Blackberries (Rubus canadensis) are amazing to eat fresh from the bush or is you have a large supply homemade blackberry jam is a must. In Western Australian bush land in the South West it is not uncommon to find blackberries growing along creeks and coastal planes. What you might be surprised to know is that are declared pests in Western Australia. Blackberries were originally introduced from northern Africa and Europe as a source of fruit or as an ornamental plant in Western Australia. They’re quite vigorous growers, and need ample space and ideally a trellis to grow.
Blackberries grow exceptionally well in the South West and produce terrific tasting, high-quality fruit. If you have ever wondered how to grow blackberries in Western Australia then look no further. A relatively easy berry to grow there are a few tricks to successfully growing blackberries in Western Australia, but get these right and you will be laughing.
When to plant blackberries in Perth:
Winter is a good time to think about planting blackberries. Plant blackberries June through September in a location which has full sun to part shade ensuring you have space to grow.
Types of blackberries in Western Australia:
It can be tricky to find blackberries for sale in your local nursery so you might not be able to be overly fussy when it comes to the variety. However, here is a list blackberry varieties;
- Rubus thornless blackberry – Richly flavoured fruit from mid to late summer. Prefers slightly acidic, compost rich soil, full sun to semi shade.
- Loch Ness blackberry – British-bred blackberry ‘Loch Ness’ produces firm, glossy-black, conical fruits on short, upright, thornless canes. This heavy cropper is capable of producing up to 3.6kg of fruit per blackberry bush that can be harvested from mid-February until the first frosts.
- Murrindindi blackberry – Australian bred fine-tasting, semi-erect thornless blackberry.
- Waldo blackberry – Thornless variety with a compact form. Has large intensely black berries of exceptional flavour.
- Chester Blackberry – Chester is an early, fine tasting, semi-erect thornless blackberry. Large, sweet, high quality berries with good flavour.
- Ranui blackberry – A New Zealand hybrid berry with large sweet and juicy fruit, has thorns.
How to grow blackberries in Perth, WA:
The first thing to do before planting blackberries is to clear away weeds because their competition will really slow the growth of the blackberries. Blackberries also tend to take over other plants as they spread so it’s important to keep this in mind when selection a location to plant blackberries at home.
- Improve the soil prior to planting blackberries by mixing in some soil Improver and plant fertiliser. Good soil health and structure helps the soil hold onto moisture and nutrients; and improves plant health and berry growth.
- Set out the dormant canes 1.5m apart, in rows 2m apart if you are planting a few plants.
- Canes can be tied together loosely with twine. If using a trellis or a structure for blackberries to grow on, make sure this is in place at planting time.
- After planting blackberries, water them in well. Keep soil moist and water as required.
- Blackberries continue to bear for many years. Pick fruit when ripe and well coloured.
- Feed with citrus plant food in early spring and late summer.
- During flowering and fruiting season feed with a strawberry and berry liquid plant food weekly.
When to harvest blackberries:
Blackberries are typically ready to harvest in summer between December through March depending on the variety and which part of Western Australia you live.
Storing blackberries at home:
Blackberries should be kept in some kind of vented container – either keep a berry container from a supermarket purchase of blueberry or blackberries, or if you are going to use ongoing I recommend investing in a reusable container like the Rubbermaid Fresh Works Produce Savers (my favourite). Venting is important for air flow – blackberries produce ethylene, a plant hormone that tells fruits and vegetables to ripen. If blackberries are in a completely sealed container, they will go bad faster. If the container is vented on the other hand, the ethylene gas can escape and your berries will stay fresh for close to a week.
Blackberries care and common problems:
There are few problems in the Perth area, but scale insects on the stems may need to be controlled. Black spots on the leaves may be controlled with mancozeb.
Blackberries should be planted in rows running north to south so the canes receive ideal sunshine. Cover the blackberry bush with shade-cloth to protect the fruit from the sun.
Check out our other how to grow in Perth guides: