Raspberry Shortcake Plant Review

Original Entry – May 22, 2016
Update #1 – July 23, 2017
(Minor Update #2 – May 1, 2018 – Plant survived a second outdoor winter – growing leaves on the floricanes and growing new primocanes too!)
(Minor Update #3 – March 25, 2019 – had to replace some broken links)

(Please note that Brazelberries – the company that distributed the Raspberry Shortcake plant through 2016 – was bought out and the name was changed names to Bushel and Berry.  The new website does not have all of the same information the former website had, so I apologize if I reference some information you can’t find on the new website.)

I will preface this post by saying I’m a VERY amateur gardener.  I do enjoy planting things, but it is generally not very well thought out.  I became interested in trying to grow my own raspberries when I saw the bare root canes for sale at my local Home Depot.  I did try to plant one of the canes (Heritage by Van Zyverden) but it doesn’t seem to be doing anything. After doing some research on recommended raspberry types, I figured I would check my local nursery to see if they had any of the popular raspberry plants.

They didn’t have any of the cultivars that I was hoping to find, but they did have a very nice looking plant labeled “Raspberry Shortcake”.  What appealed to me is the label claimed it is a miniature / dwarf raspberry plant that can be grown in a pot, as opposed to having to plant it in the ground. Also, it would not involve any trellis or other supports, and finally, it has no thorns which will make picking it more fun for the kids.  I often prefer growing in pots because they keep the rabbits away, and I currently have more full sun space on my patio sitting wall than I have full sun exposure where I want to rip up my lawn.  As I always do when I am making an important purchase, I searched Google for feedback.  I found the Bushel and Berry website that grows / distributes the Raspberry Shortcake plant and everything sounds great on the website, but I know the manufacturer is going to do their best to sell their product. I found a few websites selling the plants by mail for up to $80, and I found a brief forum discussion about the plants. Unfortunately there wasn’t any real useful feedback that I found at that point.  I thought it was interesting that some people referred to it as a “yuppie” plant, being expensive for a raspberry plant.  I thought about how much money I’ve spent on plants, pots, soil, etc, and that I am not that far from a yuppie demographic.  I definitely am stingy about not wasting money on most things, but in the end, $30 for a plant that can maybe solve some of my concerns with growing raspberries would be worth the expense.

Raspberry plant in potI got the plant home and here’s a picture of how it looked in the 2 gallon pot it came in. I think it is a nice looking plant even separate from the raspberries, but the raspberries are the main reason I got it.  I asked at the nursery what I can do to help it survive the winter time.  She suggested that she would plant it in the ground, but that defeats the whole purpose of buying a plant that can grow raspberries in a pot.  She said other options would be burying the pot in the soil for the winter.  She said the snow is actually a good thing for the plant as it acts as insulation.  The other suggestion was moving it into a garage for the winter.  That was an interesting idea as I didn’t know you could do that.  She said the leaves will be gone at that point and the plant will essentially be dormant.

I looked at the website and found a growing guide (which is unfortunately now removed).  I was specifically looking to see what size pot I should move it into.  They basically suggest the largest possible pot as the canes will fill in any empty space, suggesting pots up to 24-36 inches.  I went to Home Depot to get a new pot and found these great giant pots, probably more than 24 inches, for $20.  I then realized that I would need a ton (not literally) of potting soil.  If I ever decided I wanted to bury the pot for the winter, I’d have a hard time moving it.  I decided it would make more sense to just try to find a place to bury the plant than to put it in a pot that can’t be moved.

Raspberry Shortcake in New PotAfter putting in more thought (because that’s what I do), I decided on a more moderate sized (but still large) pot that is around 18 inches.  It still took about 1.5 cubic feet of soil, plus the original plant, to fill it.  I bought cheap potting soil from the local Ace Hardware that was on sale.  Unlike most potting soil I’ve used, this soil was pretty dense, with more of a mud consistency.  It seemed more like garden soil, but is clearly labelled as potting soil. Hopefully slow draining soil won’t be an issue.  The picture to the left is of the plant after moving it into the new pot.  It is about as big as I’d want to lug to an empty spot in the back yard to bury for the winter.

