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Strawberry-Raspberry 'Sweet Balloon'

Rubus illeceborus, the ground-covering raspberry

Strawberry-Raspberry 'Sweet Balloon'
 
 
 
 

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Product information "Strawberry-Raspberry 'Sweet Balloon'"

The strawberry-raspberry ‘Sweet Balloon’ comes very close to the dream of unifying strawberries and raspberries: it grows more like a raspberry, albeit more compact; the fruits are very similar to a perfect strawberry. In any case, this plant will cause a stir in every garden due to its habit and its fruits: "What kind of a plant is that?"
There is, however, one crucial difference between strawberry-raspberry and strawberry, which should not be ignored: the taste of strawberry-raspberry is sweetish but rather watery and empty. To put it bluntly: the strawberry-raspberry has no comparison in taste with a strawberry or a raspberry – it is just optically similar. Actually, the strawberry-raspberry is probably more of an ornamental plant than a fruit plant – however such a decorative and of course easily edible fruit is very well entitled to be on the plate. After all, we eat – so they say – with our eyes...
 

Short Description of Strawberry-Raspberry ‘Sweet Balloon’
 
Fruits: Large, up to 5 cm, white flowers in July to September; huge, round, strawberry-like fruits with a glossy surface in the summer and autumn; the fruits are larger than normal raspberries, more like medium-sized, round strawberries, 2-4 cm in diameter.
 
Maturity/harvest: Flowering and ripe fruits overlap strongly; fruit is always constantly ripe from August onwards. The strawberry-raspberry ‘Sweet Balloon’ flowers already in the first year on this year's canes, which are about 20-40 cm high and densely thorned. The fruit ripens starting in August and lasts until well into autumn.
 
Flavour: Well, that's probably the weak point of this beautiful, ground-covering raspberry: it's sweet, and pretty much nothing else at all. Yes, you could justifiably call the taste empty, with some juiciness and sweetness. In the English-speaking world, Rubus illeceborus is also referred to as “balloon berry”. This is true in terms of form, but also in terms of content: there is already something like air in this berry...but wait, we do not want to talk this beautiful plant down with its equally beautiful fruits...
 
Use: Of course, the strawberry-raspberry makes sense as a ground-covering plant, as it covers areas very quickly, forming a dense population of green shoots and leaves in the spring. It is quite prickly, and then the beautiful, large flowers and fruits appear. The fruits are not exactly that what they visually promise – however we do not want to blame this beautiful plant.
 
Plant spacing: Plant approx. 5 plants per m², i.e. at a distance of approx. 40-50 cm and you will have an area that is covered after 2 years.
 
Location/growth: The strawberry-raspberry is very adaptable; it grows easily in different types of soil and can withstand slightly acidic to slightly alkaline soil. But there is one thing that it cannot bear: waterlogging. The location should be sunny to partially shaded. Although it will grow in full shade, it would produce fewer flowers and fruits. If the strawberry-raspberry is not physically bounded by a bar, it can slowly but surely spread to other garden areas, namely its network of roots gets bigger and bigger. Thus we recommend using a small root barrier, especially in smaller gardens around the strawberry-raspberry planting. It is also enough to take a large plastic bucket, cut out the bottom and plant the resulting tube in the garden soil...then the strawberry-raspberry will not be able to come out. The strawberry-raspberry grows about 40-60 cm high; in the beginning it is higher, then when it occupies more space with its roots, the growth is compacter and covers the ground more.
 
Pollination: The strawberry-raspberry is self-fertile, which means that it does not need a pollinator.
 
Pruning: There is nothing easier than this: that what does not go away during the winter can be removed or cut down to ground level in the spring. Some also boldly recommend using a lawn mower, which could be misused just before the blades are sharpened (before the mowing season starts again) – but this makes sense in larger groundcover plantings. The new shoots largely originate fresh from the flat-growing roots; they are already visible in March, and then fully cover the soil starting in June, when they start to bloom and produce fruit during the summer.
 
Pot cultivation: The use as a groundcover in large pots or pots is also very useful because the strawberry-raspberry cannot break out by definition into other areas of the garden. Especially with ornamental plants, fruit or berry standards, the shiny leaves and the huge fruits of ‘Sweet Balloon’ will do well.
 
  • Ripeness/Harvest Period August, September, October
  • Final height 40cm to 60cm
  • Final width 40cm to 60cm
  • Available February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November
  • Sweetness sweet/sour
  • Use outdoors, as a groundcover, for group plantings, as a specimen plant
  • Hardiness hardy
  • Soil moderately heavy, light, slightly alkaline, neutral, slightly acidic
  • Location partial shade, full sun
  • Leaf Colour green

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