How to propagate raspberries
The raspberries in my garden propagate quite effortlessly on their own. But let's say that you want to do it yourself, where to start? This is how I propagate raspberries in my garden.
I actually hadn't thought about this subject before, but a reader reminded me in a thread about berry bushes. Most people who have raspberries in their garden might not think too much about how to get more plants. The opposite might be more interesting to them.
But then I understood that there are many opinions about how to propagate raspberries out there. Do you grow them from seed or do you take cuttings? What is the best way to propagate raspberries when you don't want to buy a bunch of new plants?
More about berries: How to grow honeyberries
Easy to propagate raspberries
Propagating raspberries is actually easier than it might seem. The plants are generally very hard to kill, which is great for anyone in need of plants.
There are generally two different methods that people use to propagate raspberries, either by splitting the plant or digging out suckers from an existing plant.
Divide the plant by digging out a clump of soil filled with raspberry suckers and then cutting it in two or more pieces with your shovel. The plant is hardy and won't get damaged by this treatment. It will get back on track as soon as you plant it again.
My experience is that you can divide the raspberries at any time of the year (except for when the soil is frozen of course.) You get the best results when you cut the plant down to 8-12 inches (20-30 centimeters) before you divide it. This way, the worn out roots won't have to provide a very large plant with water and nutrients so it can focus on recovering in the new spot instead. Remember to divide the plant when you don't plan on harvesting berries any time soon since this will, of course, make you lose them.
Read more: Sweet and tangy raspberry oatmeal balls
Dig out a part of a plant that has started to spread by carefully pulling it from the ground, and make sure that it has roots. Cut it and plant it in the new spot. It can take a few years before the plant grows large, but it will produce a harvest much sooner than you might think. The top picture shows a little sucker that will start to grow larger in no time.
A third way to propagate raspberries is to take stem cuttings. I have tried it with several plants with overall ok results. Around half of the cuttings have developed roots, the others wither and die in their pots. In my opinion, the best way to propagate raspberries is to divide the plants.
More about propagating berry bushes: Take cuttings from blackcurrant hedges
Get plants from friends
If you want to go for a lot of raspberries, the best way to get there might just be to ask someone who is willing to share their plants with you. Try to choose plants that you know are going to produce great-tasting berries. Use a sucker that has already started growing a bit away from the mother plant. If you want it to grow a bit larger before putting it in the final spot, you could always let it grow in a pot for a while. Plant it in airy soil and it will grow nicely there. Put the pot somewhere where you will remember to water it, or in a shady spot where it won't dry out.
Most raspberry growers would be happy to share suckers for your own projects, so don't be afraid to ask when you want to propagate raspberries.
Most of my raspberries come from a half-wild raspberry bush on the back side of our house. I dug them out and moved them, slightly unceremoniously. I decided to get a few extra varieties from the garden center too. Make sure to take good care of them, I prune them a few times every year.
Good luck propagating raspberries. And remember, don't put them in the beds in your kitchen garden! They spread out quite far in airy soil and having to clear out raspberry suckers several feet outside of the row is so annoying.