Growing Atherton Raspberries

I have bought a couple of Atherton Raspberries - Rubus probus, from Daley's and would like a little advice on growing these Raspberries that are native to Papua New Guinea and Australia.

I have read that they do sucker a lot, so I am thinking about putting them into a very large pot. Does anyone who has grown them find they have had to give them a trellis to climb on or over, or is it correct that they grow into a bush.

Any advice on growing these beautiful Berries would be appreciated.

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    Lissa

    They look like the fruit Rob Collings gave me from his HUGE stand of raspberry. Maybe he can give some advice.

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      Rob Collings

      Hi Dianne, If you're growing these in a pot (recommended for suburbia), Susan should have some good growing tips for these conditions. I believe Susan has her's in a 200 Litre wicking pot. A very large pot should hopefully give you similar results. 

      The plant suckers more readily than it seeds, it cannot penetrate the virgin Bunya Phyllite rock on my block, however flourishes in the same rock when it's in the form of re-compacted fill.

      Water...

      The more water, the better the plant grows and fruit, they do however like reasonably drained soil, my soil is not well drained, but they grow well on a slope as a compromise.

      Timing is the secret to taste ...

      The berry starts green, goes to red ... but wait, don't pick it, it may be quite bitter. Wait until the fruit almost (and does sometimes) drops off into your hand when touched (I use a contractor's stick to reach the unreachable, and move on, if there is any resistance in picking). The fruit looks large, but does one final ballooning on the day it's ready. 

      I believe I have seen a pattern where the fruit, although red, will remain in an unripe state, until the conditions are favourable, and then .... all together now, they ripen. I have observed un-ripe, red raspberries for weeks before being ready for picking. Once they start in the on-season (August until October at my place), there is a need to pick every day, otherwise a fruit fly cycle begins.

      Cool Fruit ....

      The best fruit occur when there is plenty of rain (rainy weeks are great, where are those these days!)

      Fruit does less well on multiple 28 degree + days, unless the plant is well shaded.

      The method I use to keep these berries firm, is to pick them early in the mornings and late in the afternoons. At these times of the day, the fruit keeps it's form, and if refrigerated straight away, will keep and transport well for 2 - 3 days.

      Once the fruit is heat stressed (happens easily) the whole thing just falls apart (still tastes good though), but will perish rapidly from this point.

      The White Pith...

      When picking the ripe berry, there is still a small residual white pith in the centre. This will usually separate from the berry upon picking, it not, you may wish to keep the white pith as it's a good source of pectin. I attempted to make jam once without any pith, and it just does not set.

      The very ripe berry will have no pith, and an unripe berry will have lots'of'pith, potentially making the raspberry bitter. The small detachable while ball of pith inside a moderately ripe berry has no negative impact on taste.

      Light...

      I found that the soil plants are good with nearly all day sun, however the fruit crop will be poor due to heat.

      A compromise is to have them partially shaded, especially from the midday sun. I get fruit from the plants which grow on a shaded, south facing bank in summer (not a large supply and still quite dependant on water).

      Nearly all year round...

      In the right conditions (more shade, lots of water), the plant can produce small harvests in parts of Autumn & summer. And larger harvests in late winter, through spring. It seems to produce berries whenever it can in a good year, and restricted to just a few months in a bad year, this depends on the plant's location.

      Some of my previous comments from photo Rubus Probus (2015).... 

      The plant started in a pot around 9 years ago (from Greening Aust, the Gap), after 2 years, it produced a few berries, I then put it into the ground. It then turned into a very different Triffid-like plant, growing 3 times the height it did in the pot, and started running everywhere ... unfortunately it got very buried under a lot of dirt, and I believed it to be gone ... 3 months later it shot up it's first new canes, 4 Metres horizontally away, and 2 Metres up ... Its been running since. Every year with the exception of last year, the probus has produced an abundant crop.

      This is a plant that produces a very nice tasting Raspberry. The flavour is not as intense as it's european equivalent ... it's there, surrounded by plenty of sweet juice, with a texture that's more delicate than the usual known raspberry.

      And this is what the less protected plants look like at the moment ... Terrible!

      ... Although these are less protected, they are still the best producers when the conditions are good ...

      (Exactly same location August 2015)

      And this is what a protected plant looks like at the moment (today)...

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      Phil

      Great reply Rob. There is enough information here for a very complete Blog.

      The potted Raspberries you gave me are doing fine but like you have said you really need a large pot/wicking bed to get a decent crop. Even in the smallish pot I'm growing them in they are suckering. No harvest yet.