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Markus Kobelt

Compact growing raspberries

Dwarf raspberries grow up to 100 cm high - and enable a completely new type of raspberry in the garden. Gone are the days when the man in the house (or the woman...) first had to build an awkward framework or when the family council had to meet in the garden to locate a new raspberry row. Compact growing raspberries make raspberry cultivation easier, more informal and possible almost everywhere.

The greatest progress can be seen in the cultivation of raspberries in pots and tubs: here, there is no longer any need for complicated installations to stabilise the high, fruit-laden shoots. All in all, the raspberry plant reduced to 100 cm becomes a fruit-bearing perennial - which can be planted and enjoyed almost everywhere in the garden and on the terrace. And here in the Lubera® Garden Shop, you can buy these latest raspberry varieties at the source - we at Lubera have created, bred and tested these compact growing raspberries ourselves! We are convinced that with these new compact growing raspberry varieties, which we call Lowberry® raspberries, we will enable even more gardeners and berry enthusiasts to cultivate raspberry plants and also create completely new uses for this wonderful berry variety.

The new Lowberry® dwarf raspberries in the Lubera® garden shop

At the moment we can already offer two varieties with a growth of less than 100 cm, but thanks to our own breeding department at Lubera® this raspberry family will soon grow even more. The raspberry Lowberry® Little Sweet Sister® is autumn-bearing, so it bear fruit on this year's canes. And it is not only autumn bearing, as it is the earliest autumn raspberry ever to bear fruit at the beginning of July - in the middle of summer - and it continues to bear fruit into the autumn months. The later growing shoots also play an important role, replacing the old raspberry canes and allowing the harvest to continue. The compact growth is due on the one hand to the shorter distances between buds and leaves, but on the other hand, it is simply based on the early fruits of Little Sweet Sister®: in this super-compact growing raspberry variety, the time from the beginning of the shoot to flowering and ripe fruit is record-breakingly short, the tip of each cane starts to flower and fruit at a height of 60 to 90 cm and does not grow any further. Our trials show that the raspberry Lowberry® Little Sweet Sister is very suitable for growing in both garden beds and pots. The second newly cultivated dwarf raspberry from Lubera®, Lowberry® Little Red Princess® is absolutely thornless and branches almost like a small Christmas tree; flowers are formed at the ends of the main and side shoots. This new type also stops accordingly at about 80 cm - quite simply because it flowers and bears fruit everywhere. The somewhat slower growth and the development of the side shoots mean that this newcomer bears ripe fruit a little later, around mid-August. According to our observations and test results, it is more suitable for gardens and less for pots.

   
 
Dwarf Raspberry Lowberry® Baby Dwarf®

The most compact dwarf raspberry

From £8.40 *

Dwarf Raspberry Lowberry® Goodasgold

The yellow, early autumn raspberry for pots

From £9.90 *

Frutilizer® Instant Solution Fe Iron Fertiliser

Nutrient salt with plant-ready iron

From £9.90 *

Lowberry® Raspberry Little Sweet Sister®

The fastest of all Raspberries

From £9.90 *

   
 

Why Lowberry® dwarf raspberries are easier and better than summer-bearing dwarf raspberries.

At the same time as our Lowberry® dwarf raspberry varieties, other growers have also introduced compact summer varieties to the market - most notably the Ruby Beauty® variety. As a summer raspberry, however, it, unfortunately, does not fruit on this year's canes, but only on the two-year-old canes. This, of course, strains the patience of a hobby gardener, but the real problems only start in the second year with the yield on the old canes in June/July. Which canes have to be cut away afterwards in the summer and which not? And what happens if I cut the wrong canes out of the thicket? Then there will be no fruit next year either. Because many of our customers have told us about these problems, we concentrate our efforts in the cultivation of dwarf raspberries exclusively on the creation of autumn types, which are much easier to cultivate and cut. And one more thing may be mentioned here: when our Lowberry® dwarf raspberries are not level with the ground in February but are cut back to about 20-30 cm in February, the side shoots will result in an additional early harvest on the two-year-old canes in June, so that there are at least two advantages with Lowberry® dwarf raspberries: Cutting and cultivation are much easier than with compact summer raspberries, but you will also get an early summer harvest if you do not cut back the younger canes grown last year completely when cutting them in February or March, but leave 20-30 cm.

When to prune?

Dwarf raspberries - as we have already mentioned - are not pruned in autumn, after the harvest, but before the start of the next growing season at the end of February or in March. This enables the plant to use all its organs in autumn, especially the green leaves, to store reserves, which also improves winter hardiness and strengthens the root system for the next spring.

