Varieties of Blackberries in Michigan

Blackberry bushes produce sweet fruit clusters that are popular for use in pies, jams and syrups. The plants, available in erect or trailing varieties, thrive in cool, humid regions, including the Great Lakes area of Michigan. Blackberries that grow well in Michigan are more cold-hardy varieties that usually are erect and can reach 6 feet in height. Blackberries should be planted in the spring, require full sun and ample water, and will produce fruit in the summer. Blackberry roots are perennial, but the cane/limb system is biennial and will produce fruit every other year.


The boysen variety of blackberry is a popular trailing vine in the West that has been adapted for other regions. This plant grows on a thorny, trailing vine that produces a white flower before giving way to a large, sweet, deep-red berries. The boysen should be trained on a trellis. This plant is hardy in zones 5 to 8, needs regular water and can grow in neutral, slightly alkaline or slightly acidic soils.


This semi-erect variety is cold tolerant and popular for northern planting. Chester blackberries are thornless and resistant to cane blight, a common blackberry disease. These plants are heavy producers, and the fruit is black and of medium size. Chester blackberries are hardy in zones 3 to 8, require moist soil and can thrive in neutral, slightly alkaline or slightly acidic soils.

Illini Hardy

Introduced by the University of Illinois, this variety of blackberry is erect and very thorny. A cold-hardy variety, the Illini Hardy is popular in the Midwest and Northeast. This plant produces a large, black-colored fruit that is similar to a wild blackberry. Illini Hardys produce a white bloom before fruit and is hardy in zones 3 to 8. This plant requires regular water and can grown in neutral, slightly alkaline or slightly acidic soils.

Keywords: growing berries, boysenberry, blackberry regions, berries Michigan

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J.D.Chi is a professional journalist who has covered sports for more than 20 years at newspapers all over the U.S. She has covered major golf tournaments and the NFL as well as writing about travel, health and other issues. Chi received her bachelor's degree in professional writing from Carnegie Mellon University and is working toward her master's in journalism.