, cover your plants with horticultural fleece.
How long does it take for blackberries to produce fruit?
A blackberry plant will produce fruit in its second year. After that, newly emerging stems will produce fruit in the following year. Pruning back the branches that have already produced fruit gives the new ones room to produce fruit and will keep your plant producing for several years.