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May 26 / Jeff

Growing Blackberries in Arizona

Every May, I always look forward to one of the most successful crops in my backyard. Amazingly enough, the blackberry thrives well here. Of course, you have to give it proper soil, nutrients, and plenty of water. But in the end, it’s all worth the effort and investment.


I have tried several varieties of blackberries, including Apache, Brazos, Black Satin, and Roseborough. Out of those, the Roseborough does the best, growing canes 6-8′ tall and producing tons of huge 1+” fruits. Some are almost as big as a golf ball! The only drawback is the numerous thorns that get in the way during maintenance and harvesting tasks. So, in exchange for some sweat and blood (literally), I get rewarded with this:

I should also mention that I have a small row of boysenberries that also thrive very well in this hot weather. The fruit is not as large as the blackberry, but the flavor is much more complex. These also ripen during the same time as the blackberry:

The funny thing is most people have heard of the boysenberry, but have you actually ever seen fresh boysenberries at your local supermarket? Probably not. In fact, i’ll bet you a large sum of money you have never seen them before. Why? These are extremely fragile when picked off the plant. In fact, I usually end up accidentally squeezing about 25% of them during harvest time. Can you imagine a farmer trying to pick hundreds of acres of these by hand and spending extra care in not damaging them? Good luck. If you’re interested in trying a fresh boysenberry, drop me a line during the month of May and i’ll be happy to share. I have plenty to go around!


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  1. Justin / Sep 19 2010

    I am new to blackberries. How should they be trained? Do they get wire trellised like grapes?
    Also, where did you get boysenberries? I would love to plant some here. I have an acre in Casa Grande that I do gray water gardening on. We are trying to expand it this year outside our normal comfort zone. We currently have: Lemons, limes, oranges, grapefruit, peach, plum, strawberries, passion fruit, mint, and peppers that grow year round. We just planted our winter garden with carrots, peas, beans, lettuce, spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, and onions.
    Please let me know about the blackberries and boysenberries.

    • Jeff / Sep 19 2010

      Blackberries should also be trained similar to grapes, but it really depends on the variety. There are 2 main types of blackberries – erect and trailing. Erect varieties have a thick stem and pretty much require minimal training. Just tie them to a two-post wire system and that should do. The trailing varieties have a thinner and softer stem, which means they can get quite messy and hard to work with. These varieties definitely need training to a wire trellis to keep them neat.

      I purchase most of my plants via mail-order nurseries. Some of my favorite ones include Willis Orchard Company and Isons Nursery. In my experience, the thorny varieties do much better here in the desert Southwest than the thornless types. Yes, that means you will have to wear thick gloves and long sleeved shirts, but the results are well worth the effort.

      Good luck!

    • Abe Gold / Aug 14 2013

      Wolfberries are the most nutrious fruits of the desert and native in your area. Very tough.

  2. Bob Bowers / May 31 2011

    jeff, where in arizona do you garden? makes a big difference on what grows well and where. i live in tucson (34 years) and have been gardening since i was a child (over 55 years). a few years ago i tried a blackberry variety, but it did not survive the alkaline soil. this year i am planting a thornless variety called oachita which is alleged to grow here.

    i see you have anna apple trees. i tried them years ago and found the apples soft and unsatisfactory. i have two pink lady apple trees in my back yard. theya are not old enough yet to bear but have a low chill requirement within tucson’s range. after discovering this apple variety in willcox area, it has become my favorite. they keep a long time and remain crisp. i buy directly from the organic grower, briggs and eggers orchards, in 50 pound boxes. we made 60 quarts of applesauce last november, and i still have one bag of apples from that batch in my refrigerator in “like new” condition.

    my major summer crops are tomatoes, beans and basil. sometimes cantaloupes and cucumbers. last year was a bad tomato year. still have some swiss chard from last year.

    • Jeff / May 31 2011

      Hi Bob,

      I’m in Gilbert. I have great success with the ‘Rosborough’ variety. It is extremely thorny, but yields a lot of sweet and juicy blackberries. The trick is to prepare the soil with lots of compost and peat moss to make it well-draining. As long as you keep it well watered, the brambles should take off. Some of my canes are over 8 feet long. I have also heard ‘Ouachita’ is suited for the desert climate, but I have yet to try it out. I am definitely interested in a thornless variety to avoid injuring myself.

      Apples are a little more tricky. Cross-pollination seems to be the key with ‘Anna’. I hear I should also get a ‘Golden Dorsett’. Maybe i’ll pick one up during the winter.

      Happy Gardening!


  3. kim / Jun 8 2011

    HI, I hope you see this. I am making jam and jelly this week and need Boysenberrys. I am making a three berry recipe and can’t find the last berry. Please share some of yours with me. I’ll give you some of the jelly.

    Thank you, Kim

  4. Amber / Dec 1 2011


    I’m super excited I stumbled upon your site!! My husband LOVES Blackberries so this specific post was like gold :-D. Do you have any recommendations for raspberries? do they do well here as well and are there 2 types like the blackberries or would they need training?

    • Jeff / Dec 8 2011

      Hi Amber,

      Unfortunately, raspberries are even harder to grow than blackberries. I have not had any real luck with them. Once the summer rolls around, they just can’t make it. The only 2 varieties that are supposedly good for hot climates with low chilling hours – Bababerry and Dormanred. I might try again in 2012, but keep them in a shaded area this time. They will require some type of support. I suggest using a 2 wire trellis.