The right cut

Pruning Lowberry® dwarf raspberries correctly is very simple: in February or March, just before the new growing season starts, all shoots are cut back to 20-30 cm. If the crop is very dense, the thickest shoots can be removed even at ground level (experience shows that the thickest raspberry shoots have already borne the most last summer...). The remaining shoots then quickly develop side branches in the spring, which also flower first and ripen in June - just like the summer raspberry varieties. Later - after harvesting - these old shoots usually dry back by themselves and are overgrown by this year's new raspberry shoots, which then start to bear fruit in July (in the case of Lowberry® Little Sweet Sister®) and August (in the case of Lowberry® Little Red Princess®).

How big are the fruits?

Small dwarf plants are also often associated with small fruits. But this is not the case with Lowberry® Little Sweet Sister® and Lowberry® Little Red Princess®, which produce normal-sized and very tasty fruit. Only the growth is dwarfed, which remains below 1 metre, the fruits are normal sized and nicely conical.

In our Lubera® breeding programme we have also achieved ultra-compact raspberry plants with a growth height of less than 50 cm. These varieties also bear on the annual canes and on the slightly pruned two-year-old canes, they branch very strongly from the beginning of growth and form a compact little bush, which you can imagine as decoration on the windowsill or on the table, similar to a mini tomato or a mini chili variety. The fruits of these even more dwarf varieties will be slightly smaller. The selection process is not finished yet, but here in the Lubera® Garden Shop, they will surely be offered first and exclusively.

Use

Their easy cultivation and stable compact growth allow the new Lowberry® dwarf raspberries to be used almost anywhere: in a mixed bed with other perennials, in a pot on a balcony or terrace, together with kitchen herbs or perhaps as compact fruit-bearing hedge plants. If children or grandchildren remind you of the joys of raspberry harvesting - of berries in general! - it also makes sense to plant Lubera® dwarf raspberries in different places in the garden, maybe together with currants or with the dwarf blackberry Lowberry® Little Black Prince® - so that there is something to discover and eat everywhere. Here it is most advantageous to plant three plants of each of the dwarf raspberries in a triangle with a distance of about 30-40 cm, which will result in a beautiful and above all extremely fertile berry island after 1-2 years.

In a pot on a balcony and terrace

Of course, growing Lowberry® raspberries in pots or tubs are a great way to grow them, although we have already mentioned that Lowberry® Little Sweet Sister® is better suited to this than Little Red Princess®. Special attention should be paid to very good drainage of the pot because raspberries in general and also the dwarf raspberries love a moist substrate, but hate stagnant moisture.

Where does the dwarf growth come from?

Imagine dwarf raspberries in the wild, in the forest or at the edge of a clearing: they would quickly overgrow, trample down or simply be eaten. Few chances of survival, then. That's why the genetic characteristics for dwarfism are mainly hidden, which geneticists and biologists call "recessive", With the raspberries, we have made these characteristics visible. In this way, we have made a characteristic of the raspberry plant available for gardens and pots, similar to the stingless raspberries, which would have little chance of survival and success in the wild. In the past, these dwarfing traits have been ignored by breeding programmes that develop raspberries for commercial cultivation by simply sorting out compact growing seedlings because they produce too little plant volume for commercial cultivation - and therefore too little yield per plant. A few years ago, when I was selecting garden raspberries for further testing in the home garden in East Malling (in our partner breeding programme in Kent), the farm manager informed me that there were some rows of raspberries further back that he wanted to plough down again immediately because they were not growing properly. Of course, my curiosity was aroused - and a new source of raspberry dwarf growth was discovered. The most compact breeding clones in our tests now come from exactly those plants that would have had no chance of survival in the logic of commercial cultivation.

Breeding Lowberry® raspberry plants at Lubera®

Breeding dwarf raspberry plants for the garden is one of the priorities in the Lubera® raspberry breeding program. Meanwhile, we have selected more than 20 different breeding lines with the desired compact (smaller than 100 cm) and super-compact (smaller than 50 cm) growth characteristics - all of them bear fruit on this year's canes as we and the hobby gardener wanted them to. The development continues, with the main focus being on crossing our compact breeding lines with each other to maintain compact growth characteristics while further improving yield and fruit quality as well as disease resistance. And of course, we are also looking for new fruit colours in dwarf raspberries: not only red but also yellow, orange, purple and black. Incidentally, if these dwarf raspberries developed by us were to be crossed with normal-growing raspberry varieties, the compact growth would disappear again because, as already mentioned, the underlying genetic trait is recessive. But that should be enough of breeder's jargon: with the development of the Lowberry® dwarf raspberries, which bear fruit on this year's canes, we have made a decisive advance for the even wider use of raspberries in the garden and also in pots on patios and balconies. We are looking forward to seeing what creative ways and means you will use them in your garden. 😉

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