Want to learn how to grow hydroponic raspberries? You’ve come to the right place. These are one of the most popular fruits, and for good reason!
They're sweet, refreshing, and full of antioxidants. Raspberries are good for you and they taste great, too. Growing raspberries is not challenging and with dozens of varieties to choose from, it’s often more of a challenge for a gardener to decide what kind of raspberries to grow than to learn how to grow them!
Hydroponics makes it possible to grow raspberries in any setting, including indoors or in a greenhouse. You don’t need a lot of space or expertise to grow these fruits and while it is slightly more challenging to learn how to grow raspberries than it is to grow leafy greens or tomatoes, the learning curve is definitely one that you can overcome.
Ready to get started with growing raspberries hydroponically? In this article, we’ll tell you everything you need to know to get started, from what kind of system you should choose to how to care for and harvest your plants.
Can Raspberries Be Grown Hydroponically?
Hydroponics is a method of growing plants in nutrient-rich water, without soil. The nutrients are dissolved in the water and taken up by the roots, which then gives the plant what it needs to grow.
Hydroponics has been around for centuries but is gaining popularity due to its sustainable nature and ability to produce more food with less work & space than traditional gardening methods.
But can raspberries be grown in such a system?
You might assume that raspberries, due to their sprawling nature, can’t be grown in a hydroponics system. That’s not the case.
These berries can be grown hydroponically, provided you pay special consideration to the type of system you use and the raspberry variety you select. With some careful planning and the right know-how, it is entirely possible to not only grow raspberries hydroponically, but to produce a thriving, sustainable crop!
Are Hydroponic Raspberries Difficult To Grow?
Although it can be somewhat difficult to grow raspberries hydroponically, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try.
You may find that your yields are slightly reduced compared to what you might be able to grow outside, in a traditional soil-based garden.
This is a trade-off though since you’ll have the ability to grow these plants regardless of where you live. For gardeners who want to grow raspberries but don’t have access to a garden plot, hydroponics is a lifesaver.
Despite the challenges related to trellising and fertilizing your raspberry plants when growing them hydroponically, you’ll be rewarded with more control over your final product. Any difficulty you might encounter is offset by the many benefits of hydroponic growing.
Why Grow Hydroponic Raspberries?
Raspberries are one of the most popular berries out there! They're sweet, juicy, delicious, and can be added to just about any dish.
Growing them at home is a great way to save money on your grocery bill while providing an excellent opportunity for sustainable food production. Homegrown hydroponic raspberries can be a fun and rewarding experience.
They are an excellent source of vitamins A, C, K, and manganese. They also contain high levels of fiber and antioxidants which help fight free radicals in the body. Plus, hydroponically grown raspberries tend to be sweeter and even more delicious than those grown traditionally.
Not only will you attain all the regular benefits of hydroponic growing (including the fact that hydroponically grown foods can be produced without as much concern regardings pests and diseases), you will also benefit from more control of your plants’ quality and nutritional content.
Raspberry plants tend to grow better with more nitrogen than other nutrients, and it can be hard to control these levels in a conventional garden. Not the case with hydroponics!
When you grow in hydroponically, you’ll benefit from greater water and nutrient efficiency. It’s an eco-friendly style of gardening that can save on resources, time, and money.
Of course, you’ll have more independence regarding when you choose to grow - you can grow year-round or even in the middle of a city.
How Long Does It Take To Grow Raspberries Hydroponically?
Your hydroponic raspberries will be ready for harvest in around four months. That said, once you get the ball rolling, you won’t be slowing down any time soon.
When properly cared for, raspberry plants can produce for 12 months out of the year. Yet another benefit to growing these fruits in a hydroponic setup!
How To Start Growing Raspberries Hydroponically
Raspberries are the perfect plants to try if you are interested in trying to grow hydroponic fruits. Before you do anything else, you’ll need to decide on the best system for growing your plants. Then, it’s simply a matter of feeding and caring for your plants until you’re ready to harvest.
What Type Of System Is Best For Growing Raspberries Hydroponically?
When it comes to growing raspberries hydroponically, just about any system will work - ultimately, it’s a matter of personal preference. There are technically 6 different types of hydroponic systems, but three of these are ideal for raspberries in general.
In general, any system type will work. Growers will rely on methods like ebb and flow, deep water culture (DWC), and drip irrigation.
Ebb and flow is great for beginners because the system operates automatically by filling up with water from below then draining it back out into the reservoir when needed.
DWC, also known as deep water culture, is another great way to grow plants, as this system requires less maintenance with few moving parts. The downside is that it can be difficult to maintain pH levels in the reservoir due to fluctuating water levels or the temperature of the plant itself.
Why Growers Will Opt For A Drip System For Raspberries
Ultimately, most gardeners who decide to grow hydroponic raspberries will do so through drip irrigation.
