Boysenberries are a type of hybrid berry cultivated as a cross between loganberries (a raspberry/blackberry cross), raspberries and dewberries (related to a blackberry), to achieve the sweetness of raspberries with the size and vigour of blackberries. They are grown like summer fruiting raspberries, but rather than planting individual canes, a single boysenberry plant produces many canes to provide a sizeable family harvest.
See our introduction to growing hybrid berries.
Boysenberries are a great addition to an allotment or fruit garden. They are prolific, producing large sweet fruit almost the size of an adult’s thumb, which are delicious eaten raw, or perhaps even better, when cooked to make deserts or jam.
They are also very hardy and disease resistant. The investment in waiting for the plant to become established should be repaid in harvests over many years.
How To Plant Boysenberries
November is an ideal time for planting boysenberries, although late winter and very early in spring are alternatives. They should be planted during their dormant season.
A good way of planting boysenberries is first to create a strong frame by driving tall stakes (240cm high) into the ground about 3m apart. Rows of wire can be strung between the stakes to create a strong frame for supporting canes.
The boysenberry plant should then be set in a hole midway between the canes. Ideally the hole should be well dug and the earth mixed with well rotted organic matter. A rich well rotted manure is ideal.
How To Grow Boysenberries
Growing boysenberries requires patience as the first proper harvest will happen approximately 18 months after planting.
Boysenberries fruit on canes grown the previous year. This means that after winter planting, a boysenberry plant will spend the first summer growing canes, which should be tied into the support structure in a fan shape. The following summer these canes will provide the harvest.
Boysenberry plants are hardy, and compared to raspberries, develop a root system deeper into the ground. This means they are less sensitive to dry periods. However, they should be watered to avoid the soil drying out, especially in the first year when the plant is becoming established.
When fruiting, boysenberries will need a net to protect against birds.
Once boysenberry canes have fruited they should be cut back to the ground. However, do not cut back all canes! New summer growth must be retained. These canes will provide their crop the following summer.
Varieties Of Boysenberries
Incredibly hardy and disease resistant - even more so than blackberries, and the fruit is several times the size. Harvest from July.
Read more on Suttons Seeds.