So, aside from the appealing features of no thorns and able to grow in a pot, there are two very important features which I couldn’t get a clear answer.  First is taste.  Second is ability to survive the winter in a pot.  I’ve since tried to find a good answer.  Surprisingly, there are not a lot of clear posts online about taste. Some reported they taste good, someone else reported returning it after tasting the raspberries.  I found some reviews on Amazon for the raspberry shortcake plant, (this link to currently available plant on Amazon) and they are all very positive (5 star reviews).  Interestingly, people do report the plants survived the winter, in the pots. Hopefully, I’ll have as much luck.  If the raspberries taste decent, I’ll be sure to bury the pot to give it the best chance of surviving.  One reviewer on Amazon reported the raspberries tasted good.  I really hope I will get to experience that this summer.  I will update this post when I have more to report. As I’m not a huge raspberry eater, I’ll have some other people taste them to try to get an accurate report on the taste.  Meanwhile, I’ve gotten enough of an interest that I am pretty sure I’ll wind up planting a few real raspberry bushes in the ground.  I am trying to decide which type of raspberry to plant, but that’ll be another post if I have time.

Update 6/3/16
I noticed some white flowers showing up not long after I moved the plant to a larger pot.  Here is what the white flowers look like:
white flower on raspberry shortcake plantYesterday I noticed some different looking white buds near the white flowers.  They almost look like they could be raspberries:
possible fruit on raspberry shortcake

Update June 12:

Lots of berries growing, but not ripe enough to pick.

20160612_114626_crop_265x313

20160612_114640-480x853

Update 7/4/16 – We’ve had about 8 ripe to almost ripe berries over the last few days. The majority have been described as yummy and sweet by my daughter who has a hard time waiting until they are fully ripe. I’m guessing that may be why some taste a little sour. The ones she describes as sweet she says are better than the store bought Driscolls. So, overall I’d say it is a success so far. There seem to be maybe another dozen raspberries growing. The only downside seems to be that there aren’t more berries. Here’s a picture of the most perfectly shaped berry that I think my daughter picked just a little too early as she said it was a little sour. I’ve tasted a few (had to sneak them when my daughter didn’t see and before she picked them) and I’d agree with her. Some are sweet and just a little tart. Others are more tart which may be what she is calling sour.

Raspberry from the raspberry shortcake plant NR7 sitting in my daughter's hand (the berries are pretty typical sized).

Raspberry from the raspberry shortcake plant NR7 sitting in my daughter’s hand (the berries are pretty typical sized).

Unless the plant starts producing significantly more berries than what we have now, or if the taste of the remaining berries isn’t good, I probably won’t post an update until either I prepare it for winter, or until spring to see how it did over the winter.

Update 4/15/17
I never did prepare the plant for the winter, leaving it out on my back patio. The plant appears to have survived fine!  The winter was relatively mild this past winter for the midwest, but we did get snow and most of the winter was below freezing temperatures. Around March 25, 2017, I started to see some little primocanes coming up from the soil.  On March 31, 2017, I also saw some green leaves starting to grow on the floricanes (second year stems).  Over the past 3 weeks, there are now multiple primocanes coming up from the soil and the floricanes are starting to form more leaves.  See some pictures below.

March 31, 2017 – starting to show clear signs of leaves forming on the floricanes.

April 4, 2017 – able to see the new primocanes growing up from the soil well enough to see it in the photograph.

April 9, 2017 – starting to see multiple primocanes growing and also some more leaves growing on the floricanes.

April 13, 2017 – primocanes are rapidly coming up and growing. Leaves on the floricanes are visible in multiple places.

As of April 15, 2017, everything seems to be growing quite quickly.  I can’t wait to see how many raspberries I’ll get this year.  I’m not sure if I just got lucky that the plant survived the winter without any special preparation or if this plant could survive even harsher winters.

May 7, 2017 – leaves forming on the tips of several floricanes. Primocanes getting bigger.

May 20, 2017 – starting to see flowers forming that will hopefully turn into raspberries.

June 10, 2017. Lots of raspberries growing on the floricanes, maybe 100 or so. The leaves on the floricanes are mostly on the tips leaving the bases more bare. I do have two tall floricanes sitting there with no leaves. Those ones may have flowered last year and I just never removed them. Some of the floricanes are leaning against the side of the pot, but seem to be growing fine.

As the berries came in, the floricanes did lean completely against the side of the pot, but they still seemed to produce well without damaging the plant.  The raspberries ripened around the last week of June and kept producing for the first two weeks of July.  During that time, there were probably 5-10 berries a day that were ready to be picked.  They were medium sized and had a typical raspberry taste.  Most people seemed to like them.  Around July 10 we had some relatives over and the kids picked the plant pretty bare.  There were probably more than 20 berries picked that day and the kids loved them.

