How to germinate raspberry seeds

Updated February 21, 2017

Visualise picking and biting into a juicy, plump sweet or tart raspberry -- delicious. Originating in eastern Asia, raspberries come in purple, red, black, orange, white or yellow with deep red raspberries the most common in the U.S. Growing raspberries takes careful planning and care, since raspberries are highly susceptible to disease. When germinating raspberry seeds, start with red raspberries, the strongest variety. The next strongest would be the purple, and then the black raspberries. Once you know how to germinate raspberry seeds and care for your raspberry bed, you can harvest raspberries for 10 to 20 years.

Use milled sphagnum moss as an ideal medium to germinate your raspberry seeds in, mainly because of the acidity of this plant. Found usually in wet, swampy areas, sphagnum moss absorbs water similar to a sponge through small tubes. Using sphagnum moss eliminates pests and weeds. Use peat moss or perlite as alternatives to sphagnum moss to germinate raspberry seeds.

Choose clean, low-cost containers to germinate raspberry seeds, which can be freely drained, containers you may have around the house now. For instance, choose old butter tubs or used milk cartons cut in half as containers.

Fill your selected container with the growing medium you chose, leaving a 1/2 inch space at the top.

Plant your raspberry seeds just beneath the soil's surface 1/4 to 1/2 inch apart in rows 2 inches apart. Planting the seeds deeper into the soil can cause disease, such as fungus, which will kill your raspberry seedlings.

Water planted raspberry seeds by subirrigation, which means watering beneath the soil's surface. Place the raspberry seed container in a shallow container of water, so water enters only through the drainage holes.

Remove the raspberry container from the water container as soon as you see the surface become moist and let the container drain water freely.

Cover your raspberry container using a clear plastic bag. You may also place a clear piece of glass on your container.

Place your raspberry container in direct sunlight. If your exposure has only indirect sunlight, the seedlings can be leggy and weak. Put standard fluorescent lighting 6 to 8 inches over the raspberry container surface and place heating cables beneath the container set to 22.2 degrees Celsius for fast germination and healthy seedlings.

Remove the plastic bag or piece of glass from the top of your raspberry container as soon as you see that almost all of the seeds has germinated into seedlings. This allows air to circulate freely among the raspberry seedlings.

Transplant your raspberry seedlings after the second set of leaves have opened, called the true leaves.


Order your raspberry seeds from a reputable garden supply centre or nursery and ensure you request the virus-indexed, disease-free stock.

Things You'll Need

  • Milled sphagnum moss
  • Peat moss (optional)
  • Perlite (optional)
  • Clean containers
  • Raspberry seeds
  • Shallow container
  • Water
  • Clear plastic bag
  • Clear piece of glass (optional)
  • Standard fluorescent light (optional)
  • Heating cables (optional)
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About the Author

Chyrene Pendleton has been a business owner and newsletter editor for more than seven years. She is a freelance writer with over 25 years experience and teaches a variety of topics, including alternative health, hair care and metaphysics. Pendleton is a certified television show producer, radio talk-show host and producer, and a computer programmer with a bachelor's degree in computer science.