      Good luck!


  5. Fascist Nation / Dec 24 2011

    In addition to Dorman Red (Womack Nurseries in TX) and Southern Bababerry (which seems to grow well in the hotter parts of San Diego) a guy in a zone 9b area in Florida has pictures of his Fall Gold (yellow raspberry: Trees of Antiquity and Bay Laurel Nursery). So those are on my list of lets see as well. I am certain they will need even more shade than blackberries in PHX to make it, and I am not terribly hopeful. But what the heck the investment is not great and the return is in two years.

  6. Judy / Jan 3 2012

    Hi Jeff, One of my garden club members has a huge blackberry patch which poduces wonderful berries and I’m thinking of trying some but I have limited space and know they “travel”. Do you think I could grow them in a container such as an old bathtub to keep them contained? Also, our club is always looking for guest speakers at our monthly meetings in Mesa, we’d love for you to come share some of your considerable knowledge with our small group, if you’re interested let me know and I’ll get you the details. Thanks for all the wonderful information you’re sharing here.

  7. Cyndy / Jan 13 2012

    I live in Mesa, AZ and tried growing boysenberries/raspberries a few years back without much success. Seemed to be too hot. I’m trying again but to combat the extreme summer temps we’ve built a very large grape arbor 12′ x 16′; hoping the cooler temps under the arbor will make a difference for our row of boysenberries. We’re going to add significant amounts of compost and sand into the soil under the arbor prior to planting the boysenberry plants. Do I need to wait until the fall to plant? Last spring I saw boysenberry plants for sale at a local nursery and if I see them again is it okay to plant them in spring?

    • Jeff / Jan 14 2012

      Hi Cyndy,
      Raspberries will definitely be a challenge out here. I have not had any success myself. Every time the temperatures climb above 100F, they just can’t handle it.
      I have had success with boysenberries and blackberries, even when grown in full sun with no shade. It is important to provide them with good soil and plenty of water. Good soil must have a lot of organic matter (fine mulch, compost, organic fertilizers, etc.). I avoid using any native soil because it doesn’t help.
      You can plant in the spring, but make sure you have an established plant that is grown in a pot. If you buy bareroot plants, it will require a little more care especially during the first few months.
      I am actually growing boysenberry and blackberry plants right now through my nursery ( Keep an eye out in the next few months when they will be ready.
      Let me know if you have any other questions. Happy gardening!


  8. Cyndy / Jan 14 2012


  9. Omara / Apr 17 2012

    I am in the Willcox area but am a transplant from Washington/Oregon/ and Texas. I am still learning how to garden down here in regards to shade/sun/watering. I have had great success with Tomatoes, squash, and peppers. I have three strawberries that have been growing for three years now, but they look nice with little fruit.
    I would like to expand this year and next year. I have tried blueberries and raspberries with no luck so far. I have heard blackberries and boysenberries grow well out here. Is there anything different I should do out here from what I read above?
    Any general gardening info would be great as well. Thanks.
    Wish I was closer so I could try your boysenberries. I miss having all these berries at my house growing like crazy like when we lived in the NW.

    • Jeff / Apr 17 2012

      Hi Omara,
      Thanks for the comment! Welcome to Arizona!
      You are right – Blackberries and boysenberries are much easier to grow than blueberries and raspberries, especially with our hot summers and mild winters. At least Willcox has a much friendlier climate than the Phoenix area. You should have a lot of success down there. The same rules apply: Rich, well-draining soil and plenty of water during the growing season.
      Feel free to send me an e-mail at with specific gardening questions.
      Good luck!

  10. Tom Gundlach / Jun 3 2012

    I live in the Phoenix area and am growing Apache blackberries, last year was the second year and we had an abundant crop.
    This year is another story, small fruit, most only half ripen (half black other half redish). They are on a drip system, water 40 minutes daily (temperature in 100+ range) and have fertilized with 10-10-10 a month or so ago.
    From what I’ve read Apache is supposed to be erect, self supporting, I have horizonatl wires at 18″, 36″ and 54″ height and have intertwined the canes.
    I think my problem is pruning, in the past I did prune fruit bearing canes BUT only to their main supporting cane.
    I’ve read where that was how to prune blackberries and also where I am supposed to cut the canes which produced this year back to ground level?
    What is your advice? Thanks for your reply in advance.
    PS Should I remove the supporting wires since they are supposed to be self-supporting?

    • Jeff / Jun 12 2012

      Hi Tom,
      You should only cut down the canes that produced this year. Leave the new canes that are growing, as they will produce berries next spring.
      Apache should be erect, but if it needs some help, I would go ahead and tie it to a trellis to keep it off the ground.
      It is important to keep the developing fruit shaded from the hot sun. If the berries are exposed to the sun, they will sustain damage and look like dried fruit.
      Good luck!
      – Jeff

  11. Tom Gundlach / Jun 13 2012

    Thanks Jeff for your reply, I do have 50% shade cloth over my garden. Even with that, many berries do as you said look like dried fruit, that’s the hazard of living in the southwest with daily temperatures above 100. Do you have Apache blackberries and where do you live? I live about 25 miles northwest of Phoenix in Sun City West. We had a very nice crop last year, but not so abundant this year. Was told by a Prof. at ASU that poor crop was due to not enough chill-hours, what are your thoughts along this line? We did have warm weather this past winter .
    Was told to cut down this years producing branches all the way to the ground. But information I received from Arkansaw University shows just cutting back to the main trunk. What do you suggest?
    Thanks again for your reply, looking forward to additional info.