July 9, 2017. Floricanes are finishing up their berries, hanging over the side of the pot. Primocanes on top, short but appear healthy.

As of July 23, 2017, there are a few berries left, but it seems the floricanes are done producing.  Over the season, I’d say my plant yielded more than 120 berries.  The taste was pretty good. Being thornless and in a pot sitting on a ledge, the plant is perfect for kids to pick.  I didn’t seem to have any major issues with birds eating the berries like I did with my Joan J.  I also didn’t notice any insects eating the leaves like my raspberry canes I planted in the ground last year.  I’m tempted to try transplanting a few of the canes into another pot as this one is really full.  I don’t know if the primocanes are small because I am growing them in a pot, or if there just isn’t enough space.  I also need to decide if I’ll take my chances with leaving the pot outside for the winter again.

Overall, I have been extremely pleased with this plant.  It has been much less of a burden to grow than the raspberry canes in the ground, and has produced as much or more in a fraction of the space.  Hopefully next year will be just as good.  I may do another update later this summer to comment on the size of the primocanes, as they will hopefully get much bigger than they are now.

22 Responses

  1. Loraine Hofer says:

    I have grown both traditional and the new Brazelberry raspberries. Love the ones in pots. Berries produce on second year canes. So, the little canes at the base are your berry producers for next year. Old canes die and can be pruned. I get up to about a cup a day during the season.

  2. Laura says:

    Love this! Looking forward to an update 🙂

  3. Arthur says:

    I too planted a shortcake bush last spring, but I had a much better crop. Your disappointing first crop probably is related to the number and size of floricanes the nursury left for you. I know you don’t want to deal with a trellis, but I found that a large tomato cage helps spread the canes a bit to allow better light penetration and easier picking.

    Good luck this year. This cultivar is a gem.

  4. Kris says:

    I love that you got this raspberry plant ! I have three and I’m considering getting a few more. My biggest is in a pot that’s bigger than yours but not huge. I’m 4’10” & 100 lbs. and I can move it. I leave it out in the winter. Last winter we had a lot of snow and a long cold winter. I put pine needles around the base and water it once a month if there hasn’t been any snow for a few weeks. It’s big healthy and great.

  5. Debbie Teashon says:

    I enjoyed your article, I love reading how others experiment and discover plants — one of the joys of gardening! Thank you for sharing your journey!

    I have a few comments. For my containers I never skimp on the potting soil. Here’s my reasoning: This is what sustains and supports my plants. Also for edible plants I make sure the soil I buy is organic, my preference. Also living in the NW where winter soggy conditions means soggy potting soil if not well drained. So I always add a bit more perlite to the soil. You live in a different climate zone, so that may not be an issue for you. Since your plant is going to be with you for a long time, you need soil that will sustain it for a long time. Soil, water, and fertilizers are equally important for great container growing.

    About the name. Rubus idaeus ‘NR7’ is its official name sometimes sold under trade-names such as Raspberry Shortcake™, and Bushel and Berry™. Very confusing for consumers and the corporations use it for their own purposes and really doing a disservice to horticulture. Trade names are like Tylenol putting it’s trade-name on a product. The official name is acetaminophen not Tylenol. Only for plants they are doing it illegally passing if off as the plant name, not the brand name. Hope that helps clear things up.

    Thank you for sharing your experiences!

  6. Blue says:

    Interesting wee journey into the world of raspberries!
    A bit if info
    Dave Brazelberry was the breeder for Fall Creek Nursey. They SOLD the line of Brazelberry to Star Roses, who renamed them to Bushel & Berry. In fact Falls Creek Berry Nursery is responsible for some phenomenonal berry plants!

