Backyard Berry Bush: The Best Berries for Your GardenOn August 7, 2021 by Vlad13 min read
Berries are an infinite source of vitamins, they’re delicious and can be used in a wide variety of recipes for jams, cakes, smoothies, you name it. They can also be quite pricey and growing your own will save you a pretty penny or can bring you some extra income. The type of berry bushes you can grow successfully depends on the USDA Hardiness Zone you live in, and we’ll make sure to mention great tips on how to grow these 20 types of berry bushes in your garden.
You can use this list to narrow down your favorite berries and plan their place within your garden. We used the same list to decide on what shrubs to add to our food forest.
Let’s kick off this list with the most delicious strawberries, which can be planted in any zone at different times of the year. It’s best to plant them in spring in zones 6 and up and in autumn from zone 7 down. One great thing about strawberries is that they are quite low maintenance and bear fruit even if you don’t pay a lot of attention to them. Of course, the more you care for your strawberry bushes, the more fruit you’ll get to harvest.
The most important facts to keep in mind is that strawberry bushes need full sun, slightly acidic soil, rich, organic compost and about 18 inches between each bush. Strawberries are great companions with asparagus, if you have space you should definitely give it a go. We planted our strawberries on the south-facing side of the orchard and at the base of our smaller trees.
A slug repellent will help your bushes produce more since the leaves of these delicious fruits are some of their favorite treats. But we found that once a strawberry bed is established, it will produce more fruits than the slugs can eat. To keep birds at bay, we just throw a bunch of red-painted stones on the ground before the fruits ripen. The birds will peck at those for a while then give up and don’t return for that season.
They are the easiest to grow in zones 3 to 10, and it’s best to do a bit of research on what types of raspberry bushes are the most suitable for your garden. You can plant them anytime throughout spring and summer, however, planting your bushes in early spring will help you grow healthier plants. Raspberry bushes can be planted in fall, in zones with mild winters.
The more sun they get the more fruit they bear. Your bushes might need support, depending on the type of berry bush you chose, but the amount of care they need strongly depends on the type. After the plants are established, most of your work will be put towards harvesting raspberries and pruning the plants back in the fall.
These berries packed with vitamins and antioxidants can be grown all over the US because there are different varieties for different types of climates. The only downside is that it will take a couple of years for your blueberry bushes to bear fruit because they grow very slowly. They need well-drained acidic soil to thrive, as well as plenty of organic fertilizer. Avoid planting them in the shade, because these berry bushes need as much sun as they can get.
It’s worth mentioning that cultivated blueberries usually have bigger fruits but less flavor compared to their native wild-growing counterpart. So if you know of any blueberry spots near where you live, they are well worth visiting in late summer.
They might have thorns, they might spread like crazy, but you can’t beat the taste of blackberries. You can choose a traditional variety of blackberry bush or a hybrid, which will self-fertilize. To choose the best variety from the many available in the US it’s best to do research on the best one for your back garden, but they can be planted in every zone. It’s best to plant them in early spring if you get cold winters, otherwise, they can be planted in autumn as well.
Blueberry bushes will regrow year after year, due to them being perennial plants. They grow wild, so if you have any wild varieties make sure to plant your berry bushes far enough to avoid them getting diseases. Use a good fertilizer and plenty of water, and some varieties will also need support.
Red currant bushes need more care as they are growing, but they’re quite self-sufficient at maturity. They grow in optimal conditions in zones 3 to 8, because they need cool soil temperatures when being planted in early spring. Find a spot that gets full sun or partial shade and make sure to water your red currant bushes thoroughly every week while they establish, but after the plants mature they won’t really need to be watered.
They need well-drained soil, organic fertilizer every spring, slightly acidic soil, and plenty of mulch to keep the roots cool.
Not everyone is familiar with loganberries, but they are a delicious crossbreed between raspberries and blackberries and need about the same care as blackberries. It’s best to plant them in early spring when the soil is still cool but not frozen. Multiple bushes have to be planted at least 6 ft apart since they are self-fertile and will multiply by themselves.
To keep them healthy, use organic fertilizer and mulch to keep the roots cool. Even though loganberry bushes can survive with minimal amounts of water, it’s best to water them regularly before bearing fruit.
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The ideal climate for huckleberries to thrive is in zones 7 to 9, and they need acidic soil with a pH of 4.3 to 5.2. The bushes will do well in full sun as well as in shade, so planting them in partial shade will help them bear more fruit. It’s best to seed them indoors and transplant them the following year in early spring.
After transplantation, they don’t need much care since they are quite self-sufficient. Avoid using pesticides and only use organic fertilizer and mulch.
Elderberries are a rich source of vitamins and antioxidants, and they’re often used as natural medicine, however, these berries must be cooked before being safely eaten! Often used as a nice touch in landscaping, they are fairly easy to maintain, given they are planted in fertile acidic or alkaline soil and pruned regularly. Elderberry shrubs love water but avoid getting the soil soggy. You can maintain moisture by using organic mulch around the roots.
They thrive in zones 3 to 8 and planting outside should be done in spring, right after the last frost. If you’re willing to sacrifice some of the fruit, you can pick the elderflowers while they’re in bloom and brew a delicious summer elderflower cordial. Needless to say, we rarely get any fruits on our plants, since we actually pick most flowers.
This hybrid berry variety grows best in zones 0 to 9 and it’s a mix between the European raspberry, European blackberry, American dewberry, and loganberry. You can’t really grow them from seed, so the best way to start is by getting your hands on some plants from a reputable nursery in your area. Transplant them a couple of weeks after the first frost if you live in a cooler climate. They need rich soil and plenty of water, as these types of berry bushes do not do well with drought.