    • Jeff / Jun 13 2012

      Even 50% shade cloth isn’t enough to keep the berries protected. You almost have to keep them completely shaded from the sun as they ripen. With my plants, the berries that are growing outside of the canopy will dry up, whereas the ones hidden inside the plants turn out to be nice and juicy. I have a 8′ row of ‘Rosborough’ blackberries and I live in Gilbert. For me, this year’s crop was actually better than last year.

      Chill hours are important, but it depends on the variety. I have tried other varieties such as ‘Black Satin’ and ‘Triple Crown Thornless’, but they would never fruit properly. ‘Black Satin’ had some production, but I could never get anything off the ‘Triple Crown Thornless’. They were nice lush plants, but lacked the sufficient chill hours.

      You should always cut the canes that produced this year all the way to the ground. I typically do this during the late fall/winter season, when the growth slows down.


  12. Tom Gundlach / Jun 14 2012

    Thanks Jeff for your advice, how tasty are the Rosborough raspberries? Some Apache are OK others not!
    Where were you able to purchase the Rosborough? I spoke to DR Glenn Wright U of A and he also advised the Rosborough, but the site he suggeated required a $60+ order.
    Thanks for your reply. Tom

    • Jeff / Jun 14 2012

      ‘Rosborough’ blackberries are actually pretty good if you let them fully ripen. Very sweet and rich blackberry flavor. Again, the best berries are the ones that are completely shaded by the plant.
      I actually sell ‘Rosborough’ blackberry plants in 2 gallon pots through my nursery business – Jeff’s Nursery ( Let me know if you’re interested. I would suggest waiting to plant during the fall months, to minimize stress.
      – Jeff

  13. Tom Gundlach / Jun 16 2012

    Yes I am interested but will have to check with upper-managment, my wife, as we are getting quite a few Apache blackberries now. Although most are not fully developed, seems most have a section or two still in the maroon color stage.
    I am interested in fall planting vs spring. What would be my price for the Roseborough blackberries (3) in the 2 gallon container? You may want to email me direct?


  14. Tom Gundlach / Jun 17 2012

    Jeff I finally came to the conclusion my Apache Blackberries are behaving exactly as your Roseborough as far as the sun and shade effects. Just what do you use for sun protection and how early in the season do you block-out the sun?


    • Jeff / Jun 19 2012

      Fortunately, the plants create a nice canopy for the berries. There are some that stick out and end up getting exposed to the sun. In this case, I would create a shade structure using 70% or higher shade cloth. This should be used as soon as the berries start developing, so you minimize sun exposure. Another method I’ve used before is wrapping the cluster of berries in small paper bag. It’s more tedious but works really well. It also keeps the birds away.
      – Jeff

  15. Tom Gundlach / Jun 20 2012

    Thanks Jeff for your suggestions, will look into getting 70% or higher next spring. Have a good week.


  16. Tom Gundlach / Jun 20 2012

    Oh! Forgot do you have any recommendations as to where to purchase low-priced shade cloth? In the past I’ve used-


    • Jeff / Jun 20 2012

      You can buy pretty much any type of shade cloth by the foot.
      – Jeff

  17. Staci / Mar 2 2013

    Hi Jeff,
    I moved in to Camp Verde in July 2012, from North Dakota. I love to garden grow trees & bushes with edible fruit. I’m looking to expand into all allowable areas of fruit & vegetable that grow well in my area, Any info you can supply or direct me elsewhere for assistance will be greatly apprecated! Can you help this Arizona transplant out?
    Thanks, Staci

    • Jeff / Mar 5 2013

      Hi Staci,

      Lucky for you Camp Verde has better weather than the Phoenix-area. It’s not as hot in the summer, but it gets cold enough in the winter so you can grow more varieties of fruits. I believe you are in zone 8b. What kinds of fruits do you like?

      Your vegetable growing season starts out in mid-late March and runs all the way through October. All vegetables will grow well there. It’s just a matter of timing. Let me know if you have any other questions!


  18. Dana n / Mar 12 2013

    Do you have any boysenberries left? Is it too late to plant them? I’ve never tried either those or blackberries but have known people who’ve had success. Since you are a Gilbert person, like myself, I know Agritopia used to have blackberry plants all along their fence. If you haven’t visited there, they have a lot of beautiful plants by their coffee shop. thanks

    • Jeff / Mar 12 2013

      Hi Dana,

      I still have plenty of boysenberry plants left, available in 2 gallon pots (2 year old plants) for $15 each. You can still plant them now, as they are just coming out of dormancy.

      I grow ‘Rosborough’ blackberries and they do really well here in our desert climate. They don’t mind the heat and the berries are large and sweet. The only problem is that they have a lot of thorns, so be careful!

      Agritopia has a nice setup. I wish I had that much space to grow fruits and vegetables!


