Who doesn’t love berries? They’re luscious, plump, juicy, and lower carb than many other fruits — and when you grow them yourself, you can avoid the spendy experience of buying organic fruit at the grocery store.
The problem for many gardeners is that lots of berry plants are also spiny, thorny, and prickly — definitely not the most friendly of plants work with. But what if you could grow thornless berries? You can. All the delicious taste with none of the skin-gouging maintenance.
Here’s a rundown of the most popular thornless berries for the home gardener.
Thornless Berry Varieties:
Try Bushel and Berry™ Raspberry Shortcake™. Light red berries with a sweet hint-of-vanilla taste that melts in your mouth — all on a naturally mounding plant with sturdy, thornless canes (great for containers, by the way). These self-pollinating raspberries enjoy full sun, and grow to 2-3’ tall and wide with a late June – early July harvest. USDA Hardiness Zones 5-9.
Other thornless raspberries: Encore, Joan Jane Primocane Red
Consider Apache Thornless with its large, glossy black fruit and upright, no-stick growth. It grows up to 5-8’ tall and 3-4’ wide in full sun and well-drained, slightly acidic soil. Harvest the juicy berries in mid – late June — just in time for summer pie season. USDA Hardiness Zones 5-9.
Other thornless blackberries: Black Satin, Chester, Natchez, Triple Crown
If you’ve never heard of loganberries, then boysenberries have probably escaped your attention, too. Boysenberries are a cross between blackberries, raspberries, and loganberries. While they look very similar to blackberries, they are larger and more rounded in shape, while blackberries are smaller, blacker, sweeter, and cone-shaped. So, that all being said, what’s a good thornless boysenberry to try? Well, a plant literally called “thornless boysenberry” – a 5-6’ tall and wide variety that demands full sun, regular water, and well-drained soil. Berries ripen in mid-summer. USDA Hardiness Zones 5-9.
Other thornless boysenberries: Captivator
Captivator is a great thornless gooseberry to try (and not to be confused with the boysenberry ‘Captivator’ above). And, to be precise, Captivator is described as “mostly thornless,” but we’ll take that. Clusters of sweet pinkish-red, teardrop-shaped berries grow on nearly thornless canes — but harvest them consistently, because their fruit tends to drop off the cane when it’s ripe. Give it full sun and well-drained soil. USDA Hardiness Zones 3-8.
Naturally Thornless Berries
You know how when you’re at the grocery store, and you see a food with a label that says “Gluten-Free!” and you think to yourself, “That’s dumb — all bananas are gluten-free.” Yes, that. The same is true for berries. There are some berry plants that are naturally thornless, so putting a label on them as “thornless” is somewhat misleading.
Here’s a list of naturally thornless berries to add to your garden (oh, and they are gluten-free as well):
- Loganberries (Although, curiously, there actually is an edible plant called “thornless loganberry” even though all loganberries are said to be thornless. Go figure.)
Growing Tip: Many berry varieties appreciate a little extra food to keep producing — Organic Plus Fruit Tree Fertilizer is a slow release fertilizer, ensuring your berry plants get what they need all season long.