Wednesday, July 01, 2015

Plant Profile: Rubus odoratus - Flowering Raspberry

Choices for mass plantings can be daunting. However, if you need drought tolerant, disease resistant, full and easy to maintain shrubs; choose Rubus odoratus.

 Having learned about this plant in school, I had my doubts.

It had been given a bad rap for being aggressive in my learning years.

However, in the right spot - it shines. Large pink flowers which fade in coloration as they unfurl. Fuzzy flower buds which look so interesting, cover the entire plant. This shrub flowers from mid June to August. Their fruit are considered to be edible, but not palatable as its raspberry cousins.

Thornless stems and palmated, maple like leaves are tough as nails. Never have disease and cover large areas - keeping weeds at bay.

The plant is so versatile in various light conditions. I have had good success with both full shade and full sunny locations.

One trick. DO NOT prune back hard in the spring. Wait until the plant responds by showing bud break and growth in late spring. Only cut out dead wood. Do not shape or do not manipulate. Leave it be.

If you prune it back too hard it will begin to naturalize and run.

Here you can see a baby plant emerging close by:

This came from a running root. In this case, I left it to fill in a gap.  Like other rubus plants, they have running roots that can spread. If it does spread, it's easy enough to remove and control in spring.

Bees love their simple, open flowers.

I am convinced now of its benefits. Great choice in a sprawling area which needs coverage.


  1. Heidi Ho!!
    We planted Flowering Raspberry plants/shrubs last year, having purchased them at a Native Plant Garden Centre. This year with the rain and sun we've had here in SouthWestern Ontario, it has grown and flourished as have the rest of many of the natives we've planted! There aren't as many flowers present but the leaves are magnificent. I try to keep up with the dead heading underneath and keeping it aerated...watering abundantly ..establishing as with most of our plants for the next couple of years... Haaa...we've planted other natives in front and in between... How do I share my pictures of them with you?
    I was googling to find out if one can keep it pruned at a certain height/width but then I read your advice on pruning Do's and Don'ts for Rubus odoratus...

    1. Hi Petunia Girl! Rubus odoratus likes to be left to it's own devices. Too rich a soil, and they will just produce copious amounts of foliage and less flowers, because it is not stressed to initiate flowering. I suggest, you remove only growth that you feel is straggly, unkempt and overcrowding as you suggested. Then leave it be. Let it dry out. Let it struggle a bit in the heat. You may see some leaves scorch or become stressed, but that may initiate flowering for next season. Don't dig around the plant's roots, or you will get suckers where you tap roots. Next spring, tip it back to a height that you prefer, but don't take more than 1/4 of the growth back, or it will sucker and travel to regenerate the growth it lost. This blog does not allow me to upload private images, but you can reach me through my Instagram or Facebook accounts (tabs on top-right widget panel of my blog). Cheers.

  2. Thank you! This has been the most helpful of all the info I've come across on this plant. As a side note, my kids and I love picking the berries and eating them right of the vine. They are quite tasty, even if they're a bit different than the standard raspberry. I came here to try and figure out how to encourage the ones we have. Thanks for your help!

  3. Hi! Do I need a male/female mix in order to produce fruit? I had one plant for the past 2 years... abundant amounts of gorgeous flower but no fruit.
    I would love to have it produces fruit as I've picked them in wilderness and were so sweet and flavorful.


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