6 Types of Berries That Are Easy to Grow in Containers
Who says you need an estate (or even a backyard) to grow garden-fresh fruit? These six types of berries can flourish in pots or planter boxes all summer long.
Who doesn’t love a small-space edible garden? Plucking and eating fresh berries right off the plant makes for a convenient and healthy snack. Often planted in garden beds, berries are one of the best plants to grow in containers, as well—and some types of berries thrive in this environment.
Container planting has many benefits, particularly flexibility. Containers fit in areas with limited space, like balconies, and can be moved around to maximize a plant’s sunlight exposure, encouraging higher berry yield. Keeping plants in containers also ensures you have more control over the amount of fertilizer and water they receive.
Here’s a list of berries that grow easily in containers to help you get started on your tasty journey.
1. Raspberries (Rubus idaeus)
Raspberries were once tricky to grow successfully in containers because they’re prone to taking over spaces. As long as you choose the right variety, such as this compact red dwarf raspberry plant, you can grow wonderful raspberries in a large pot. Look for a plant with a dwarf stature (less than 4 feet) and thornless canes.
Though they can grow in poor soil, raspberries love sun and rich, warm soil, making them well-suited for container planting. They don’t require much watering or pruning, and they have few problems with disease and pests. For best results, cut out old canes after fruiting but before new spring growth, and let them go dormant through the winter.
2. Blueberries (Vaccinium corymbosum)
Blueberries are self-pollinating plants that don’t require much attention from you. They can thrive in pots, and they tend to live longer than other berries. If you want to make blueberries happiest, plant them in acidic soil with good drainage and in a location with good ventilation and plenty of sunlight—or move the containers as needed to get more sun. Blueberries can grow indoors, or even as houseplants if their needs are met. For watering, keep them moist, but don’t drown them, and you’ll be rewarded with beautiful flowers and berries.
Plant selection is key to success. Look for varieties with a mature height of 1 to 3 feet, like a dwarf brunswick blueberry.
3. Strawberries (Fragaria ananassa)
You’ve likely seen strawberries growing in several types of containers, from small windowsill pots to hanging baskets to large containers. An excellent feature of strawberries is that you won’t require a specific variety to have successful container planting—there’s no wrong choice! Note that some strawberries are perennial while others are annual; the Delizz strawberries being an example of the latter. What’s more, on some plants the fruit ripens all at once, while ever-bearing plants offer a few ripe berries each day throughout the summer.
Strawberries are some of the easiest plants for new gardeners. Keep your strawberries in warm soil and water them often because of their shallow roots. Trim them back after they finish fruiting, and add fertilizer or compost for extra nutrients.
4. Blackberries (Rubus fruticosus)
If you’re a fan of blackberries, you know how invasive they are in the wild. Modern varieties for container planting are thornless, disease-resistant, and grow very well with just a little help. Avoid planting wild blackberries in containers, and opt for something smaller that can be better controlled, like a self-pollinating Prime Jan blackberry bush.
All these plants really need is moist soil with good drainage, and for you to cut out old canes to encourage new growth. Blackberries like full sun exposure, too, but they do well with partial shade during the hottest part of the day. As they grow, add some stakes or a trellis they can climb, or tie them back.
5. Gooseberries (Ribes uva-crispa)
Gooseberry bushes come in plenty of types and colors, with flavors that vary between spring and fall. These plants grow berries in clusters, producing fruit in as little as two years. Gooseberries are an excellent starter crop for container planting as they require minimal maintenance. They’re also hardy and quite disease-resistant plants. Even small varieties grow between 4 and 6 feet tall, so always plant them in a large container.
In general, gooseberries prefer cooler climates and require some shelter from the wind, but varieties like Hinnomaki Red gooseberry can live in a container outside or indoors. They need at least 8 hours of sunlight each day and thrive in morning sun and afternoon rays that aren’t too harsh. Give them well-draining soil and water them frequently to keep them healthy.
6. Mulberries (Morus alba, M. rubra, M. nigra)
Mulberries grow very well in containers, though they tend to be thought of as large trees. Less common than other berries on this list, mulberries have a shorter shelf life, which makes finding a live dwarf everbearing mulberry rare at many stores.
These tasty fruits look like elongated blackberries, but they’re closely related to figs. Depending on the species, mulberries can be white, purple, dark red, or black. They need infrequent watering and do very well in full sun, though partial shade works, too. Choose a dwarf variety that self-pollinates and you’ll be set.
The only drawback to mulberries is that birds and other animals love them too, so you might want to grow them in a protected area or indoors in a window that gets lots of sun.