  19. Kara / Mar 15 2013

    Hi Jeff,
    We are going to be planting some raspberries and blackberries and blueberries soon. We are trying to decide where to plant them in our yard. One of our options is to plant the red raspberries and blackberries north of a block wall that is on the south side of our property. The plants could be planted 2-6 feet off of the wall. In the middle summer the wall would offer no shade, and we are wondering if it will radiate too much heat? Or would the wall be a help to block winds? From November to March the wall would offer shade, but would it be too much shade? We also have a chain link fence on the north side of our property. There would be no shade for the plants there, but we could buy the shade cloth, and the plants could climb on the chain link, correct? Can we plant the blackberries and red raspberries close to each other?
    About the blueberries, we have a few options close to our house, but the existing soil is rocky, and full of caliche. We can add compost, mulch, etc. to the top of the soil, would that be okay? Would the blueberries do well by the block wall? Will they need shade? Can they be planted on the north side of our house, where there is bermuda grass?
    Thanks for your help,

    • Jeff / Mar 16 2013

      Hi Kara,

      I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but raspberries are virtually impossible to grow here in the desert, unless you put together an elaborate climate control system. I have tried every variety, including the “heat-tolerant” ones (Bababerry and Dormanred). Once it gets above 105F, they just die.

      Blueberries are not too far behind, as they are tricky to grow. However, I have had some luck with them (Sharpblue, Misty, Sunshine Blue). It is important to have the right soil pH (lots of peat moss and compost – no native soil) and shade, especially from the hot afternoon sun. As long as your north side location gets shade in the afternoon, that should be fine.

      Growing against a wall is not too bad. Sure it does retain some heat, but it’s not enough to cause a problem.

      Good luck!


  20. Jennifer / Mar 17 2013

    Hi Jeff… you eluded to my question in Kara’s answer above but what are the best sun requirements for blueberries (which will be in pots) and blackberries (planted in ground). Also, do you have any Rosboroughs left? Do I need two or just one?

    Thank you!

    • Jeff / Mar 17 2013

      Hi Jennifer,

      Blueberries cannot be grown in full sun, especially during the hot summer months. Ideally, you will place them where they get morning sun until about noon and then shade from the afternoon sun. If you have them in pots, that makes it easier to control, as you can position them under a patio to get the right amount of sun. It’s more important to ensure the soil has the correct pH and adequate moisture. The roots are shallow, so it becomes more of an issue during the summer.

      Blackberries are much more forgiving and can tolerate more sun and heat. However, if you can plant them where they get a little break from the extreme afternoon sun, that will help them thrive.

      I am actually sold out of ‘Rosborough’ blackberries for the spring season due to high demand. I am growing more plants right now and they should be ready by the fall season (October/November). You only need to plant one blackberry to get production. The same goes with most other berries.



  21. Jennifer / Mar 17 2013

    Thanks Jeff… I know just where I’m going to place them. 🙂 What variety of boysenberry do you grow or find does well here? Will you be at the market next weekend?

    • Jeff / Mar 18 2013

      I have grown both thorny and thornless boysenberries and both do well here. Right now, I have the thornless variety in 2 gallon pots for $15 each. They are 2-year old plants. I will be at the Gilbert Farmers Market this Saturday (3/23). Let me know how many you would like and I can reserve them for you.



      • Jennifer / Mar 18 2013

        I’ll take one for now and see if it makes it thru summer. Should I wait till fall?

        • Jeff / Mar 19 2013

          You can plant it now. Just make sure you plant it where it gets shade in the afternoon. And don’t forget to water them! The plants were raised in my backyard so they have experienced our wonderful summer weather.

          • Jennifer / Mar 19 2013

            Perfect… see you Saturday. Thank you Jeff.

  22. Jazz / Apr 27 2013

    Still have them for sale?

    • Jeff / Apr 27 2013

      Hi Jazz,
      Unfortunately, I am out for the season. But I am working on a lot of cuttings right now that will be ready for sale in the fall (October-November). Let me know if you are interested and I will contact you when they are ready. Thanks!

  23. Kenny / May 15 2013

    Hi. I live in mesa and I am thinking about growing blackberrys and raspberrys on the side of my house. Between my house and the neighbors. Would this be ok? What would you suggest? Thay would only get mid afternoon sun.

    • Jeff / May 16 2013

      Hi Kenny,

      As long as the plants get at least 4 hours of direct sun each day, you should be fine. Otherwise, I would pick another location, preferably one that gets morning sun and afternoon shade. This will be useful during the hot summer months. I have not had much luck with raspberries here and I have tried the “heat-tolerant” varieties like ‘Bababerry’ and ‘Dormanred’. By the time it hits 100F+, they just turn brown and die.

      Good luck!


  24. Scott / May 28 2013

    Hi Jeff,
    I’m a rookie gardener in Gilbert, AZ. I’d like to try growing a variety of berries; black, blue, boysen & rasp. Can you recommend a nurserie or place to purchase these young plants? Do you ever sell young plants yourself? Thanks,

    • Jeff / May 28 2013

      Hi Scott,

      Blackberries (some varieties) and boysenberries are the easiest to grow here. Blueberries are very picky, but will survive with extra care. Raspberries are next to impossible to grow here, as they do not like the heat. Most nurseries do not sell berries. Those that do usually sell the wrong varieties so you end up with a plant that dies or does not produce. I actually sell ‘Rosborough’ blackberry plants through Jeff’s Nursery (, but I am out of stock at the moment. I will have more plants for the fall season. I will have boysenberry plants next spring.



