Boysenberry Vegetation: Considerable giant purple berries

Boysenberry plants (Rubis ursinus x Rubus idaeus) grow a large reddish to dark purple berry that emerges after small white flowers have been used up. Sometimes thorny, sometimes not, and grown in multiple USDA zones. Boysenberries have a rich history and taste that is popular in the United States due to their popularity through Knott & # 39; s Berry Farm.

A Rubus ursinus x Rubus idaeus plant needs some maintenance throughout its life. If properly pruned and left to rest in winter, they will produce fresh purple berries in your garden the following summer. In July, when the boysenberries are nearing the end of their fruiting phase, they have the sweet but tangy taste that so many people love.

If you've tried growing blackberries, you already understand the process of growing this dark hybrid berry. Maybe this is a sign that you need to line up a trellis and try to grow boysenberries? Berries of this type are not too picky about and will help beginners learn about the dedication that berry production requires.

This spring, stop at your local nursery to see if they have a boysenberry plant to grow yourself. Especially if your location is in one of the growing areas listed below, you are likely to succeed with boysenberries. And who doesn't want sweet summer fruits?

Good Products on Amazon for Growing Boysenberries:

Brief instructions for care

A well-cared for boysenberry plant can produce up to 10 pounds of fruit in one season. Source: tlhowes2012

Common name (s) Boysenberry
Scientific name Rubus ursinus x Rubus idaeus
Days to harvest 1 year
light Full sun
water 1 to 2 inches per week
ground Abundant, well drained
fertilizer Full spectrum slow release fertilizer
Pests Aphids, mites, leaf rollers, various raspberry pests, cicadas, birds
Diseases Rust, rot, anthracnose

The history of the boysenberry plants

The boysenberry is named after Walter Knott's friend Rudolph "Rudy" Boysen, who succeeded in creating a cross between four berry plants: raspberries, blackberries, cabbage berries and loganberries. They are the result of a long period of experimentation for Rudy. He developed his hybrid berry varieties in the 1920s.

Knott was looking for boysenberries when he and his friend from the USDA, George McMillan Darrow, learned about the hybrid berries. They searched and found Boysen, but he had sold his farm in Coombsville, California. The berry plants that remained there were overgrown, but with Boysen's permission they managed to bring some canes back to Knott's berry farm and restore them. Knott began selling berries in 1932 after developing a thornless variety from the original canes. Rudy Boysen's family managed to keep another original thorn stick that landed on their property in Merced.

Original plants saved from Boysen's farm were rediscovered when Rudy's granddaughter was contacted by a historian who wanted to know more about the plant. In 2018, the Boysen family reopened their berry farm in Orland, California. The new farm has 2,400 vines directly descended from the original thornsticks that survived for 100 years.

Today Knott & # 39; s Berry Farm sells everything for Boysenberry, but the thornless plants Knott developed are hard to find in a nursery. The farm has grown into a 57-acre theme park with roller coasters, a water park and a market square. They occasionally have boysenberry plants for sale early in the year, and their shops and restaurants carry boysenberry products year round.

The result of all of these experiments is a star, especially in California, where hundreds of acres have been used to grow this thin-skinned, sweet berry.

Everything about boysenberry plants

Fruit formation on FloricanesFruits are produced on Floricans in the second year. Source: Pussreboots

The boysenberry is botanically known as Rubis ursinus x Rubus idaeus. Because they are members of the rose family, they sometimes have thorns – unless they are the hybrid variety bred for their lack of thorns. They grow in blackberry formations like blackberries. Young plants have branches called primocanes that start out green and do not produce berries in the first year. They develop into floricanes that produce and develop bark after the blackberry bush has been overwintered. The leaves of a boysenberry plant resemble raspberry or blackberry leaves: blunt with jagged edges arranged in threes.

The flowers of a boysenberry plant are small, white, and have five petals. They bloom and die in the second year and have dark purple fruit sets. Boysenberries are made up of a group of stone fruits formed from several carpels that are present in the flower.

Rubus ursinus x Rubus idaeus berries are about 1.5 inches long. Each weighs about 8 grams. Berries are rich in anthocyanins, which provide the body with heart-healthy nutrients. Because of this, they are considered superfoods. They have a great taste that is crossed between sweet and tart when fresh. A boysenberry plant will often expel suckers that can be removed to allow more plants to propagate, or they can be left to allow the vine to spread.

Plant boysenberries

Boysenberry transplantation begins in the spring after the last frost or at least 8 weeks before the first autumn frost. You will need space for these blackberries as they spread and they will need a trellis for support and exercise. Give them at least two feet of space between them and the next plant to make room.

Transplant boysenberries in a prepared garden bed or 18 "wide, 14" deep container in full sun. Boysenberry plants both tied in soil and in containers need good drainage. Plant cane cutters with two leaves, one above the soil line and one below the soil surface. New leaves will grow in about a month to indicate that the cane is rooted. Sticks need good moisture retention, which is why wood chip mulch is recommended.


