Grow Fruit to Perfection with These Zone Hardy Raspberry Varieties

raspberry growing guideThere’s nothing quite like Grandma’s homemade raspberry jam, and you can’t beat being able to pick plump, juicy berries right in your own backyard. The good news for raspberry lovers living in the North Country is that there are plenty of varieties that grow well here. The USDA currently has us in growing zone 5a, so we’ve compiled a list of 9 raspberry cultivars that can survive our unique climate. Raspberries are organized into two different categories, summer bearing and everbearing, so the first step is to decide which one makes sense for you, or if you want both types in your berry patch.

Summer bearing raspberries

This type of raspberry bears fruit only once per year, usually in July. These varieties grow well here since our growing zone is right in the middle of the acceptable range:  
  1. Boyne (zones 3-8) – Berries from this variety boast excellent flavor and are bright red, while the plants are cold hardy and disease resistant.
  1. Killarney (zones 4-7) – This cultivar is extremely cold tolerant, a sure benefit in our area, and is great for those gardeners eager for their first berry crop, since it bears fruit the first year after planting. These plants will impress you with pink flowers in the spring, instead of white like most other varieties.
  1. Royalty (zones 4-7) – With elegant purple berries, it’s easy to see how this variety got its name. Once the plants are established, you can expect a bountiful harvest and large berries.

 Everbearing raspberries

raspberry growing guideThis type of raspberry produces two harvests – one in the summer, typically in July, and one in the fall. Here are a few of our favorite zone-hardy picks:  
  1. Anne (zones 4-9) – These plants produce beautiful golden berries whose taste is slightly tropical. They are also cold hardy, heat tolerant, and disease resistant. Since they are self-pollinating, they are an excellent choice for gardeners with limited space for a berry patch.
  1. Fall Gold (zones 4-9) – Another variety with golden fruit, these are unique in that they have both sweet and tart berries. Plants are also cold tolerant all the way to -25°F!
  1. Heritage (zones 4-8) – This rapidly growing variety boasts fruit in the first year, producing mild tasting medium red berries.
  1. Jewel (zones 3-8) – These raspberries might surprise you – the berries start out red and turn black as they ripen. The fruit is sweet and has very few seeds, making this variety a top choice of gardeners who like to make preserves.
  1. Polka (zones 4-8) – Among the first varieties to ripen at the start of the season, these plants make for easier picking with fewer thorns and lots of berries.
  1. September (zones 4-8) – This variety produces sweet red or yellow berries, and is a gardener’s friend since it grows in less than ideal conditions, including a variety of soils, partial, or full sun.
Once you’ve picked the variety that’s right for you, talk to our garden center staff and get some tips about how to care for your new plants. Before long, you’ll be enjoying your own homemade pies, preserves, and other raspberry delights!