Despite their popularity, raspberries are one of the hardest commercially grown fruits to find in the grocery store because once they are picked, they are quick to perish. Raspberry canes generally are planted during the winter when they are dormant. In summertime, a first-year plant blooms flowers and by the second summer, clusters of red, ripe berries are ready for harvesting. The second-year canes die after the raspberries are harvested, however, the plant is easily propagated by cuttings that root into new plants.
Propagation is done during the raspberry plants' active growing period, except for root cuttings, which are taken during the its dormancy. During the second year, the mother plant begins to sprout suckers, which can be cut off to create new raspberry plants. Raspberry plants can be propagated with softwood cuttings, which are planted in a growing medium to sprout new roots.
During the raspberry plant's second year it will start to grow offshoots, or suckers, near its roots. Remove the suckers using a sharp, clean blade. Don't plant the suckers immediately because they are quite moist and need a few days to dry out to avoid root rot. After that occurs, plant suckers directly into the garden in a location that is desirable for growing raspberries. Water sufficiently until roots have grown, and then water only 1 to 2 inches per week. Gently tug the plant after a few weeks and if the plant is lodged, it has rooted.
Softwood cuttings are taken from new growth during the early summer months. Choose a stem that is free of pests and diseases and use a sharp, clean blade to take a 4- to 6-inch cutting. Starting from the bottom, remove all of the leaves a third of the way up. You can dip the end of the cutting in rooting hormone to speed up the rooting process, but this is optional. Plant the raspberry cutting inside a well-drained, sterile growing medium. Keep the cutting in filtered light and mist regularly so the leaves stay moist. Once the raspberry cutting has rooted, harden it off by decreasing the mistings. Place it outdoors in a shady area for several weeks before transplanting it to the garden.
Root cuttings are taken when the raspberry plant is dormant. Dig up the plant and remove all of the thickest roots by making a cut near the root crown. Cut the bottom of each root at a slant so that each root is between 5 and 6 inches long. Gently tie the roots into a bundle and store them in moist sawdust, peat or sand at 4.44 degrees Celsius until they are ready to plant. Plant the root cuttings in the early spring after the danger of frost has passed. Space the cuttings about 2 or 3 inches apart and bury them so that the top of the root is buried 2 or 3 inches under the soil.
- "Master Gardener Handbook"; University of Florida IFAS Extension; 2008-2009
- "Making More Plants: The Science, Art, and Joy of Propagation"; Ken Druse; 2000
- North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service; Plant Propagation by Leaf, Cane, and Root Cuttings: Instructions for the Home Gardener; Erv Evans and Frank A. Blazich; 1999
- Purdue University Consumer Horticulture; Prune, Propagate Raspberries For Tidy Garden, Better Crop; B. Rosie Lerner; 2006