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4 Ways of Propagating Blackberries

There are several ways in propagating blackberries from existing plants. Blackberries grow prolifically and are easy to propagate from seeds, cuttings, suckers, or tip layering. Let’s look at blackberry propagation using these four methods.

How to Grow Blackberries from Cuttings

Blackberry plants grow easily from stem cuttings. This method is great if you want to grow many new plants quickly, in one batch. The process is simple:

  1. Take cuttings from healthy, green, growth at the top of the plant. Cut them about five inches from the tip and make sure they have a few sets of leaves on them. Avoid taking cuttings from the hard, woody canes close to the base of the plant.
  2. Strip off any leaves on the bottom two-thirds of each cutting.
  3. Place the cuttings in a glass with water about two inches deep and leave the glass in a warm, sunny, protected spot. Change the water every two or three days.
  4. New roots will form, and, in about a month, the roots will be long enough to support the plant when it is planted into the soil.
  5. Alternatively, you can dip the cut ends of the cuttings in rooting hormone and then plant them directly into a rich, well-draining potting medium.    

Once your cuttings have rooted and started to produce new leaves, they can be moved into a more exposed area to harden off for two or three weeks. After hardening off, they can be planted out into the garden. Growing blackberries require full sun and rich, well-draining soil. 

How to Grow Blackberries from Suckers

Blackberries produce sucker plants, which are baby plants that grow from a root that has spread, horizontally, away from the mother plant. To grow from suckers, dig them up and check to see if they have properly formed roots. If they do, plant them out directly into the garden. If they do not, follow the steps above, as you would for a stem cutting.   

How to Grow Blackberries by Tip Layering

Tip layering involves taking a growing cane and pinning it down, with the tip of the cane free. Bury the pinned section of the cane in a thin layer (two to three inches) of soil and keep it moist. The part of the cane that is buried will develop roots and can then be cut off and planted (follow the same steps above, for root cuttings and suckers). Tip layering works best in late summer or early autumn, with the cane left buried through the winter and then cut and planted in the spring.   

How to Grow Blackberries from Seed

Blackberry seeds can be purchased from a nursery, or you can take seeds from freshly harvested berries.

Blackberry seeds need to be stratified in cold, damp conditions for three to five months. Place the seeds, wrapped in wet peat moss, in a plastic bag (Ziploc or sandwich bag) and store them in the fridge (ideally, between 33 and 35F). Once the seeds crack and start to open, they are ready to plant.

To plant the seeds, make a rich potting mixture with at least 40% compost and place it in a well-draining container. Dampen the potting mix then scatter the seeds over it. Spray it with a spray bottle and scatter a thin layer of the same potting mix over the seeds and respray it. Keep the soil moist, add more compost every four to six weeks, or so to keep the nutrient value high.

Once the seeds have sprouted and developed two or three sets of leaves, they can be planted into individual containers or out into the garden. Outdoors, it is best to plant newly rooted cuttings and seedlings in spring when it is warmer, and there is no chance of frost, but it is not yet as hot as summer. This gives them time to adjust to being out in the elements.

Check out this article on How to Grow Blackberries from Seed to Fruit

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