Boysenberry is the low-growing version of regular blackberries. Developed by crossing blackberry and the red raspberry, it is exclusively planted for its sweet tart tasting berries.
The dark-colored ripe berries have an intense flavor similar to that of raspberries. If you are interested in growing this productive berry, select the thornless boysenberry cultivar for ease in maintenance and fruit harvesting.
While planting the wild, high yielding boysenberry plants, the cultivators have a difficult time in caring for the vines due to their sharp thorns. Also, presence of thorns poses a hindrance in picking ripe fruits.
Taking these into consideration, an improved thornless variety of boysenberry is created, which is scientifically represented as Rubus ursinus x idaeus 'Thornless'. The thornless boysenberry plant profile is given ahead.
- Growing Zones: USDA zones 6-9
- Growth Pattern: Trailing vine
- Plant Height: 4-6 feet
- Plant Spread: 6-8 feet
- Bloom Time: May
- Fruiting Time: June
- Mature Boysenberry Size: 1½ inch length
- Ripe Boysenberry Color: Non glossy, reddish black
Growing the Plant
As aforementioned, boysenberry plants grow as vines, and they can be trained easily with a support system. They are excellent for growing over the garden fence and trellis. For those of you who already have boysenberry plants, growing tips for the thornless version remain the same. It grows best in USDA hardiness zones 6-9.
Nonetheless, if you are residing in zone 5, you can still grow healthy vines with special care in the provided temperature range. Similar to the original boysenberry cultivars, the thornless boysenberry plants are easy to grow and maintain. They are planted in the spring and fall season.
These vines are adaptable to various soil types, and are resistant to drought conditions. Boysenberries require full sun for optimal growth. In other words, selecting a full sunlit area is a must for getting good berry yield. Also, the harvested fruits are larger and tastier, as compared to those collected from boysenberry plants of the shaded areas.
Selecting a healthy and disease free plantlet is crucial for long-term maintenance of thornless boysenberry plants. You can purchase starter plants online, or from your local nursery center. Preferably, you should buy 2 year or 3 year old plants. They should have lustrous green leaves and well-developed root system.
Regarding site preparation for growing thornless boysenberry plants, loosen the soil, break large clumps and remove unwanted plants from the area. The prepared soil should be slightly acidic (pH 5.5-6.5), well-drained and rich in nutrients. For plantation, gently remove the original pot of the plantlet without damaging the roots.
Dig a large planting hole (sufficient to fit the root ball) and position the starter plant along with adhering soil. Refill soil to cover the roots, and tamp to get rid of air pockets. If you are growing more than one plant, the ideal spacing between two vines is 10 feet, or a little lesser than that.
Irrigate the young boysenberry plants in such a frequency that the soil doesn't dry out between two watering sessions. Stringent care should be followed during the first few months of planting thornless boysenberry. This is just to ensure that the fruit vines are established to the soil properly, and new roots are developed to support the plant.
Once this acclimatization phase gets over, the boysenberry plants will grow luxuriantly with little care. In the second year, they bear near white blooms in spring and summer time. Lack of thorns in boysenberry plants makes the fruit cultivation task a lot easier for berry growers.
If the plant appears weak, consider supplementing a liquid fertilizer in mild concentration, preferably before the flower buds develop. With correct care tips, you can expect production of boysenberries from the second year of plantation. Pruning the vines can be done from the second year itself.
So, during the peak fruiting season (mid June), collect the ripe fruits and proceed with the steps for making delicious preserves. That way, you can enjoy rich flavored boysenberries even during the off season. Sounds interesting, right!