  25. Patti Shenton / Jun 5 2013

    Hi Jeff,

    I’m new to Chandler area and my husband just bought two Navaho Blackberry plants. I have since read that they don’t do well here. Have you ever tried this variety? PS love your info

    • Jeff / Jun 7 2013

      Hi Patti,
      I don’t have any experience with Navaho. There are really 2 concerns with growing blackberries here. #1: It’s too hot in the summer, so the plant doesn’t survive. #2: It’s not cold enough during the winter, so the plant won’t produce fruit.
      We can generally get around #1 by planting them in an area that gets more shade or creating some sort of micro climate to minimize the heat. #2 depends purely on the variety of the plant. Some don’t need as many chill hours as others, so they are more suitable for our climate. You will want to find varieties that are good for zone 9 or 10.
      At this point, if you can get them to survive the summer, let’s hope they produce fruit next spring. If not, then it’s probably not worth keeping.
      Good luck!

  26. Rene / Aug 30 2013

    Hey Jeff,
    Really enjoyed your posts on advice. I live in Chandler. I have a yard full of mango trees, guava trees, papaya trees, sapote, loquat, passion fruit vines etc. So far so good. The biggest challenge I have is berries. My raspberries are and blueberries are doing ok in pots in the shade but I can’t seem to get thornless blackberries or boysenberries to grow in the garden in the shade without shriveling up. They got plenty of water and I thought good shade. Mine were Navajo and I think Black Satin. I’d like to try your thornless varieties for both black berry and bosenberry.

    How do I order some?


    • Jeff / Aug 30 2013

      Hi Rene,

      That’s pretty impressive! If you can grow all of those tropical fruits, then you shouldn’t have trouble with anything else. Seriously though, it sounds like you just need the right varieties for our desert climate. The one variety that seems to do well for me is ‘Rosborough’, although it is very thorny. I am currently running trials on ‘Ouachita’, which is a thornless type. It has survived the summer, so I am waiting to see if it will produce with our limited number of chilling hours. Boysenberries also do well but they need more shade from the summer heat.

      I am growing a bunch of ‘Rosborough’ blackberry plants in 1 gallon pots and will have them ready for sale late-September/early-October at $10 each. If you’re interested, let me know and I will notify you when they’re ready. I will have more boysenberry plants in the spring, as I have already sold out for the year.


    • Charis / Mar 25 2014

      Please tell me about your mangoes! How old are they? Are they large or small?Are they in ground or in pots? I have one mango in a pot because I am afraid I will lose it to a hard freeze. I love fresh mangoes and envy the orchards in Florida!

      • Rene / Mar 25 2014

        I have 4 mango trees (Manila, Alphonso, Kent and Timotayo). They are all about 3-4 years old. All 4 are in the ground and flowering heavily for the first time. Really exciting to watch. Hoping for lots of great organic mangos this summer!

        • Charis / Mar 25 2014

          Wow! Where are you located? I am close to the Queen Creek area. How do you keep them from freezing?! I would love to know! Are they quite large? What do you feed them?

        • Charis / Mar 25 2014

          Wow! Where are you located? I am close to the Queen Creek area. How do you keep them from freezing?! What do you feed them?

        • Charis / Mar 27 2014

          Are they in full sun?

          • Rene / Mar 27 2014

            I live in south chandler. They all get full sun. The heat isn’t a problem. Two of my trees grew 3 feet each one summer. You just need to water and feed them properly. I use Garden Guy’s extreme juice for example which is all natural. You will need to invest in covers for them for the 1-2 weeks it freezes. That’s your biggest challenge. 35 degrees or higher they are usually fine uncovered. Make sure you don’t let the cloth touch the leaves/branches or they will freeze off and you will lose valuable growth.

  27. Melissa / Sep 11 2013


    I am interested in purchasing some of your black berry plants. Do you plant them in the fall in AZ? Also I noticed you grow strawberries. What variety and what should the planting conditions be?

    • Jeff / Oct 7 2013

      Hi Melissa,

      Sorry for the late reply! Fall is the best time to plant blackberries, as it gives them time to get established before the summer heat. Send me an e-mail at and let me know how many you’re interested in.

      Strawberries are a little more tricky to grow. The soil must be well draining (lots of compost, peat moss, and mulch!) and it must be kept moist at all times. During the summer it would be wise to give them some shade from the hot afternoon sun. Some recommended varieties include ‘Eversweet’ and ‘Sequoia’.

      – Jeff

  28. Reed / Oct 23 2013

    Have you ever thought about the primocaine fruiting types, such as Prime Jim/Jan, or the new Prime Ark 45? They are from Arkansas, and I’m not sure if they will grow in the desert. I don’t know if you would have the chill days that is needed. I live in St. George, UT, about 10 degrees cooler than you, but we get 100 in the summer pretty regularly.


    • Jeff / Oct 27 2013

      Hi Reed,

      The problem with those varieties is that we do not get enough chilling hours during the winter. The only ones that seem to do well here are from Texas A&M. Although, I have seen a few local nurseries selling ‘Ouachita’, so I am running some trials this year to see if they will survive the summer and produce in the spring.


  29. Reed / Oct 23 2013

    Follow up comment, I have not grown blackberries here yet, but I am looking forward to it next spring.


