Blackberry Growth Requirements

Blackberries are not as common as raspberries and blueberries, but they are still a welcome addition to many home gardens. Three types of blackberry plants are available for planting: erect, semi-erect and trailing. Erect plants grow fruit on self-supporting canes, while semi-erect and trailing plants require a trellis to support the fruit-bearing canes. Blackberries won't produce fruit for the first two years after planting, but once they become established you can expect a good crop of berries each summer for 10 years or more.


The best climates for blackberries are those that are warm and temperate. They are not as hardy as raspberries and can be very sensitive to frost and cold temperatures. Blackberries can be planted in late fall, but a better option is waiting until spring, preferably late April or May. Because cold temperatures can harm the plants, wait until the threat of frost has passed and the soil is warm enough to work with before planting.

Site Selection

Like most berries and fruits, blackberries grow best in full sun. They will grow in partial shade, the plants will flounder in heavy shade. If possible, choose a site for planting that gets plenty of afternoon sun and is protected from high winds. In addition, do not plant blackberries where other cane berries, strawberries, potatoes, tomatoes, peppers or eggplant have been grown in the past three years. These plants are susceptible to the same pests and diseases as blackberries and must be rotated each year to keep the plants healthy.

Soil Needs

Blackberries can be finicky about soil because they do not like their roots to be wet or saturated. They need to be planted in a fertile, well-draining soil so they can grow and thrive. If your soil does not drain well, consider adding compost or other organic material to the soil or planting the plants in a raised bed to allow for better drainage. Optimal soil pH for blackberries is between 5.5 and 7. Test your soil the year before you plan to plant so you can add lime to the soil to bring it to an adequate pH level.

Keywords: growing blackberries, blackberry growth requirements, blackberry growing conditions

About this Author

Meghan McMahon lives in the Chicago suburbs, where she spent six years as a newspaper journalist before becoming a part-time freelance writer and editor and full-time mother. She received a bachelor's degree in journalism from Eastern Illinois University in 2000 and has written for "The Daily Southtown" and "The Naperville Sun" in suburban Chicago.