Boysenberry leavesThe leaf edges of the boysenberry are clearly jagged or sawtooth-shaped. Source: Pussreboots

A boysenberry plant, like the blackberry, tends to produce in the following year after planting. Give them what they need and they will last for up to 20 years.

Sun and temperature

Boysenberries need full sun with at least six to eight hours of direct sunlight daily. They are perennial in zones 5 to 9. These plants need warmer temperatures to bear fruit, but above 85 degrees a day they need full afternoon shade. Sleeping, properly pruned plants can survive freezing winters, but leaves cannot. Canes need a minimum of 100 cold hours and up to 300 total.

Protect the foliage with a frost cloth in the event of shock frost. Try not to plant in low-lying areas where cold air and frost accumulate, or in areas where sun and temperatures above 85 degrees will overexpose your boysenberry plant.

Water and moisture

Water boysenberries every few days in the morning or at dusk in dry seasons. Your soil should stay moist but not soaked, and the total amount of water per week should be around 1 to 2 inches.

Since most berry plants are prone to rust and rot, water from below. Drip irrigation or a soaking hose makes it easy to water deep and low and avoid the foliage from getting wet. If the season is particularly wet, you may not need to water. Dip your finger a few inches below the surface of the earth. When it is dry add some water. Avoid drought as boysenberries are not used to drought. Moisture applied during watering also promotes good production.


A boysenberry plant prefers loamy, well-drained soil that is rich in organic matter. The pH of the soil should be slightly acidic at 5.8 to 6.5. Neutral soils with a pH of 6 to 7 will also work. They don't grow well in compacted, poor soils. Add well-rotted compost to the container or garden bed in which you will grow your boysenberry plant. Mulch around the base of the plants to prevent weeds from growing near the sugarcane mass.


Boysenberry flowersBoysenberry flowers don't look like much, but they make great fruit later. Source: Pussreboots

A rule of thumb for fertilizing boysenberries is to avoid fertilizing in the cold season when they are dormant. Otherwise, add a 20-20-20 NPK granular or slow release powder fertilizer as new growth emerges and every four weeks thereafter until harvest. Blood meal and fish meal are good for boysenberries. Containers require fertilizer more often as nutrients tend to wash away as they drain through the soil.


Pruning thorny vines can be difficult, so wear sturdy gloves. Be sure to prune floricanes to the ground only in the fall and avoid pruning primocanes that will bear fruit the following year. Differentiate them by their color. Floricanes have a bark-covered surface, while Primocanes are green. Cut floricanes down to the bottom, leaving the primocanes, then dilute the primocanes to about seven on each bush.

Vines also benefit from care during their growing season. Of course, it's best to remove damaged sticks on the go. Cut off the tips of new primokans so they can produce more. This gives you more space for flower production, which means more fruit. Cut off suction cups as they arise when controlling the spread of your boysenberry plant.


Boysenberries multiply easily from cuttings. Use the same transplanting process described in the Planting section of this article to guide you. Canes can be planted in containers or they can be planted in beds where they will develop roots. Remember to give them plenty of space. This is the primary propagation method a nursery would use to help boysenberries root.

Each boysenberry plant attempts to reproduce through small suckers that develop from coiled roots that expand beyond the perimeter of the plant. Take them off and plant them in the ground where they will develop new roots and spread the love boysenberries offer.

They also grow from spreading rhizomes that remain in the ground. Divide these roots into several plants in the spring. Each department needs at least one Primokan to produce a viable root. After dividing them, plant them in the designated zone.

Harvest and storage

BoysenberriesWell worth all the work when you see a lot of berries. Source: tlhowes2012

In some zones, growers release boysenberries from the vine in May. Others pick berries in July and August. Whichever month you harvest, follow this guide to learn how to pick and store the fruits of your boysenberry plant.


Fresh boysenberries tend to be extremely delicate, which means that they are not commonplace in markets. This delicate nature means that you should be careful during the harvesting process so as not to damage your fruit.

In warmer climates, the berries are picked as early as May when they are dark purple. In a colder zone, the best times for berries are July and August. If the weather is hot in late spring, you need to harvest earlier so that the boysenberries do not spoil on the vine.

To remove boysenberries, carefully pluck them from the plant without crushing them and place them in a basket or tray. Try not to pile too many boysenberries on top of each other as their skin is sensitive and they bruise easily. Keep them in a cool place until use.

To rinse them off, carefully place them in a colander and soak them in water. Then pull out the sieve and let the boysenberries dry completely. Use a paper towel.


Fresh boysenberries are best eaten straight away. They last a few days at most before they start to spoil.

