The Ultimate Guide to Growing Boysenberries

Boysenberries are a hybrid of European blackberries, European raspberries, American dewberries and loganberries and they look like a plumped version of a blackberry. They are high in Vitamin C, folate, and manganese, and rich in fibre and Ellagic Acid, a compound that is anti-carcinogen, anti-viral and anti-bacterial.

Boysenberries are perfect for desserts, jams and preserves. Their taste is a mix of both raspberry and blackberry, they are plump and juicy.

You probably won’t find boysenberries at the supermarkets, because they are fragile berries that cannot be handled carefully and start to decay within a few days of being harvested. Boysenberries are abundant during the warmer months, especially in summer.

They are best eaten fresh and as soon as they are harvested but they can last up to a week in the fridge. Otherwise, you can consider freezing them to use them later for cooking or baking.

Are boysenberries easy to grow?

Boysenberries grow best in a full-sun position with well-draining soil that has a PH between 5.8 and 6.5. Do not plant near eggplants, tomatoes or potatoes or where they have been grown, as they may have left the soil-borne verticillium wilt behind.

You will need to keep the plants evenly moist, but not wet. It is best to water at the base of the plant rather than overhead to prevent leaf disease and fruit rot.

Feed boysenberries with a 20-20-20 application of fertilizer in the early spring as new growth appears, or mix in some well-rotted manure or compost. Fish meals and blood meals are also excellent nutrient sources.

Boysenberry is an easy-to-care-for plant, it is drought and cold-resistant. Although they are fairly low maintenance, pests can still be a problem.

Boysenberry pests

The same bugs that eat raspberries, can also be found eating boysenberries. That means you should watch out for cane borers. Raspberry bud moths can damage canes, flowers, and foliage.

Leafrollers and bronze beetles may do damage to the plant’s foliage. Mites suck the nutrient-rich juices from the plant and grass grub larvae gnaw at its root system. Aphids may choose to reside on a boysenberry plant and, just like mites, suck the juices from it, causing the leaves to curl. Other common bugs include redberry mites, thrips, and whiteflies.

Apart from insects, you should look out for birds. Birds love boysenberries and will try to eat them as soon as they are ripe.

You can read about other common boysenberry problems and what to do about them in this article.

What are the best companion plants for boysenberries?

Tansy, marigolds and alliums (leek, garlic, onions) are good companion plants for boysenberries. Any members of the allium family are good to repel mites and grubs for their distinctive smell.

Some herbs such as thyme, rosemary, oregano, sage and marjoram are great companions for boysenberry plants as well.

How tall should a boysenberry trellis be?

As boysenberries plant mature, they need support. They are trailing vines so it is advisable to construct some sort of trellising for support. On a well-established boysenberry bush, the vines can measure up to seven metres in length.

A trellis about 1.5 to 2 metres high and 1 to 1.5 metres wide should be perfect to give support as the boysenberry plant grows.

Do boysenberries need to be pruned?

Yes, about a month after the harvest season, you should cut the old vines out and put the new vines up on the trellis. Prune the old vines, they have a faded greenish-brown colour and usually grow in leaves of three with a berry stem at the end.

Keep the new vines, also called “primocanes”, that are red at the base and full of lush green leaves that grow in leaflets of 5 to seven.

Are boysenberry plants invasive?

Boysenberries can spread quickly and easily if given a chance. As mentioned before, the vines can grow up to 7 metres in length. To prevent a boysenberry invasion, you should regularly prune the plant and set up a trellis to support it as the bush matures.

Boysenberry is a great plant to grow at home that will produce lots of juicy, nutrient-rich fruit that is perfectly eaten fresh and also great for baking and cooking.