    I, too, have the Raspberry Short cake.. as well as all the others in that grouping: BlackBerry Babycakes, Blueberry Glaze, Peach Sirbet, Pink Icing, Perpetua, –Sweetheart, Sunshine Blue, blue Profusion just to name a few. All in containers! I’m in zone 7b. I put all on plant stands with wheels, when the seasons done.. I wheel them unto the covered patio. Place a white garbage bag over the plant that has 5 stakes around it to ensure the bag doesn’t smother the plant. . And water it sparingly. Every year . I wheel it back out. And slowly orientated the plant to the weather. All plants produce, but not in volume. I’d need like 20 of each to accomplish that. Instead. They are gorgeous “house” plants that also give fruit! I’ve got Koan J too and twice tried to grow Anne. This year looks more promising. The yellow one I couldn’t kill. Ha! Is Fall Gold. Also a container plant that doesn’t get much bigger that a couple of feet.. but has both prose fruiting and suckers. So a container is the only way.
    …As to the thorns.. raspberries are a bramble of which those thorns are referred to as Spines, and some are spine-ier than ithers. Some only have the spines on new growth. Some only on the base, some only on the primicane.
    .I preferred spineless/thornless.. just as a matter of disliking “owwies”. Ha. And settled on the Fall Gold (only spines at the base. Very small ), Royal Purples (has spines, but limited, very upright growth tho. Easy to care for. Tall).. …and moved onto thornless blackberries. Fav to grow:Navaho. ABSOLUTELY nary a spine or thorn .no suckers either. But a small crop, sweetest ever berries. The sweet factor is measured in “brix” #’s. Thought you’d like that-! & Navaho has one of the highest. New one out there, SweetiePie, is viewing for that title. Osage also. ALL are thornless!

    Well its been awesome sharing!! Hope you’ll post again soon. March to June is a long time quiet–

  7. Kim Allison Ross says:

    Ate these the same as strawberry shortcake raspberries (from the same company)?

  8. Linda R Simpkins-Murphy says:

    I have been growing Raspberry Shortcake since they were first introduced.

    My suggestions are as follows…

    1. From the get go plant it in the biggest pot possible! This will save you from wrestling with it and causing damage when it needs to be potted up…and yes it will need to be potted up! The bigger the pot the bigger the plant. The bigger the plant the more berries. They are fast growing.

    2. I neglect my raspberry in its too small pot winter after horrible Idaho winter and as always it pops up in Spring ready to produce more berries than it did the year before.

    3. If you set your pot on the soil the roots will grow out the drainage holes and propagate like crazy! Which is great if you want more plants. I never got around to digging up the escaped starts from last Fall and as a result had lots of plants and enjoyed lots of berries June to August. I have also delighted my friends and neighbors by gifting my baby raspberries.

    4. The plants in the ground were happier and the leaves did not burn in the 100 plus degree days.
    .
    5. Do not pick berries and pop them in your mouth in front of your dog! I now compete for my berries with my two Golden Retrievers. They are proficient at sniffing out and harvesting the sweet ripe ones leaving me the unripe berries on the bush. Their skills have expanded to my Peach Sorbet Blueberry, Thorn less Blackberry and strawberries.

    I love my Raspberry Shortcake plants!
    I never set out to have a yard full of berries, I was always a tomato / cucumber / pepper gardener.
    I fell into growing berries accidentally. I love always having a tasty berry to pop into my mouth as I am perusing my yard.

  9. Anita H says:

    Thank you for your terrific report. I’m going to try these this coming spring!

  10. LaNell Johns says:

    I would love to get an update on your raspberries, blueberries and blackberries. i realize this is an old post so I’m curious how hardy these have been and the production. I’ve been wanting to try this particular variety and just came upon this bit of information on them when googling for dwarf raspberries. Thanks for any information you can provide.

  11. LaNell says:

    I’m curious how hardy these have been and the production. I’ve been wanting to try this particular variety and just came upon this bit of information on them when googling for dwarf raspberries. I’ve enjoyed reading about the journey you’ve had in growing them. I’m a avid gardener but have always stuck to the same ole vegetables each year. My grandchildren love raspberries and I’m so hopeful that these will do well in my zone 8-9 very humid climate. Growing up in the South, we always picked wild blackberries. I may start out with a quart size plant this year to see how well it does before investing in so many as I’d love to do now. Any information anyone can give is so appreciated!

  12. Robert says:

    As I read these posts I’m very hopeful that my raspberry shortcake plant will do well!! The only comment I wish for people to read is that if you go online and pay the price of $40, $60, or even 80 bucks then you got seriously ripped off!!! I went to the Tractor Supply store and bought mine for $12 bucks! I know people believe everything online is cheaper but surprise, the internet is wrong again!