Depending on the zone you’re planting them in, you will need a different type of mulch to keep the roots healthy. Use light-colored mulch in hot temperatures to keep the roots cool, or dark mulch in cooler areas to keep the roots at a warmer temperature.
These delicious fruits grow on trees, rather than bushes, so you will need patience before enjoying the first harvest. Plant your tree in spring, in partial shade, in rich soil and give it a boost with compost. Dwarf varieties exist, but a full-grown tree can reach up to 80 ft. The best place to plant them is in zones 5 to 9 and away from paved pathways or homes because the dark variety of mulberry will stain. Fertilize them every summer and prune the branches.
When your mulberry tree will start bearing fruit keep in mind that birds will be your worst enemies. You’ll want to harvest as soon as possible as the fruit will only be good for picking for about two weeks. Chickens and especially ducks, LOVE mulberries! They can help you clean up the mess under the tree if leave them to forage there for a while.
They’re quite sour, but their health benefits are infinite. If you enjoy growing berry bushes, you should definitely have cranberries as well, especially since they are quite low maintenance. They grow best in zones 4 to 7, in rich, moist and well-drained soil. And a good amount of sun. Cranberry bushes don’t like scorching heat and drought. They need a cooler environment and plenty of water.
The best time to plant them is right after the last frost together with a fertilizer rich in phosphorus. Use mulch around the bushes to keep the roots happy and cool. There are over 100 varieties of cranberries, so chose one that would thrive in your climate.
If you thought thimbleberries are not edible you’ll be pleased to know they in fact are edible and as delicious as they come. The bushes can grow up to 6 ft tall, and they are not high maintenance at all since they grow wild. Thimbleberry bushes grow best in zone 3, and they’re not very picky when it comes to soil, as long as the roots don’t stay soggy.
Plant them in the spring and make sure to leave at least 3 ft between them. Don’t use fertilizer, as it might harm them, but you can use organic compost. All you need to do is water them regularly if you don’t get much rain. Once harvested, the thimbleberries don’t last very long, so eat them fresh or get them ready for jam.
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These resemble raspberries, but they have a unique taste which makes them perfect for jams and pies. They grow wild as well, but those are a bit sourer than the ones you can grow in your garden. They must be planted at least 4 ft apart from each other and fertilizing them once a year will keep them happy enough. The dewberry bushes bear fruit up to 5 years after being planted, so if patience is not your strong point, these might not be the berry bushes for you.
Native to China, Goji berries can be successfully grown in the US in zones 3 to 10. They are considered to be a super fruit, but hard to find fresh on the shelves. Dried Goji and encapsulated supplements are easier to find, but planting them in your garden is not too difficult. However, it takes a few years for the bushes to bear fruit.
Goji berries need well-drained soil and a pH between 6.8 and 8.1. It’s best to plant your bushes early spring and cover the soil around the roots with mulch to preserve moisture. When they start bearing fruit you’ll be able to use them in many ways.
Aside from being beautiful while bearing fruit, the sea buckthorn (also known as seaberry) bushes are a great ingredient for many recipes. They grow best in zones 2 to 9. Plant them in areas with full sunlight and well-drained soil, 6-7 feet apart. One bush can bear up to 20lbs of fruit in optimal condition. The bushes will need pruning from time to time. Be warned though, they stink when cooked, but one great thing about them is that they’re great to make liqueur!
This berry hybrid usually gives a rich harvest and is easy to care for. They’re a cross between raspberries and blackberries with bigger fruits than its two “parents”. Tayberry bushes are not high maintenance but when planted you’ll need to leave at least 8 ft between them and a boost of fertilizer. They’ll need fertilizer every year after that. Because of the amount of fruits they can bear, it’s best to support the bushes to avoid them from collapsing.
Otricoli Orange Berries
Also known as “orange nightshade” they’re great to be eaten fresh, preserved, or in pies. This berry bush originates from Italy, and it takes quite a while for the bush to reach maturity and bear fruit. Otricoli berry bushes are quite resilient, and they tolerate most types of soil, but they prefer a slightly moist one. Plant them at least 3 ft apart in spring for best results.
Only eat these berries once they are fully ripe!
They might not look much like traditional berries, but they in fact are. They are mostly found in Southern America, and they are a bit higher maintenance. Plant them indoors and be ready for a very long germination time (3-4 months). Coming from a tropical climate, they are very sensitive to low temperatures. Plant them outside only when temperatures are high enough to not bother them during the night. Keep in mind that it takes about 8 months from germination to bearing fruit, so calculate the planting time accordingly.
Also known as honeyberry they originate from Russia which means they can be planted even in cooler regions, as they have quite a high cold tolerance. They are starting to become more popular, and you can grow them in your garden to satisfy your taste curiosity. You need at least two bushes for pollination that need to be planted at least 6 ft apart. Use organic compost and mulch, and water your bushes regularly. Watering and occasional pruning are the only care they really need, as they’re not too picky.
Another variety of berries originating from Europe with a high cold tolerance, jostaberries take about four years to bear fruit. They should be planted at the start or in the middle of spring, but don’t worry, because they’re frost-resistant. The only special care jostaberries need is to be given organic fertilizer and mulch to keep the soil moist. Birds love them, so around the time of fruit-bearing, you should consider using a bird net to protect your precious harvest.
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Hello and welcome!
We (Vlad & Greti) are building a home on a homestead in a rural area of Romania in Western Europe and sharing our story as two passionate gardeners who ditched the city for a simpler, better life.