Growing Blackberries in Florida

I really enjoy blackberries. Unfortunately, while the store bought varieties may look nice they’re usually lacking in flavor. You can spend the money on buying organic, but that can get costly. My experience as a kid was picking them in the wild. When we lived in West Virginia you could find them by the pailful growing on the sides of the road.

As far as I’m concerned, anything that can grow in the wild or on the side of the road should be easy to grow under controlled conditions, right?? Well, like everything else my blackberry growing efforts have met with some challenges and I’m still hoping one day they’ll be “fruitful”…

Blackberries are member of the rose family. They’re also a deciduous crop (sheds it’s leaves every year) where the fruit forms on the current year’s growth. There are three main varieties that grow wild in Florida, sand, sawtooth and southern. You can find them if you’re lucky and the animals don’t get to them first. For more info on native Florida blackberries, check out Sharon’s Florida site, or go to the University of Florida page on growing blackberries in Florida.

I planted several last year, not sure exactly when or what varieties. This was before my improved record keeping…I do know that at least a couple of them were Ouachita, which is an erect-growing, thornless variety released from the University of Arkansas breeding program. Ouachita are supposed to produce a lot of large fruit that will keep well.

Site selection was based on available space and somewhere they could be left to run wild and they will run wild..

This area is pretty well shaded but does get some afternoon sun. You can see how well this one is doing..No fruit yet.

Blackberry
Ouachita blackberry
IMG_20150517_091818487
blackberry flower


During the winter most of the canes died back, and I thought the blackberries were done for. Was pleasantly surprised to find out I was wrong when all this new growth started popping up around the fence. Ultimately, I want to have this entire section of fence covered with blackberries. That may take couple of years, so stay tuned..

Blackberry
IMG_20150517_091831974 blackberries
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