I used to have a phobia of plants that belonged to the berry family. It didn’t matter whether it was blackberry, strawberry, or apple berry, I just had a phobia of growing and eating them.
It was because of the bad experience I had with a blackberry in my early teenage years.
That Tuesday morning, I didn’t have school to attend because we were on summer break and I was preparing to get to a new level, so I decided to accompany mum to her commercial garden that was a few meters away from our residence.
Mum was skilled in growing plants and she had a variety of plants growing in her garden. From indoor houseplants to a blackberry bush filled with healthy growing blackberries.
And without asking permission, I cut one of the growing blackberry fruits from the blackberry bush and chewed on it.
Just before you judge my gluttony, I do not think it was gluttony, first, it was my mum’s garden and the second reason is the fact that I wasn’t a killed gardener then. Just some teenager trying to help out.
When I got home that evening, I had the worst stomach upset anyone had ever had.
The doctor diagnosed it to be food poisoning and when Mum asked me what I had eaten earlier in the garden, I told her it was just a single blackberry from the garden.
She explained that they were not completely ripe and contained solanine in their unripe state which was causing me to stomach upset.
I got over it and I think that was what made me develop a keen interest in learning about plants and growing them, even with my phobia for the blackberry plants.
Some years ago, I had a therapy session on facing my greatest fears and I was reminded of my phobia for everything that had a berry attached to its name, especially the blackberry plant and so I decided to face this fear.
Turns out growing a blackberry is the best thing you cc ould ever engage in for beauty and pleasure. Take a dive into this article to learn all about how to grow and properly care for a blackberry bush.
So, What is a Blackberry Plant?
In this article, I would be skillfully interchangeably using the words blackberry plant and a blackberry bush. They are the same thing.
The blackberry plant usually grows into a bushy lot, hence the name blackberry bush. A blackberry plant is a fruit-bearing plant.
It produces both beautiful flowers and edible fruit, hence it is enormously beneficial to grow a blackberry bush.
In some parts of the United States of America, the blackberry plant is deemed as a weed because of its invasive growth nature. The blackberry plant is a perennial plant but it grows stems that are biennial in nature and can survive for two years after which new stems are developed.
You could decide to make it annual by pruning the stems of every year. Pruning does not cause the death of a blackberry plant.
In fact, if you are going to be growing the blackberry plant indoors, then pruning is your number one technique for controlling its bushy nature.
Blackberry bushes can spring up in almost any part of the earth. They are adapted to grow in different soil types whether it is conducive for their growth or not. The blackberry bushes produce blackberry fruits that are highly nutritious to be eaten as food.
The fruit of blackberry contains proteins, carbohydrates, fibers, vitamins, and minerals like calcium, potassium, and sodium.
Ripe blackberry fruit is usually used as an additive in making wine, juices, liquors, and sometimes pies.
There’s so much about blackberry plants and bushes that you would be learning about in this article, so stay glued till the end of this article to know all about how to grow and care for blackberry bushes.
How To Grow a BlackBerry Bush.
The blackberry plant has evolved over time and right now, there are plenty of blackberry cultivars that could be grown, all unique in their pattern of growth and cultivation styles.
In general, to grow a blackberry plant or bush, the following have to be properly considered:
- Medium of Propagation
- Watering Requirements
- Soil requirements
- Managing Pests and Diseases
If you’ve carefully considered these factors and you have good knowledge of each of these and what they demand, then you are ready to begin the growth and propagation of your first blackberry bush.
1. Medium of Propagation
The medium of propagation is an important factor required to be considered in growing a blackberry plant. There are two broad methods of propagation required for blackberry plants.
First is the sexual propagation which involves the use of seeds and the other is the asexual form of propagation. Sexual propagation is possible but difficult to practice.
The first drawback is the getting of the seeds for planting. The seeds are usually very difficult to get and when you even get them, chances are that they would die in the soil before they germinate.
This is because they require a very specific environment and care structure to germinate and grow stems.
If you can get the seeds of blackberry plants as well as replicate their growing environment, then you should really consider propagating your blackberry bushes from henceforth by seed.
It is often rumoured that a blackberry plant is grown from seed usually has broader leaves and tastes better than regular blackberry fruits.
