Growing Boysenberry Plants: How to Harvest an Abundance of Juicy, Large Purple Berries


Boysenberries are a type of large, purple berry that can be harvested during the summer months. They are a cross between blackberries, raspberries, and loganberries, resulting in a unique and flavorful fruit. Boysenberry plants are known for their vigorous growth and canes that can reach up to 30 feet in length. They have thorny canes and hairy leaves, making them both beautiful and slightly challenging to manage in the garden.

Gardeners find boysenberry plants to be helpful in a variety of ways. They not only produce an abundance of fruit but also help to attract beneficial insects to the garden. Boysenberries are resistant to many pests and diseases, including rusts and certain moth species, making them a popular choice for organic gardeners.

When it comes to growing boysenberries, the options are endless. They can be planted in the ground or in containers, and they can be trained to grow on trellises or left to sprawl as a bush. Moist, well-draining soil is essential for the plants to thrive, and they prefer full sun for at least six hours a day. Boysenberries also benefit from regular fertilizing and pruning to keep them healthy and in check.

The harvesting season for boysenberries typically begins in July and can last for several weeks. The berries are best picked when they are fully ripe, as they will not continue to ripen off the vine. Boysenberry plants can produce gallons of fruit when managed properly, leaving gardeners with plenty to enjoy fresh, freeze for later use, or turn into delicious jams and pies.

Boysenberries are not only tasty but also packed with nutrients. They are rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, including anthocyanins, which give the berries their deep purple color. Anthocyanins are known for their anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties, making boysenberries a healthy addition to any diet.

Whether you are a seasoned gardener or just starting out, boysenberry plants are an excellent choice for your garden. Their big, juicy berries and easy-to-grow nature guarantee a bountiful harvest year after year. So why not give boysenberries a try and enjoy the amusement of growing your own delicious fruit?

For helpful tips and guidance on growing boysenberries, check out our updated Boysenberry Gardener’s Guide. It provides everything you need to know about managing these woody plants, from planting and fertilizing to pruning and pest control. Whatever your gardening skills or experience level, the guide will help you navigate the seasons with success and have you enjoying the taste of boysenberries in no time.

How to Grow and Care for Boysenberry Bushes

Boysenberry bushes are a delightful addition to any garden or yard. These woody plants are known for their big, juicy berries and are relatively easy to grow. Whether you’re a seasoned gardener or just starting out, here are some tips on how to grow and care for boysenberry bushes.

Choosing the Right Location

Boysenberry bushes prefer full sun and well-drained soil. It’s important to choose a location that gets at least 6 hours of direct sunlight each day. The soil should also be well-drained to prevent the roots from becoming waterlogged. Avoid planting the bushes in low-lying areas that are prone to flooding.

Planting Boysenberry Bushes

The best time to plant boysenberry bushes is in late winter or early spring, before the last frost date in your zone. The plants should be spaced around 6 feet apart to allow room for growth. Boysenberry bushes can also be grown in containers, which is great for growers with limited space.

Caring for Boysenberry Bushes

  • Water the bushes regularly, especially during hot, dry summers. Keep the soil moist but not waterlogged.
  • Apply a layer of mulch around the base of the plants to help retain moisture and suppress weed growth.
  • Prune the canes in late winter or early spring to remove any dead or damaged wood. This will help promote new growth and improve airflow through the plant.
  • Protect the bushes from frost by covering them with a breathable fabric or straw during cold winter nights.
  • Watch out for pests and diseases, such as aphids, spider mites, and powdery mildew. If a problem is detected, apply appropriate pest control methods or consult a local nursery for guidance.

Harvesting Boysenberries

Boysenberries are ready to be harvested when they are a deep purple color and easily pull away from the plant. Be careful when picking berries, as the canes can be thorny and the berries are quite delicate.

Preserving Boysenberries

If you have an abundance of boysenberries, you can preserve them by freezing or canning. To freeze, place the berries in a single layer on a baking sheet and freeze until solid. Once frozen, transfer the berries to a freezer-safe bag or container. To can, follow a trusted recipe or consult a reliable source for instructions on how to properly preserve boysenberries.

With proper care and maintenance, your boysenberry bushes will provide you with delicious and refreshing berries for years to come. Remember to enjoy the fruits of your labor, whether you eat them fresh, make pies and jams, or use them in dishes like boysenberry crème brûlée. Happy growing!

