Savoring a mouthful of sweet, juicy raspberries is one of life's heady experiences. Several different species are found in Southern gardens. Red and yellow raspberries are derived from Rubus idaeus, native to North America, Europe, and Asia. Black raspberries are selections of R. occidentalis, a North American species. Purple raspberries are hybrids between red and black types. Gardeners in the Tropical South grow Mysore raspberry (R. niveus), which, unlike other species, needs no winter chill to flower and fruit. For species grown as ornamentals, see Rubus.
Raspberries grow from shallow perennial roots that produce thorny biennial stems called canes. The canes of summer-bearing types grow to full size in the first year, then bear fruit the following summer. Red and yellow raspberries known as everbearing (or fall-bearing) produce two crops on the same canesone in fall of the first year, the second in summer of the next year. In either case, the canes die after fruiting in the second year. New canes sprout to replace the old. Mysore raspberries bloom and fruit throughout the year, but the best crop comes from February to June.
Most raspberries generally have a high winter-chill requirement (more than 1,000 hours below 45F per year), a demand not often met in the South. Without sufficient chill, bloom and fruit are poor. In addition, most raspberries don't like high summer heat. Thus, the most dependable areas for growing raspberries are the Upper and Middle South (USDA 6-7). For exceptions, see Raspberries That Take the Heat, at left.
Red and yellow raspberries. Red selections are the most common; yellow types are mutations of red raspberries.
'Anne'. US, MS, LS; USDA 6-8. Everbearing. Large, sweet, yellow berries have unique flavor of apricots.
'Autumn Bliss'. Zones US, MS, LS; USDA 6-8. Everbearing. Very large red berries with fine flavor. Resists root rot.
'Dorman Red'. Zones US, MS, LS, CS; USDA 6-9. Summer- bearing. Large, firm, red fruit ripens late. Widely adapted selection with low winter-chill requirement. Vigorous, black- berrylike habit; must be trellised.
'Fallgold'. Everbearing. Large yellow fruit with good flavor. Very productive; very cold hardy.
'Goldie'. Everbearing. A sport of 'Heritage'. Produces deep yellow, high-quality fruit.
'Heritage'. Zones US, MS, LS; USDA 6-8. Everbearing. Firm, tasty red berries. Very popular selection.
'Indian Summer'. Everbearing. Small crops of large, tasty, red berries. Fall crop is often larger.
'Killarney'. Summer-bearing. Medium-size, firm red fruit with sweet-tart flavor. Good all-purpose raspberry that can be harvested over a long period. Vigorous, hardy.
'Kiwigold'. Everbearing. Yellow sport of 'Heritage' with excellent flavor. Vigorous and erect.
'Newburgh'. Summer-bearing. Large red berries. Late-ripening selection. Takes heavy soil fairly well.
'Polka'. Zones US, MS, LS; USDA 6-8. Everbearing. Very productive; nearly thornless. Excellent flavor. Heat tolerant.
'Redwing'. Zones US, MS, LS, CS; USDA 6-9. Everbearing. Larger, softer, and earlier than 'Heritage'. Heat tolerant.
'Reveille'. Summer-bearing. Very large, choice, bright red berries. Early. Vigorous, upright, and productive.
'Ruby'. Everbearing. Very large, mild-flavored red berries.
'Southland'. Everbearing. Medium-size, juicy, red fruit with excellent flavor. Early. Vigorous and hardy.
'Summit'. Everbearing. Large red berries with good flavor. Very productive. Resistant to root rot.
Black and purple raspberries. Black selections have blue-black fruit that is firmer and seedier than the fruit of red and yellow types, with a more pronounced flavor. Purple raspberries are crosses between black and red kinds.
'Allen'. Zones US, MS, LS; USDA 6-8. Large, glossy black fruit. Very sweet. Disease-resistant.
'Black Hawk'. Large, glossy, black berries. Sweet to mildly acid. Vigorous and productive.
'Brandywine'. Large purple berries. Tart flavor; good for jams and jellies. Ripens late.
'Cumberland'. Large black berries. Old, heavy-bearing selection.
'Jewel'. Large black berries. Vigorous, disease-resistant plant.
'Royalty'. Dusty purple, very large berries with excellent flavor. Vigorous and very productive.