The factual state of this rumor isn’t scientifically proven, but I’d still encourage you to try planting with seed if you can.
The other method of propagating a blackberry bush is by an asexual method. There are specifically four asexual methods of cultivation that you could pick from. They are:
- Propagation by bare root
- Propagation by stem cuttings
- Propagation by tip root formation
- Propagation by transplanting
Asexual methods of propagation are my favorite ways of propagating a blackberry bush. This is because it is quick, simple, and effective.
I usually pick between any of these four methods of propagation based on my temperamental disposition at the moment. If I’m feeling all “Sanguine” and want to get my hands dirty and look busy, I adopt the transplanting technique.
But If I simply need an excuse to throw in some blackberry fruits into my mouth, I propagate by stem cuttings. You’ll understand as I explain these methods and you practice them.
- Propagation by Bare Root
This method of asexual propagation involves the purchase of a blackberry bare root and planting on your potting soil at home.
The bare roots of blackberry is usually sold in agricultural stores and you could purchase them for a small amount. While you prepare the soil to get your bare root in, soak the bare root in some distilled water.
This should last for about two hours to help the roots that have stayed out of water for a while to have a good drink before getting into the soil. Prepare a shallow trench and make enough room for the root hairs of your blackberry.
Use a good plant pot and soil that drains properly.
- Propagation by Stem Cuttings
This involves cutting a stem from a healthy growing blackberry plant and sticking it into prepared potting soil. The stems after some days develop roots and start to grow.
- Propagation by Tip Root Formation
This happens in well-developed blackberry bushes. It is such that the stems develop vines and touch the soil.
These vines, after staying on the soil for some time, develop root hairs that form new blackberry plants increasing the bushy structure of the existing plant.
What you need to do is to cut that tip that is developing some roots on the soil and have it transplanted to a different plant pot.
- Propagation By Transplanting
This is an entire process and requires effort. First, you need to prepare a new plant pot for the propagation of the new plants, then you need to dig up the old blackberry roots and transplant them into a new pot.
You should be careful to leave some roots behind to continue the growth of the old blackberry plant.
2. Watering Requirements
The watering requirements of the blackberry bush aren’t so hard to maintain. They are adapted to grow in drought conditions.
For adequate watering, you need to water your blackberry bush at least once every week.
Also, watch the soil around it. When it gets too dry, it is your cue to apply some water to it. If your water, practice the soaking technique and avoid the practice of overhead watering.
This is one of the many reasons for fungus growth on the blackberry bush.
3. Soil Requirements
Like we said earlier, the blackberry plants can grow in a lot of different locations and soil, but if you intend to grow yours at home, as an indoor plant, you should consider using a soil that is well mixed with peat for fertility and coconut coir for drainage.
Good loamy soil will do the trick.
4. Managing Pests and Diseases.
You would need to invest in the management of pests and diseases on your blackberry bush to get an optimum yield at the end of every planting season.
It is virtually the same kind of pests and diseases that attack every kind of berry. You just need a herbicide that does not react badly on the leaves of the blackberry plants.
Do Blackberry Bushes Need to Be Cut Back?
Of course, they need to be cut back.
Blackberry Bushes are quick perennial growers that grow really quickly with leaves turning into vines and spreading.
Hence, if you must grow your blackberry plants indoors, you should cut them back very often. Prune by deadheading to get new leaves growing at the start of a new season.
Where Do Blackberry Bushes Grow Best
Blackberry bushes can grow anywhere, but they grow best in tumor regions away from temperature drafts.
Can Blackberry Plants Grow in pots?
I’ve grown my blackberry plants for three years in pots. Blackberry plants will do just fine in pots just as they do on soil in gardens.
So feel free to grow your blackberry bushes in a pot. You will, however, be careful enough to change plant pots regularly.
What Helps Blackberry Bushes Grow?
Blackberry bushes will grow if they are given the right growing conditions such as:
- A good propagation technique
- A routine and effective watering cycle
- Essential soil requirements
- Regular deadheading.
To grow and care for blackberry bushes, you need to be willing to adapt to the changes that come with the plant.
The leaves are not only beautiful, but they are also succulent for insects. The fruits are both nutritious and healthy for consumption.
You should definitely get a plant pot, some blackberry cuttings, and good potting soil, to begin your blackberry gardening journey today.