Source: ProPlantTips

What You’ll Learn

In this article, you will learn about boysenberry plants and the bountiful big purple berries they produce. You’ll learn about the canes of the boysenberry plant and how to prune them properly. Just as their name suggests, boysenberries are known for their big and purple berries which are sweet-tart in flavor. You’ll also learn about the propagation of boysenberries and how to plant them in your garden.

Because boysenberries are a type of blackberry-raspberry hybrid, they have some unique characteristics. You’ll discover why boysenberry plants are particularly tolerant of cold winters and are resistant to wilt and root rot. Gardeners will find it especially beneficial to learn about the different cultivar sizes of boysenberries and how they can be grown within their garden.

Another topic you’ll learn about is the fragility of boysenberry plants. Their spreading growth habit and thorny canes can make them a challenge to manage in the garden. However, we will provide you with tips on how to effectively prune and care for boysenberry plants to ensure their health and longevity.

In addition to basic care information, you’ll also learn about the variety of uses for boysenberries. From fresh off the vine to delicious recipes, boysenberries can be enjoyed in many ways. We’ll share some mouth-watering boysenberry recipes, as well as information on how to make boysenberry sprays to combat pests like thuringiensis.

Lastly, you’ll learn about the history of boysenberries and their connection to Walter Knott’s farm. We’ll explore the story behind the boysenberry’s origins and how it became an iconic berry in California. You may have heard of the amusement park Knott’s Berry Farm, and we’ll answer some common questions about the park and its boysenberry-themed attractions. With all this information, you’ll become a boysenberry expert and have the knowledge to grow and enjoy this flavorful berry in your own backyard.

Cultivation and History

Boysenberry plants are relatively easy to grow and are known for their bountiful big purple berries. They are a hybrid berry that is a cross between a blackberry, red raspberry, and loganberry. Boysenberry plants are self-pollinating, which means that you only need one plant to produce fruit.

The boysenberry was first cultivated in the early 20th century by Rudolph Boysen in Anaheim, California. However, it was Luther Burbank who is credited with popularizing the boysenberry and making it commercially viable. Burbank created the boysenberry by crossing several different berries to create a larger, more luscious berry with an excellent flavor.

The boysenberry is a versatile fruit that can be consumed fresh or used in various culinary applications. It is typically harvested in the early summer months, with the peak season occurring in June and July. The berries are known for their sweet and tart flavor, making them perfect for pies, jams, jellies, and desserts like boysenberry brulee.

When planting boysenberry plants, it is important to choose a sunny location with well-drained soil. Boysenberries are best grown in USDA hardiness zones 5-9, although there are some varieties that are more cold-tolerant and can be grown in colder regions. The plants should be spaced about four feet apart to allow for proper air circulation and to prevent diseases.

Boysenberry plants require regular watering, especially during the fruiting season. It is important to water deeply and regularly to ensure that the soil stays evenly moist. Mulching around the base of the plants can help retain moisture and suppress weeds.

Boysenberry plants can be susceptible to various diseases and pests. It is important to monitor the plants for any signs of fungal infections or insect infestations. If necessary, you can use organic sprays or insecticides to control these issues. Insecticides containing Bacillus thuringiensis can be used to control caterpillars, while oil-based sprays can help control mites and aphids.

Harvesting boysenberries is a fun and rewarding experience. The berries are typically ready for picking when they are fully ripe and have turned a deep purple color. They should come off the bushes easily when gently pulled. Boysenberries can be eaten fresh, or they can be used for cooking and preserving.

Boysenberry plants can last for many years if cared for properly. Regular pruning is recommended to promote healthy growth and to prevent the bushes from becoming overcrowded. Prune any damaged or dead branches and thin out the canes to allow for better air circulation.

Boysenberry plants are excellent additions to any garden or orchard. Their wide range of culinary uses, along with their attractive foliage and flowers, make them a popular choice among gardeners. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced gardener, boysenberry plants are a great choice for a fruitful and rewarding gardening experience.

✿ Read More About Berries and Vine Fruits.

Dr Heidi Parkes

By Dr Heidi Parkes

Senior Information Extension Officer QLD Dept of Agriculture & Fisheries.