  30. Morgan / Oct 25 2013

    Jeff, I live in Mesa. I have a some what shaded semi-circle area measuring 13 feet in diamatur. How many black berry plants should I plant? What kind? With all the grandkids I want a thorn-less type. What is your address so I can come see what you have. Thanks.


  31. desiree / Jan 7 2014

    I just bought blackberries and put them in nice soil and outside. Here in Sierra vista it’s been cold one day and warm the next with nights still cold should I bring them in? They are about 5 inches long.

    • Jeff / Jan 8 2014

      Hi Desiree,

      Not to worry, blackberries are ok in the cold weather. In fact, they need a period of cold weather during the winter in order to produce fruit in the spring. Even freezing temperatures are fine. Just be sure you water them well after planting and around March you should notice new growth.


  32. Sonia / Jan 28 2014

    Hi Jeff, I’m in Tucson and am thinking about planting a boysenberry on a north-facing wall. It gets some sun but is mostly pretty sheltered by nearby shrubs and a shed. I love blackberries but want to avoid thorns because of my kids. How much work are boysenberries? Can I plant in the spring? I saw that you sometimes have them available for sale – what’s a good way for me to transport them down here to Tucson? Thanks!

    • Jeff / Feb 2 2014

      Hi Sonia,
      That sounds like a good spot for the boysenberry. The key is to provide shade during the hottest part of the day during the summer months. In general, boysenberries are easy to grow. You just need to set up a trellis (T-type) and tie the canes to the wires to keep everything neat. You can plant in the spring if you can find plants. The earlier you plant, the better. I would recommend against planting any time after March since summer is right around the corner and the plants need some time to get established.

      I currently do not have any boysenberry plants, but the best way to do this is to buy from a mail order nursery online. They will sell bareroot plants that you plant and they will start growing when the weather warms up. Some good choices are Peaceful Valley Farm Supply and Bob Wells Nursery.


      • Sonia / Feb 3 2014

        Thanks, Jeff, this is really helpful. And I’ve actually already got a trellis in the location I’m thinking of, so hopefully I should be good. One question, though, how invasive are boysenberries? I was planning to dig a good-sized hole and fill with good soil as you suggest, and I was hoping that since the hole is surrounded by bad native soil I wouldn’t have to worry about spreading. What do you think?

        • Jeff / Feb 8 2014

          Hi Sonia,

          Boysenberries can be invasive given the right conditions. However, as long as you limit the watering to a specific area, it will not spread too far. It can grow in native soil, but water will be the limiting factor.


  33. Rob / Apr 15 2014

    Hi Jeff,

    Do you have any Roseborough Blackberries plants for sale? Do you have a place where come by the see the plant that is a few years old to get an idea? Thanks.

    • Jeff / Apr 21 2014

      Hi Rob,

      I do have quite a few Rosborough blackberry plants for sale through my business, Jeff’s Nursery. You can find me at the Gilbert Farmers Market Saturday mornings from 8am-12pm. I have 1 gallon (newly rooted cuttings) and 2 gallon (1 year old plants) plants for sale. I have a 6′ row of plants growing in my backyard. I can send you pictures if you’re interested.


  34. Deborah L. Jones / Apr 21 2014

    Hi Jeff, I just looked up your site, I’m glad to know that I’m not the only one in Tucson that is growing what I think is a Rosborough blackberry plant. Last week Tucson electirc cut down half a mesquite tree that was shading my plant. Know it’s starting to wilt how can I save it. This is it’s third year and full of berry’s. I’ve promised my 90 year old father a pie. Help me save my blackberry.

    • Jeff / Apr 21 2014

      Hi Deborah,

      If the plant is wilting, you will need to make sure it’s getting enough water. I would give it a good soaking right now and check the soil a day later to confirm. The Rosborough can handle full sun, but it will experience heat stress during the summer months. It is important to shade the berries from direct sun, as they will get sunburned and dry out. You may need to put up a temporary shade structure using shade cloth to protect the berries until they are ripe.


  35. Tim / May 31 2014

    Jeff Do you have any Blackberries left? I would love to try to grow some.

    • Jeff / Jun 1 2014

      Hi Tim,

      I still have plenty of Rosborough blackberry plants available for sale. They are in 1 gallon pots for $10 each and they are approximately 8-10″ tall. Send me an e-mail at and we can work out the details.


  36. Lynn Conger / Jun 27 2014

    I live in the far West valley and am interested in blackberries as well. Would it be better to wait until the fall to plant them or can I pant now? As we are approaching July, do you still have any plants left? Would love to try my hand at boysenberries as well when you get more this fall — they are the best part of going to Knotts Berry Farm!

    • Jeff / Jun 29 2014

      Hi Lynn,

      You can plant blackberries now, but it’s important to minimize the effects of heat stress by providing plenty of shade in the afternoon. If you are not comfortable planting now, I would wait until September when it finally starts to cool down. I do have plenty of plants right now, so availability will not be an issue. If you are interested, please send me an e-mail at and we can work out the details.

      I will plan on having boysenberry plants for sale next spring.


