How Much Sun Do Blackberries Need?

And other questions you have about growing thornless blackberries.

Gardening is undoubtedly a spring and summer activity, but that doesn’t mean those with a green thumb are content to hibernate all winter long. Caring for your plants when the temperatures drop can make all the difference, ensuring you have a successful planting and growing season when the sunny weather returns. Here at Doyle’s, we get a lot of questions about how to ensure thornless blackberry plants thrive all year long. One of the most common inquiries: How much sun do blackberries need?

The short answer is that blackberries need a minimum of six hours of direct sun. We recommend full sunlight, as that is preferrable, but blackberries will also thrive in partial shade. To that end, the optimum planting season is in early spring, but any time when the ground is not frozen will do.

Another common question about growing thornless blackberries has to do with trellising and the best structures to support thornless blackberry plants. The first thing you have to understand is that a mature plant will grow five canes that can each measure up to 40-feet long. The right support structure keeps the fruit upright for easier picking. Generally, a grape-type trellis is best with 12-gage wire at the 3-, 4-, 5- and 6-foot marks.

Start by securing the primary canes along the bottom wire. You can use binder twine or plastic berry clips that can easily be reused for several seasons. With the primary canes tied along the bottom, the laterals are able to grow toward the sun. You’ll need to arrange the laterals so that each one gets as much sun as possible, which requires tying them the same way as the primaries. During the next year’s crop, the new canes should be attached in the same formation but on the opposite side of the wires. This makes it easy to remove the dead canes after they’ve fruited.

Once you’ve asked the question, “how much sun do blackberries need?” and understand how to properly build a grape-style trellis for your plants, it’s essential to dive into the specifics about irrigation, mulching and how to protect the plants during extreme winter conditions. We’ve got the answers you’re looking for on our website,