Fresh berries is a must for any fruit lover. Nothing beats the delicious flavor of biting into a fresh picked berry. Today, we’ll focus on blackberries, and how you can start growing them yourself. While typically grown outdoors, you can also grow them indoors just as easily. Here is how you can start growing blackberries indoors today and enjoy fresh berries whenever you choose.
Note that many of these tips will apply to other types of similar berries. We will however be going more in depth on them if you are looking for more specific tips for each type of berry.
Blackberry Varieties and Planting
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 with lots of space, then go for the trailing variety, but make sure to give them enough space. Either one will grow perfectly well indoors given the correct 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.
Once you’ve selected a variety there are two ways you can begin growing your blackberries: from a seed or a pre-grown sapling.
If your choice is start with seeds, 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 plants, maintain 12 inches of space between each one. This will ensure that each plant has enough space to grow and ensures all plants get the proper nutrients. Plants put too close together will often have to compete over nutrients which will negatively effect their growth.
Due to the space needed, it’s generally a good idea to keep a single plant in a pot unless using very large 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
The most important thing when looking for a blackberry container is the size. As noted above, for the erect variety you want one that has at least 12 inches in diameter. This will give your plant enough room to grow and bear fruit. Outside of that, make sure the container has proper drainage and drill a few holes into the bottom of it if it does not.
The quality of the soil is very important as it provides all the nutrients for the plant. For flourishing growth, use good quality commercial potting soil that drains well. Blackberries have good growth in acidic soil. So, 5.5 to 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. This helps ensure proper growth, and also helps you contain and shape your plant for better aesthetic value.
To enjoy full growth, blackberry plants need a large amount of time in the sun. This is typical of most fruits and veggies. When growing blackberries indoors choose a spot that receives a minimum of 6 to 8 hours of sunlight every day. That’s at a minimum, a little more will only help the plant.
If you cannot find a spot like that, you can also use well-positioned grow lights. When using grow lights, 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 heat.
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 plant extra time in the light or using the above mentioned supplemental light during these months. Many gardeners will setup grow lights during the winter, but remove them when the sun becomes more intense in the summer.
Probably the biggest reason people have trouble growing blackberries is not watering correctly. Both under and over-watering blackberries can be harmful, so it’s important to to water correctly. Luckily, blackberries are fairly hardy so you don’t have to be overly careful.
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. You can check by feeling the top inch or so of the soil. If it’s dry then it’s time to water. If it’s still moist then you can wait until it’s dry.
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. You can also look for water to begin to slowly leak out of any drainage holes. Once it begins leaking that generally means the soil is saturated and doesn’t need anymore water.
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.
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. Even if you don’t eat all the fruit take the time to prune back the stems. This step is key to long term growth.
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. Nothin beats the delicious flavor of a fresh, home-grown black berry.
What is the best variety of blackberry plant to grow indoors?
The best variety to grow indoors would be the erect variety. Adaptable to different ranges of temperatures, the erect varieties don’t need extra supports and are easier to grow in smaller spaces.
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 a bit of peat moss to it.
How long does it take for blackberries to produce fruit?
A blackberry plant will produce fruit in its first or 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.