  37. Gary Raymond / Nov 13 2014

    This is what I started off with. All plants are growing like Crazy. I put them in raised Gardens. At first I was shy of sniping buds after 42 inches . Now sniping 100 a day it seams. Wow I got BLACKBERRY’S. Running ropes trellises everywhere. O and Friends gave me a few plants. Over all I have about 46 plants and 14 different varieties. In a 30′ x 50′ back yard. Last year with just one plant gave me 10 lbs. and it was a young plant. I’ll let you know what happens this July August. A cold winter in Peoria AZ. Would help.

    Arapaho Thornless , 1 plant

    Natchez Thornless 1 plant

    Black. Butte. 2 three year plants

    Tripple Crown 9 one year plants

    Home Depot Blackberry. 1starter plants ?.

    Rubus Kiowa PP 9861 blackberry. 2 plants

    Navajo Blackberry 1 plant

    Black Diamond 9 starter plants

    Black Satin 2 plants

    Ebony 2 plants

  38. nakeisha / Nov 25 2014

    hello jeff,
    i bought a blackberry plant and beforemu husband could finish building the raised garden bed our darn dog chewed on it. it looks like she got some of there any way to save it?

    • Jeff / Nov 25 2014

      Hi Nakeisha,

      It depends on how much damage was done to the blackberry plant. If there are enough roots left on the plant, you should be ok. The most important thing to do right now is to water the plant really well. It may take some time to recover.


  39. Eric / Dec 6 2014

    Great Blog – I really enjoy the information. Curious to know how much space is needed for the Rosborough. How many feet from a wall should it be planted? I imagine trailing type can be planted right next to the wall while erect type needs some distance from a wall. Thanks in advance


    • Jeff / Dec 9 2014

      Hi Eric,

      For a small number of plants, you are probably ok planting at least 2 feet from the wall. For a long row of plants, I would consider planting 4-5 feet away to give you access on both sides of the plants for maintenance. Once the plants get established, it can be challenging to manage from one side.


  40. Joan / Jan 1 2015

    How are the blueberries coming along? Were you able to get adequate fruit production?

    • Jeff / Jan 4 2015

      Hi Joan,

      I do have a few Sunshine Blue blueberry plants and production was limited last spring. But they are only 2 year old plants. I do expect more this spring as they have grown a lot in the last 6 months. At full size, they are supposed to average 5-10 lbs. per plant, but due to our extreme climate, I estimate it will be more on the low end.


  41. Melody / Jan 20 2015

    Hi Jeff,

    I’m in Flagstaff, interested in growing Blackberries. To my understanding, the thorny varieties are more hardier than the thornless.

    Elevation 7,000 ft. I call this utmost beautiful place the pimple on the desert, where the largest stand of ponderosa pines exist. I have lived here for 30 years am an avid gardener, growing tomatoes, onions, garlic, radishes, green beans, lettuce, spinach, squash, basil, sugar peas and many clematis vines. Growing a garden here can be downright frustrating. We have an abundance of rocks, wind, extreme dryness, pesky critters, cold nights, intense sun and a short growing season to boot, approximately 103 days.

    Micro climates do exist while Flagstaff’s USDA zone overall is 5, there is considerable variation. The coldest areas are north of town, while the warmest areas are in east Flagstaff which is called the “inversion zone” where the growing season is a full two months longer. I am located south of town which is actually 5 degrees cooler. The weather can be rather unpredictable. June is generally our hot dry month although I have seen a slight dusting of snow the 2nd week in June. Generally June 13th is our average date of last frost and the beginning of the growing season. July 4th is our average date for the beginning of the monsoon season and September 21st can be the official end of growing season with 50% chance of frost. But then again, last year we had no snow to speak of, and 5 years ago we received 5 ft in 3 days. So…wait 5 minutes… the weather might change here. The coldest I have ever experienced here is about -12 to -15 below.

    Generally we have very poor soil all over Flagstaff. If you live in one area, you are blessed with clay, in another area you learn to love cinders due to our volcanic area. I have incorporated alot of cow manure and chicken manure building the soil and composting as well. That’s the only way I can grow a garden here. I roam the forests collecting cow manure and utilize my chicken manure.

    I would now like to venture into growing Blackberries that would be well suited to my climate- environment and am really not sure which variety I should go with due to our short growing season. I’m interested in the erect type blackberry plants that grow upright and tend to stand on their own without needing any additional support.

    Which varieties do you think are pretty cold hardy and would thrive here?

    Your expertise in this area would be greatly appreciated as I want to plant the proper-correct variety for my climate and area.

    Thank You!

    • Jeff / Mar 5 2015

      Hi Melody,

      To be honest, I am not an expert at growing blackberries in colder climates, but since you are in zone 5, your choices are more limited. I would try ‘Chester’, which is a thornless, erect variety. You might also try ‘Illini Hardy’, which is a thorny, erect variety.

      Good luck!


  42. Janice / Feb 27 2015

    Hi Jeff,

    We can’t find the Rosborough or Brazos varieties to buy, from anywhere.

    Where can we purchase these two varieties of blackberries?
    We live in a small town in southeast Arizona. We go to Tucson frequently. Phoenix is a little too far.

    Thank you! Your help is greatly appreciated.
    P.S. Can we buy some cuttings from you? 😀

    • Jeff / Mar 5 2015

      Hi Janice,

      I sell Rosborough blackberry plants through my nursery business, Jeff’s Nursery. If you want, please send an e-mail to and I would be happy to work out something.



