The olallieberry is a large, rather tart cousin of the blackberry. When planting and growing these berries it is important to remember that they are perennial, but the canes that produce the berries are biennial and survive for only two years. The first year the canes, sometimes also called vines or branches, produce other canes in the form of branches growing to the sides. The second year the side branches produce fruit, after which they can be removed along with the vertical canes, since they will no longer be productive and they will take energy from the plant.
Things You'll Need
- Pruning shears
- Aged compost
- Cotton string
Choose a location that gets plenty of sun. It should also have a trellis behind it, or you can add one made of wood, wire or other sturdy material. These bushes must be supported in order to grow properly.
Prune the canes down until they are about 6 inches tall before you plant them. This will help the plant get a good start.
Dig a hole large enough to hold the olallieberry’s root ball with about 3 extra inches around it and under it. Take all of the soil out of the hole.
Mix the soil with aged compost, using about half soil and half compost. Break up any large lumps. Be sure the compost is well aged so that it doesn’t burn the plant’s roots.
Put a layer of the soil and compost mixture into the hole so that it supports the olallieberry at the same depth it was at in its nursery planter. Test the plant to make sure, and if necessary remove it and adjust the soil until you have it correct. If you plant it too deep the stem is likely to rot, and if it is too shallow the roots may dry out or encounter disease and insect damage.
Fill in around the roots with the soil and compost mixture. Pat it down firmly so that it supports the plant, and also so that there are no air pockets around the roots.
Tie the canes to the trellis as they grow with soft cotton string. Tie the verticals in an upright position, and support all lateral growth horizontally.
Tips & Warnings
- Let the new canes stay on the ground as they grow until you remove the old ones, then tie the new canes to the trellis. These will start to grow by the third year and will replace the ones that you remove.
- Olallieberries will not grow in many of the places that blackberries will. They do best in climates such as Southern California and the Pacific Coast. Make sure your area is suitable before planting these large berries.
- Photo Credit John Foxx/Stockbyte/Getty Images