Learn which plants thrive in your Hardiness Zone with our new interactive map!

Blackberry Plant Facts

By Kimberly Sharpe ; Updated September 21, 2017
Blackberries On A Bush
blackberries image by Stephen Gibson from Fotolia.com

A popular commercial crop, blackberries are grown on either vines or bushes. Native growth occurs across the Eastern and Midwestern United States. Blackberry fruits are used in jams, jellies, pies, liqueurs, juices and wines. Berries ripen in June and July. The blackberry is a member of the 'Rosaceae' family just like the rose bush.

Health Benefits

Always Thoroughly Wash Blackberries Before Consuming
sorting blackberries image by Studio Pookini from Fotolia.com

Blackberries were once brewed in teas to be used for the treatment of dysentery and gout. Currently there are several studies going on to study using blackberries as an alternative medical treatment. Dr. Richard Beliveau, who specializes in cancer prevention and treatment at the University of Quebec in Montreal, believes that the polyphenols (ellagic acid and delphinidin) contained within blackberries can stop the formation of new blood vessels in tumors of the breast, colon and mouth.

Also, the United States Department Of Agriculture collaborated with the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) and National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health to study a compound found in blackberries called cyanidin-3-glucoside (C3G), which appears to inhibit tumor growth in some animal test subjects.

Blackberries are also being studied in a clinical trial being headed up by the James Graham Brown Cancer Center in Louisville, Kentucky.The study is researching the effects of blackberries and other berries on slowing non-small cell lung cancer tumour growth. The study is set to conclude its research in 2010. Since these studies are inconclusive, do not use blackberries to treat any medical condition without first consulting a physician.

Growth Requrements

Blackberries Ripening on the Bush
blackberries macro image by João Freitas from Fotolia.com

Blackberries prefer to be grown in full sunlight conditions. The bushes and vines must be planted in well-drained soil to thrive. Blackberries cannot withstand water-logged roots; a few days of them will result in the bush's death.


Fresh blackberries
clean blackberries image by Andrew Kazmierski from Fotolia.com

Many commercial farms are open to the public in June and July. The farms allow people to handpick blackberries for personal use for a small fee. Other commercial farms utilize large machines to shake the bushes mechanically so the berries fall to the ground and can be gathered up.

Life Span

Most blackberry bushes and vines will live 15 to 20 years. Berry production begins when the bushes are approximately four to five years old. Blackberries prefer a soil pH between 5.5 and 7. Till the site thoroughly before planting blackberry bushes. Work one pound of 5-10-5 fertilizer ever 100 square feet into the soil one week prior to planting.

Planting & Care

Plant blackberry bushes a minimum of six feet apart and blackberry vines 10 feet apart for optimum growth. Dig a shallow hold that is large enough to accommodate the root system. Tamp the soil down around the roots and water thoroughly. Plant all blackberries in the early spring. Cut canes to 6 inches in height when planting.


About the Author


Based in Oregon, Kimberly Sharpe has been a writer since 2006. She writes for numerous online publications. Her writing has a strong focus on home improvement, gardening, parenting, pets and travel. She has traveled extensively to such places as India and Sri Lanka to widen and enhance her writing and knowledge base.