  43. Eugene Hawkins / Mar 3 2015

    We can’t find Rosborough plants in Tucson
    Any suggestion

    • Jeff / Mar 5 2015

      Hi Eugene,

      I sell Rosborough blackberry plants through my nursery business, Jeff’s Nursery. If you want, please send an e-mail to and I would be happy to work out something.



  44. Jay Lark / Mar 30 2015

    Live in Prescott, altitude is about 5,240 feet. We usually do not break 100 degrees.

    My question is choosing a planting location for 3 raspberries and 1 boysenberry

    My choices:

    1. east facing wall, full sun til noon.

    2. In between some aspen trees,1 each to the south, east and west, making a 10′ by 10′ area; can thin for more light

    3. just out in the open full sun

    May and June are the only hot months, 4th of July monsoon breaks the heat

    • Jeff / Apr 3 2015

      Hi Jay,

      The best choice would be #1, which would provide morning sun and afternoon shade. Even though you are farther north at a higher elevation, the summers can still get pretty hot.

      You could also do #2 if you can thin the trees for more light. The filtered sunlight would work well.

      I would avoid #3 unless you are using heat tolerant varieties.

      – Jeff

  45. Teresa / Apr 25 2015

    When I was a little girl our neighbor had two boysenberry trees and they were the best tasting berries! I would love to know where I can buy a boysenberry plant

    • Jeff / May 5 2015

      Hi Teresa,
      I actually saw some boysenberry plants at Lowe’s last week in south Gilbert. Hopefully your local store also carries them. Otherwise, I will get another batch of plants going next spring and will sell them.

  46. Sara / Apr 29 2015

    Hi there!

    I was wondering if you could tell me what kind of sun exposure boysenberries prefer. I was thinking about putting them on my west facing wall in the backyard (so they’ll get lots of afternoon sun) or do they need to go on the north or south side of my yard/house? Just trying to figure out the best possible place for them before we put them in the ground. we also need to take our septic into account. I’ve been searching to find out how deep their root systems go and how invasive they are, but can’t find much on that. Do you get many runners/suckers popping up in places?? Thanks a bunch!!

    • Jeff / May 5 2015

      Hi Sara,
      Boysenberries do need a good amount of shade. The best place would be a spot that gets morning sun and afternoon shade. This is especially important during the hot summer months, when the afternoon sun will cause damage to the plant. The root systems are shallow and will only go about 1 foot deep. The roots tend to grow horizontally below the soil line. That being said, given the right conditions (plenty of water and good soil), the plants will eventually spread out. So keep that mind when choosing a spot.
      – Jeff

  47. Liz / May 4 2015

    Hi Jeff,
    Just found this site after seeing blackberry bushes with berries on them for sale at Treeland and thinking they might do well on the Northeast side of our house. Sounds like this might work if I can fix up our drip system.
    We live in NW Chandler area. How far is that from your nursery?
    Thanks for this site full of great information.

    • Jeff / May 5 2015

      Hi Liz,
      Hopefully Treeland carries the right variety, as that’s important. Most blackberries will not do well here. The next thing to consider is location. Ideally, you should plant them where they get morning sun and shade in the afternoon. I still have some ‘Rosborough’ blackberry plants in 1 gallon pots and I am located in south Gilbert. Feel free to send me an e-mail at if you’re interested and we can work out the details.
      – Jeff

  48. Crysty / May 6 2015

    Hi Jeff,
    I bought a chester thornless blackberry from home depot and planted it in March in my full sun garden bed. It looks totally dead 🙁
    I’d like to try again. Maybe buy some of the variety you sell in the fall?
    Right now I only have a full afternoon sun garden bed. Would a blackberry bush do okay in a pot that I could move to a better location?
    When do you recommend a replant?

    • Jeff / May 11 2015

      Hi Crysty,
      I haven’t tried ‘Chester’, but it appears to be a variety that requires more chilling hours (temperatures below 45F), so that wouldn’t do well in our mild winter climate. The ‘Rosborough’ variety works really well here and I’ve grown it for the past 7 years. The best place to plant them is a spot that gets morning sun and afternoon shade. You could grow them in a pot, but it needs to be a large planter at least 24″ wide due to the amount of space the roots need.
      I would wait until the weather cools down in the fall before planting, so September/October.
      – Jeff

  49. Sheri / Jul 28 2015

    Hi Jeff! Thank you so very much for all your wonderful information! I have my first year blackberries (apache) in ten gallon plastic tubs…I put in plenty of organic soil and mulch…the canes have gotten about four feet this year, a few flowers but no fruit…do you think the root system will survive the tubs??? I saw other’s online doing this and it produce beautiful fruitful plants…also is there a “best” location to plant them ? I.e. north, south, east or west side of yard…thanks again! I am in Scottsdale..

  50. Dave / Feb 10 2016

    Hi Jeff, I would like to ask several questions that you have already answered. I simply refuse to read what has already been posted even though I went thru the trouble to search. Then, I would like to ask you very specific questions about my individual micro climate and my yard, even though you have never even seen my yard, nor do you profess to know about my microclimate. Then, would like to ask you where I can buy these plants, even though you have stated repeatedly that you sell these plants on your website. Finally, I would like to tell you about my garden, ad nauseum, and add some personal anecdotes even though they have nothing to do with this site, my specific questions, nor are even closely related to gardening.

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