While ebb and flow and DWC can work well for most other kinds of plants (and can work, if that’s the kind of system you already own) the continuous drenching of the plants’ roots can be detrimental for plants like raspberries.
Raspberries tend to be prone to root rot. Since constant moisture increases the likelihood of this ailment, growing in a drip system is a good idea.
Hydroponic drip systems are a growing trend in hydroponics, as they provide consistent and efficient nutrient solutions to the root zone without aggressive flooding or draining.
With drip systems, growers are able to choose between recovery and non-recovery systems. In a non-recovery system, the nutrients solution does not return to a central reservoir but instead runs off.
Hydroponic Raspberries Propagation - Seeds vs Clones
When growing raspberries hydroponically (and frankly, in any kind of setting) it is not recommended that you start from seed. Instead, use transplants or canes.
Set the roots into your growing medium (or starter plugs) and cover them with a clear plastic dome. Better yet - use a complete seed starting kit.
Keep the plants chilled for two months at temperatures lower than 45 degrees, which will allow them the period of cold dormancy that they need. In many cases, nurseries and garden centers sell raspberry canes that have already been chilled to eliminate this need. Check when you buy to see if this is the case.
Then, they can be transplanted into your hydroponic system. When it comes to choosing which type of raspberries to grow, know that plants can more or less be categorized into two types: primocane, (everbearing) and floricane (summer-bearing).
For hydroponics, you will have much more luck with primocanes. These produce fruit on first-year canes and offer an extended harvest season. They also require less trellising and space than floricane raspberries.
Some of the best options for container growing in general include Jewel Black, Heritage Red, and Raspberry Shortcake.
Feeding Your Hydroponic Raspberries Nutrients
pH for your hydroponic raspberries should be right around 5.8 to 6.5. Raspberries, especially early on in their growth, require a fertilizer that is heavy in nitrogen. Use a well-balanced vegetative formulation, which you should apply in the early stages after the first bud break.
You can then follow this with a formulation designed for bloom or fruiting. Your solution will need to be changed out every week or every other week. You can use an EC meter to check the amount of fertilizer in your reservoir and give you a more accurate idea of when a changeout is necessary.
There’s no hard and fast rule on how often to change out the nutrients in the reservoir because plants don’t take in nutrients at the same rate.
However, it’s important to completely swap out your reservoir on a regular basis rather than just topping it off. This will allow you to get a fresh start without salt build-up in your system.
Caring For Your Hydroponic Raspberries
Raspberries should be kept in somewhat humid, well-lit conditions. 10-12 hours per day is ideal.
Keep temperatures warm, around 70-75 degrees, and humidity at around 70%. Humidity is an important consideration for raspberries - too dry and your plants will struggle with pollination and pests like spider mites.
But excess humidity, above 90%, will cause issues with pollination, too, and can also cause the fruits to mold.
Unfortunately, these berries can be somewhat prone to fungal disease. Therefore, you should take steps to improve ventilation.
Adding a fan in your grow area can help. As your raspberry plants grow, they will become weighed down with fruit and often bend and break due to their weight. Therefore, at the beginning of the season, you should install a trellis system to help support the plants. We carry all the plant support products you need to get this done at an affordable rate.
You can also prune your plants later on, ideally after you have harvested. You can remove old leaves and canes to help keep your plants healthy.
Finally, remember that raspberries need to be pollinated. Outdoors, this will happen as bees and insects pollinate the plants or the wind takes care of the task for you.
When growing indoors, you may need to hand-pollinate. This can be done by setting up a fan near the plants or by gently brushing the inside of an open flower with a soft brush.
How To Harvest Your Hydroponic Raspberries
It is completely possible to grow raspberries for a harvest 12 months out of the year if you grow with a staggered growing cycle and are attentive to providing proper amounts of light, water, and nutrients for your plants.
You can pick raspberries whenever the fruits are ripe, keeping in mind that unripe berries won’t ripen off the plant. If you harvest any berries that aren’t fully ripe, you may want to discard them as they will taste bitter and won’t turn red if they aren’t still attached to the plant.
This is a contrast to other kinds of plants you might grow, like hydroponic tomatoes, which will continue to ripen long after they have been harvested and brought indoors.
Put your harvested fruits in a shallow container and then in the refrigerator. They should last two or three days like this.
Final Thoughts On Hydroponic Raspberries
One of the best things about growing raspberries hydroponically is that you can grow them in your home or even in a greenhouse and enjoy a harvest at any time of the year.
Growing raspberries hydroponically comes with many benefits, and everything from planting to harvesting will be a lot easier for you than if you were to go through the traditional method of farming.
Ready to get started growing your own hydroponic raspberries? Start by shopping Hydrobuilder’s extensive collection of hydroponic growing equipment.
Whether it’s your first time trying hydroponics or your hundredth, we have everything you need (and at affordable prices!) for a successful growing experience.