Berry Growing Guide

Sweet juicy berries are simply delicious and very easy to grow at home. Create a berry patch full of bright, colourful berries with our simple guide below.

PREPARE

Select your berries:

There are a variety of berries to choose from. Plant berries you like to eat and use in your cooking.

  • Blueberries
  • Raspberries
  • Boysenberries
  • Blackberries
  • Gooseberries
  • Cranberries
  • Currants – red, black and white

For information on how to grow strawberries view the Tui Strawberry Growing Guide.

When to plant berries

  • Blueberries - plant all year round. Plant more than one plant, this aids cross pollination and increases yield.
  • Raspberries, boysenberries, blackberries and gooseberries can be planted in winter or spring.
  • Currants and cranberries: plant all year round.

PLANT

Berries require a position in full sun to thrive - no sun equals little or no flavour.

Choose a position for taller berries such as raspberries, boysenberries and blackberries away from strong winds, up against a fence on a north facing wall is a good option. A simple tee pee or pyramid system made from 3-5 straight branches is effective. Stakes, bamboo canes and trellis can be used as well.

The better the soil, the better your berries will grow. If you are starting with an existing garden bed dig in organic matter like sheep pellets and compost to your soil. Then you can add a layer of Tui Strawberry Mix, a high quality planting mix containing the right blend of nutrients to provide your berries with the best possible start and sustained growth throughout the season.

Check plant labels for individual planting instructions. The best times to plant are early in the morning or late in the day, so the plants aren’t exposed to the hot sun straight away.

Berries for pots and containers

Berries adapt to life in containers easily. Choose a large container or barrel, at least three to four times the size of a kitchen bucket. Berries need plenty of room for the roots to develop to enable themselves to support the fruiting stems. Fill container with Tui Strawberry Mix.

The trick is to keep the soil moist not too wet while the fruit is developing. Inconsistent watering is a common cause of crop failure.

Container ideas:

  • Plant taller berries like boysenberry, raspberry or loganberry in the centre of a wine barrel.
  • Plant low growing berries like cranberries around the outside of the taller berries, these will hang over the edges and fill in the gaps.
  • Plant edible flowers like calendula, violets and nasturtiums with your berries to add some colour and interest.

NOURISH

Feed your berries and they will feed you. Plants use nutrients from the soil as they grow, so replenishing the nutrients ensures your plants grow to their full potential.

Protect

The weather, weeds, pest insects and diseases can all impact on the success of your garden.

Protect your plants from the elements with layers of Tui Strawberry Straw, to help keep their roots moist, and to keep fruit off the soil so it doesn't rot.

Birds love juicy berries – put up netting to protect yours once they start fruiting.

Growing berries from cuttings

Some berries are quick and easy to propagate from cuttings, unfortunately blueberries aren’t one of them.

  • For winter dormant berries like gooseberries and currants, take 20cm long cuttings and insert into potting mix or soil at least half way, and leave them alone for about 3 months.
  • Once leaves start sprouting in spring, cuttings can be transplanted into the garden.
  • Raspberries, boysenberries and blackberries are quick to grow from cuttings. Take 10-15cm long cuttings in summer and autumn, insert into moist potting mix or soil so at least half the cutting is in the ground.
  • Roots will appear within a few months. Transplant into the garden or containers in autumn or spring.

Pruning berries

  • Blueberries: prune in late summer or autumn after fruiting.
  • Raspberries: prune in winter to remove old wood, keeping 6-8 new seasons canes for the current season’s crop.
  • Boysenberries: prune to shape and limit size as required, fruit on current season’s wood.
  • Blackberries: prune in late summer or autumn after fruiting.
  • Gooseberries: prune in winter to thin out the excess branches.
  • Cranberries: not a lot of pruning required, these ground hugging plants can be pruned to limit size where required.
  • Currants: prune after harvest in summer.

Click here for more fruit growing guides