Blackberries, a member of the Rosaceae plant family closely related to raspberries and strawberries, have been used for food and medicinal purposes for well over 2,000 years. Deciduous plants native to Europe, Asia, North and South America, blackberries grow well in many temperate areas including Florida. Planting blackberries in Florida is not difficult. With the proper cultivar selection, adequate site preparation and plant care, growing blackberries in Florida can be productive, rewarding and fun.
Pick a recommended cultivar from a local nursery or garden center. Apache, Arapaho, Brazos, Chickasaw and Kiowa are among the blackberry cultivars that are particularly well-suited to grow in Florida's warm temperatures and sandy loam soil.
Select a planting area with a sunny location and well drained soil. Low-lying areas that retain excessive moisture, or expose blackberries to cold winter temperatures in areas of North Florida, can injure or kill plants.
Remove all weeds and debris from the planting area with a rake or garden shovel. If herbicides such as glyphosate are used to kill weeds, apply several weeks before planting blackberries to avoid damaging young transplants.
Test soil and increase or decrease the pH if necessary. Blackberry plants grow best in soil that has a pH of 5.5 to 6.5. Combine 5 pounds of dolomitic lime for every 100 square feet of soil to increase the pH by one unit, or 1 pound of elemental sulfur for every 100 square feet of soil to decrease pH by one unit.
Dig holes at least 2 to 5 feet apart, twice as large as the root ball of the plants. Place blackberries in the center of each hole, and then cover with soil to the original nursery planting depth.
Water the plants liberally.
Apply a 1- to 2-inch layer of mushroom compost mulch, pine bark or straw, to help the blackberries retain moisture, particularly during periods of drought.