Growing Blackberries In Containers

Growing blackberry plants in containers at home is quite easy if you take proper care for soil, planting, watering, pruning, dividing, harvesting and fertilization. The thornless blackberry plant may begin to grow blackberries on the canes in the first year itself. The thornless blackberry varieties are suited for pots, although any variety can be grown in a pot.

Blackberry Growing Guide

Location For Blackberries

Blackberries need 6 hours of Sun every day to produce sweet berries.

Blackberry Variety

Some varieties of blackberries need trellis to clime up and some have straight canes so they do not require a trellis.

Container size For Blackberry Plant

Blackberries
Blackberries
Wide containers are good, because the blackberry roots spread out rather than down. A pot having about 15 inch diameter and 12 inch high may be suitable.

You can start with a small container and transfer the plant to next higher size when the roots emerge from the bottom holes.

Ensure that the pot has several holes at the bottom for excess water drainage, otherwise the roots will rot.
The following picture shows a blackberry plant grown from tip layering method from another plant. In a future post, I will show the procedure I used for growing blackberries from tip layering. The roots of this plant is coming out from bottom so it needs a bigger pot.
Blackberry plant grown from tip layering
Blackberry plant grown from tip layering method

Potting Mix For Blackberries

Blackberries need acidic to slightly basic organic well-drained soil. For this mix compost and river sand or pertile in garden soil. The compost will make soil nutritious and acidic, while the river sand will make the soil free-draining. You can mix cow manure and some azalea soil in stead of compost. Change the container soil every third year with the new soil.
Change the pot to the next larger size when the roots emerge from the bottom.

Mulch for blackberries

Blackberries need high humidity in the soil. So put a thick layer of sugarcane mulch on top of the soil to contain the humidity in the soil and. This will also prevent weeds.

Watering Blackberry Bush

The blackberry plant in pot needs regular watering, may be daily in summer. Water the plant when the top 1 inch of soil is dry. Water so that it does not come out of the pot from the drainage holes to prevent nutrients.

Fertilizer for blackberries

You can apply any general purpose fertilizer or tomato fertilizer in spring when the plant grows actively. Mix the fertilizer in the soil and then water well. It is better to sprinkle the fertilizer around the rim of the pot, away from the plant, otherwise the plant may burn and die.
After that you can feed any good quality liquid fertilizer mixed with seaweed solution every 2 weeks.

PRUNING & DIVIDING BLACKBERRIES

The roots of the blackberry plant will get crowded in the pot. You need to transfer the plant into a bigger size pot or divide them every 3-4 years and make into new plants during winter, when the plant is dormant.

In winter, prune the weak canes, lateral canes and canes which have borne fruits.

HOW TO HARVEST & STORE BLACKBERRIES

Incorrect pruning of the blackberry shrub will reduce berries harvest, therefore you need to prune the plant correctly. The plant may bear fruits in the first 2 years. The branch after fruiting will not fruit again and will die or you can prune it to the ground level after you harvest.

Harvest only in the morning or evening. Pick only berries that are fully black, as they do not ripen after being picked. You have to pick them often, they don't ripen all together.

Refrigerate them as soon as possible after harvest. Note that they will only last a few days once harvested, even with refrigeration. The blackberries can be stored by canning or freezing.