  13. mary says:

    wow. my daughter gifted me a raspberry shortcake for mother’s day in 2017.(yup, one of those $70 ones, plus shipping) i re-potted and had 5-6 berries that summer. I wintered it in a cold, bright room in the house (60degree-ish) for the winter. I was uninformed and cut it back to the ground before winter; therefore had no berries in 2018. sadly, i read this article after i cut all the “brown” canes off a few hours ago; some had begun to leaf out. now i know why i will not get a harvest this year…again. you live and learn. thanks for the education!

  14. Tina Casey Jones says:

    I bought my raspberry shortcake plants (2) back in 2014 when I lived in the San Francisco Bay area – they fruited beautifully and required minimal care. Then we moved to Southern Oregon in 2016 and I worried a bit, but they survived being wind-battered in my husband’s truck and fruited beautifully again! LOL. When we moved here we asked about snow and were told we’d “maybe get a dusting around Christmas but it’d melt by noon”. HAH!!! January 1, 2017 it started to snow and snow and SNOW!!! We got four FEET of snow in a couple days! My potted raspberries managed to survive that winter (and the two following) just fine, now I just have to try to beat the deer and birds to the ripe berries (nice problem to have in Oregon).

    My Brazelberry blueberries (2) have also done really well ?

  15. carol prince says:

    Enjoyed reading all the comments. I have had my raspberries several years and they are in the ground, look great, multiple like crazy and yet I get very few berries. They get sun, water and no berries. The last 3 years my regular berries have borne so many that I am giving them away to everyone I know but not my raspberry shortcakes. Any suggestions?

    • Ima Cynic says:

      I don’t know what to tell you. That seems very odd. Hopefully someone else can comment. Mine didn’t produce this year because my landscaper decided to cut them down this spring. I have no clue what he was thinking, but fortunately they are doing well otherwise and hopefully I’ll get some raspberries again next year (and I need to tell him not to prune them again).

  16. carol prince says:

    my regular raspberries are loaded this year and I have them cut down every year, I wondered if that would stimulate the shortcake plants. Has anyone ever cut them back in the fall?

    • Ima Cynic says:

      If you completely cut them back, they will not produce raspberries for two years. I don’t think pruning them at all would help, but you can remove the canes that fruited this year, as they will not fruit again.

      If your regular raspberries are fruiting now, then those are an “everbearing” type. Everbearing raspberries will fruit on the first year canes in the fall. They will again produce fruit around July on the second year canes.

      The raspberry shortcake plants are not everbearing, and only fruit around July on the second year canes.

  17. Ghislaine Beaulieu says:

    A quel distance doit-on planter le raspberry shortcake?

    • Ima Cynic says:

      Google translate gives me “how far should we plant the raspberry shortcake?”. If you are asking how far apart from other plants, I would suggest at least 2 feet (0.6m). You can plant them in the ground and they seem to do well and will spread, but one big plus is that you can also grow these in pots and they survive the cold winters. Here near Chicago they have survived the polar vortex in pots when it got down to -40. These are definitely one of my favorite plants. I hope to do a more detailed update soon. If you plant them in a pot, I would go as big as you can as they will spread each year to fill up open space. More plants means more delicious berries!

  18. Tom says:

    This is the best info source for these plants I have found. I have two, planted in the ground and they are in their second season. One is fair sized and one is on the small size. I have been disappointed in the number of berries produced and the taste. My regular raspberry bushes did much better. Also, these berries seem to not hold together well, if that makes sense. The little balls that make up the berry tend to come apart. But, other people seem not to have any of these issues. So, maybe next season will be better.

  19. goldenmain517 says:

    I am experiencing the same thing as Carol Prince. My Raspberry Shortcake has never bloomed in 3 summers. I didn’t expect it to the first summer as I bought it very earlier prior fall at Tractor Supply as marked down- End of Season. I had bought 2 but 1 died. They weren’t in good shape but I saved 1. They were packaged in tiny boxes as bare root with few leaves, some no leaves.
    Well this is summer # 3 and it the plant multiplied to 6 more plants! I had planted in the ground immediately after purchase.
    These are Healthy Beautiful bushy plants so I’m hoping next spring to at least see flower blooms on the original plant. If these are not going to bloom, I won’t be keeping them. But I’m hoping & giving them one more year. I’m in zone 7 b so we get some cold weather but doesn’t hurt them. They get plenty of sun light so I is no reason I can see that why it’s not at least blooming. Very weird we can’t find enough Info on this plant online anywhere.

Leave a Reply