Raspberries are a versatile fruit that can be used in desserts, salads, and smoothies, or eaten right off of the vine on their own. The downside is that these tasty berries aren’t always available when you want them. That’s why many people are learning how to grow raspberries indoors. Doing so gives you an ample supply of these little berries to enjoy whenever you like. The process is quite simple, too, as long as you have the right space to encourage healthy plants in your home. Let’s jump right in, by the end of this article you’ll have all the knowledge you need to grow a raspberry plant of your very own!
Why Grow Raspberries Indoors?
When raspberries are planted outside, they tend to take over the area, spreading out as they see fit in your garden. Of course, with such an ability to expand their reach, raspberries can’t be planted in smaller yards without consistent supervision and pruning. The upside is that these plants don’t actually need a lot of space to thrive, which makes them a great candidate for container growing. This allows those who live in apartments or have smaller yards to contain the raspberries while still reaping the fruity rewards.
Another benefit of indoor raspberry plants is that they are easy to move whenever needed. This way, you can switch them from one side of your home to the other as the sun moves across the sky to give them the light they need. You can even move them outside onto a balcony or patio during the day and back inside at night.
Lastly, as with all indoor growing, you have much more control over your environment. This can make it much easier to grow raspberries while also protecting them from pests and animals.
What Type of Raspberry to Plant Indoors
Though not every type of raspberry plant works well in containers, there are a few compact cultivars that excel indoors. Raspberry Shortcake, Malling Jewel, and Heritage are a few of the summer-bearing options, while those who want fall fruit may want to consider Autumn Bliss or some other late-season variety.
You can even grow both types to extend the berry growth and keep you in raspberries for as long as possible. There are also some ever-bearing plants and a variety of raspberry colors to choose from, so take your time when picking indoor plants for your home.
Choosing Your Location
Though you can technically place your raspberry containers in any room of your home, raspberry plants do require a lot of sunlight. In fact, for the healthiest plants, they should be placed in a window that lets in about 6 to 8 hours of direct sunlight each day, and more is always better. If you don’t have a window that can give your raspberries this amount, you can move the container as needed throughout the day to other windows, as long as the plant is getting a minimum of 6 hours of sunlight. Any less and your plants won’t grow well and may not bear any fruit.
Planting Your Raspberries
Once you’ve chosen the location for your plants, it’s time to get the container ready. Your container should hold at least 5 gallons and be about 24 inches wide. If there are no drainage holes at the bottom of your container, be sure to add a couple to prevent too much moisture from accumulating in the soil. Placing the container on a drain tray will prevent any draining moisture from ending up on your floor.
Add about 2 inches of gravel to the bottom of the container to promote drainage and air flow, then add quality potting soil. Most store bought varieties are perfectly fine, as well as fruit specific mixtures.
Pour a couple of cups of water into the soil and blend it to distribute the moisture. Then dig a hole in the center deep enough to cover the roots on a bare-root plant or the root ball on a container-grown plant. Put your plant in place and cover the root system, pressing the soil around the sides. You should be able to plant 1 or 2 of your raspberry plants in a single container, depending on its width. Adding a layer of wood chips on top of the soil helps to retain the moisture but this step is optional.
You’ll also need to add either a wire cage around the plants or some slender bamboo canes in the corners of the container. These will offer some support as the raspberry plants grow. The cage or canes should be about 6 inches higher than the height of the plants. For the canes, tie the tops together with string, Attach the new growth of the raspberry plants to the supports. You can also use baskets to get that hanging vine look instead of using supports.
Caring for Your Raspberry Plants
Indoor raspberry plants don’t have the benefit of rain or morning dew to keep them moist, so you do need to water them frequently to keep them hydrated. The soil should always be moist, so be sure to water the raspberries 2 or 3 times a week for the best results. Wait until the touch inch of the soil is dry and then thoroughly soak the soil. You can also add some water-soluble fertilizer every month, as well as some slow-release fertilizer in March and June for nutrient-rich soil that encourages growth.
Pollination is also something to consider when learning how to grow raspberries indoors. Since there are no bees or butterflies in your home for this, you need to do some hand pollination. To do this, use a cotton swab or small paintbrush to lightly swab the inside of the flowers and then transfer the collected pollen into the middle area of another flower.
It takes about 2 years of growth for a raspberry plant to bear any fruit. You can lessen the time by starting with a seedling, but still don’t expect edible fruit quickly. Once they begin to produce fruit, look for berries that are dark red. This color means that they are ready to harvest. If you’ve chosen another berry color, bright, plump fruit is ready to be picked and enjoyed.
At the end of the fruit-bearing season, prune any dead canes with no new growth at soil level, giving the new canes more room to grow and produce their berries. Keep watering your plants during their dormant period as well for healthy plants during their fruit-bearing season.
How To Grow Raspberries indoors
With all that in mind you’re ready to start growing raspberries of your very own. While raspberries can be a bit tricky to grow and do take some time to be ready to harvest, the effort is well worth it. Nothing beats eating fresh berries you’ve grown yourself!