Freeze them for longer storage and save to absorb their flavor in winter pies and canned foods. The berries can be kept in a plastic bag in the freezer for up to four months. If you dehydrate the fruit, boysenberries will keep for up to 5 years. Jams can be kept for a year. Perhaps the best way to store them long term is through freeze drying. Freeze-dried boysenberries can be kept for up to 15 years if carried out correctly.

Troubleshooting Boysenberry Plants

Drought damaged berriesDrought can cause leaf margins to turn yellow and brown. Consistently water! Source: Br3nda

Although boysenberries are related to blackberries, they have different problems. Give them the right support and they will give you berries for many years to come. Here are some of the problems you might encounter while growing.

Growing problems

Boysenberries that have been in a hot area above 85 degrees for a long time wither and not give in. Shade donors can help with this. However, some areas of temperature rise need additional assistance in the form of careful placement, proper sun exposure, and careful monitoring to identify problems before they become serious.

To protect your boysenberries from the cold, prune them and mulch the area around the remaining primocanes. This traps the heat in the soil near the roots and gives them the extra support they need to survive the winter. Cut off any fresh tips before winter arrives and you will also prevent cold damage to the foliage. If parts of the Primokan turn black, this is a sign of cold damage. Cut off damaged sticks.

If your boysenberries are in a shadier place than normal, it probably isn't get enough light. A sign of this is that plants do not develop stone fruits. Avoid planting blackberries, such as blackberries and boysenberries, near trees or in the shade of buildings.

If blackberries don't have the support of a. to have Grid, they get wild and get tangled up easily. Add thorns and you're in! So keep a trellis close by when planting them.

Uneven watering is a big problem. Boysenberries need plenty of water and suffer if they don't have enough moisture.


Birds like to eat berries. Blackberries and boysenberries are no exception. To prevent birds from eating all of your berries, drape your plants in nets that birds cannot penetrate. Old CDs or shiny tape tied around the branches of your berry plants can distract birds. Providing birds with water to quench their thirst is another way to distract them. If you've seen unripe berries in your garden one day and they disappeared the next, it is a sign that birds are feeding. Keep an eye on them.

Aphids Gather together and suck up juice from the leaves of your boysenberry plants, which can cause leaf curl. To rid your plant of this, apply an insecticidal soap every seven to ten days. Neem oil is also an effective treatment. When it comes to major breakouts, consider using an organic pyrethrin spray.

Leaf rollers (Choristoneura rosaceana) start as larvae on your plants and develop into moths. If you see a small web that appears to be gluing a folded sheet of paper, it is a sign of sheet rolling. They sometimes overwinter in plant remains. Applying beneficial nematodes to the soil prevents the overwintering larvae from emerging in spring. Bacillus thuringiensis spray is an effective treatment to prevent larvae from spreading on your plant.

Raspberry fruit worms, Raspberry drill, and Raspberry bud dagger larvae can all be attracted to the boysenberry plant. Fruit worms can be combated with organic pyrethrin or spinosad sprays. The raspberry borer or dagger moth larvae are somewhat susceptible to Bacillus thuringiensis, but it's less effective than good gardening and manual pest removal.

Leafhopper are small pale yellow insects that feed on the undersides of boysenberry leaves. Neem oil, insecticidal soap, and pyrethrins are effective biological control methods.


Pipe and leaf rust are caused by fungi and can dry out and crack all parts of the plant. Orange rust causes similar damage, but is more likely to show up as small orange spots than larger brown spots. If you discover damaged material, cut off and apply either a sulfur-based fungicide or a copper-based fungicide to any remaining parts of the plant. Both sulfur and copper fungicides can be used preventively before rust occurs.

Anthracnose may develop on sticks or leaves in the form of purple spots. Cut off damaged growth and apply a copper fungicide. Some biofungicides are also effective against anthracnose. It may take several treatments to eliminate the source of the fungus. To avoid anthracnose, spray neem oil regularly and make sure your plants have good airflow and are watered at the base. Avoid unnecessary foliar sprays.

Improper watering can lead to too Root rot. Yellowing leaves are a sign of root damage. If you notice this, carefully remove your sticks from the soil and examine the rhizomes for rotten spots. Root rot can be prevented by making sure your soil drains away excess water instead of collecting at the root level.

frequently asked Questions

Boysenberry fruitBoysenberry fruit starts out green, gradually turns red, then turns purple. Source: tlhowes2012

Q: Are boysenberry plants spreading?

Answer: yes! They like to spread through suckers growing from their rhizomes. You can remove these and distribute them.

Q: How long does boysenberries take to bear fruit?

A: It takes at least a year for them to bear fruit.

Q: Are boysenberries self-pollinating?

A: Yes, but they produce better with additional help from pollinators.

Q: In what climate do boysenberries grow?

A: Boysenberries grow best in temperate climates that don't get too hot or too cold. However, if properly cared for, they will survive cold winters.

The green fingers behind this article:

Leave a comment