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How to Propagate Boysenberries for Optimal Growth

Justice is currently an engineering student and has a passion for doing DIY projects and gardening.

Boysenberries bush

Boysenberries bush

What Is Propagation?

Propagation is the process of creating new plants from existing ones. It's a simple way to increase your boysenberry patch without having to buy new plants. And, it's also a great way to share boysenberries with friends and family.

If you’re ready to start your own Boysenberry plants from seeds, you can do so by following these steps on how to propagate Boysenberries. When you propagate Boysenberries, you’ll ensure that your plants are genetically diverse and that they’ll stay true to their original variety.

Even if your plants aren’t genetically diverse, you can still choose to propagate them this way in order to get more plants of the same variety without having to go out and buy more seeds every year.

7 Ways to Propagate

In this section we are going to cover seven methods that can be used to propagate Boysenberries.

1. Transplant a Nursery Start

To propagate boysenberries, start with a young plant from a nursery. You'll have the best success if you transplant the boysenberry in late winter or early spring.

  • Choose a location that gets full sun and has well-drained soil.
  • Amend the soil with compost before planting.
  • Water the plant deeply after transplanting.
  • Keep it evenly moist as it establishes itself.
  • Once established, water only during periods of drought and then provide at least an inch of water per week during dry spells.

In addition to watering your new transplants thoroughly, fertilize them monthly by adding 1/2 cup of fertilizer such as 8-8-8 per foot of row spacing. Fertilizing is especially important during the first three years after planting when plants are most vulnerable to stress from being transplanted.

Once the roots become established, feeding every year will give your plants a healthy head start on fruiting their first year. The planting area should be free of weeds but not packed too tightly.

As mentioned above, this type of berry does not require support so it can be planted close together for better fruit production. Mulching the rows is recommended to maintain moisture in hot summer months and keep down weeds.

2. Put a Dormant Bare Root in the Ground

Planting a dormant bare root is the best way to propagate boysenberries. This will ensure that the plant gets the necessary nutrients and water it needs to grow. Follow these steps for planting a dormant bare root:

  1. Choose a location that has well-drained soil and full sun.
  2. Dig a hole that is twice the width of the root ball and just as deep.
  3. Gently remove the plant from its container and loosen any roots that are bound up.
  4. Place the root ball in the hole so that there is an inch or two of dirt on top of it (enough to hold down the earth).
  5. Fill in around with more dirt, water well, and allow several days before transplanting into a permanent spot.

You can also create containers using gallon milk jugs filled with potting soil. Cut off the bottom part of the jug, leaving about four inches at the top. Put this inside another one and fill in between them with potting soil, then add your berry seedling. Make sure you keep the plants moist at all times until they are fully rooted in their new home!

Plant a Dormant Bare Root



3. Tip Layering

Boysenberries are a versatile fruit that can be used in jams, pies, and wines. They are a great addition to any home garden. The best way to propagate boysenberries is through tip layering. This method allows you to control the plant's growth and ensure that it produces healthy fruit. Here are some tips on how to tip layer boysenberries:

  • First, bury the stem of an established stem about 3 inches below ground level.
  • Cover with soil so only 1 inch of the stem is exposed.
  • Tie securely to support stakes or other plants using string or wire.
  • After 8 weeks, remove ties and harvest the first crop .
  • When new leaves start to grow from your planting area, transplant into separate containers.
  • To protect the growing plant, cover with a paper bag or burlap sack when temperatures drop below 20 degrees Fahrenheit. Be sure to keep soil moist during this time as well. Before long, you'll have plenty of delicious berries for your own use or as gifts!
  • Tie the planted area securely to something sturdy such as metal stakes, bamboo poles, or trees.
  • Cover with clear plastic wrap secured by stones or bricks to trap heat and moisture near the roots.
  • After a few years of successful propagation, replace original tip layered bushes with new ones.
  • Some varieties are better suited to tip layering than others. Check with your local nursery or plant breeder for recommendations.

4. Cutting a Stem and Rooting It

To propagate boysenberries from stem cuttings, fill a small pot with moistened potting mix. Cut a 4-inch-long piece from the tip of a healthy stem using sharp pruning shears. Strip the lower leaves off the cutting, and dip the cut end into rooting hormone powder. Insert the cutting into the potting mix, and water it well. Place the pot in a warm location out of direct sunlight, and keep the soil moist.

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It will take approximately six weeks for roots to form on the new plant. Once the roots are sturdy enough, transfer the cutting to its own pot filled with potting mix and then transplant outdoors when danger of frost has passed.

The process can be repeated by dipping a new cutting into rooting hormone powder and inserting it near the base of an established plant. In this way, boysenberry plants may be propagated indefinitely.

5. Root Division

To propagate boysenberries through root division, wait until the plant is dormant in late winter. Then, using a sharp knife, divide the root ball into 3-4 sections, making sure each section has at least 2-3 inches of stem with several leaves.

Keep the roots moist and cool while it recovers from the trauma. Once it starts growing again, you will know that it has recovered and can be planted outside or given as a gift to someone who likes plants!

The most common question about propagating boysenberries is: Is it hard? The answer is no! All you need to do is cut off some of the roots and place them in a pot of dirt or water. They are very forgiving so if they dry out or get too much sun, they will still grow back. They also don't like heavy soils.

6. Transplant Suckers

Fall is the best time to transplant boysenberry suckers.

  • Select a 12-inch long, pencil-thick sucker that has been growing for at least one year.
  • Using a clean, sharp knife, cut the sucker from the parent plant, making sure to include a small heel of bark.
  • Strip off any leaves from the lower half of the cutting.
  • Dip the cut end of the cutting into rooting hormone powder.
  • Stick the cutting into moist potting soil and water thoroughly.
  • Once roots are established, transplant the new plants to their own pots or a prepared bed in your garden (a 4’x4’ raised bed with 6 depth works well).

When planting the new transplants, leave 8 inches between them so they have room to grow. Water transplants every day for two weeks after planting.

Apply an organic fertilizer such as manure tea or liquid kelp once a week. Transplanted boysenberry suckers should be able to produce fruit within four years of planting.

7. Tissue Culture

If you're looking to propagate boysenberries, tissue culture is the way to go. This method of propagation is done in a laboratory setting and allows for the growth of clean, disease-free plants.

In order to create a tissue culture, explants (pieces of plant tissue) are taken from the mother plant and placed on agar medium. The explants will then start to grow and develop into new plants. Once they reach this stage, they can be transplanted into larger pots with soil or directly to your garden.

These methods allow for better control over pollination so that growers can ensure that their berries have the best taste possible. It also helps farmers keep up with demand since plants grown through tissue culture only take six weeks to mature, whereas a traditional plant takes up to two years.

There are many benefits of propagating fruit through tissue culture rather than traditional means; it's more efficient, cleaner, and faster. Another benefit is that when propagating through tissue culture, all cuttings are genetically identical to the parent plant which increases yield while minimizing diseases.

By using these types of methods, it is possible to produce the perfect boysenberry with its characteristic deep color and sweet taste.

A tissue culture lab

A tissue culture lab

Caring for Boysenberries

To ensure your boysenberries grow optimally, it is important to provide them with the proper care. They should be planted in an area that receives full sun and has well-drained soil. Water them regularly, fertilize them every few weeks and prune the plants regularly.

Keep Soil Moist

Boysenberries require moist, well-drained soil with a pH between 6.0 and 7.0. They are tolerant of light frost but can be injured by heavy frost or cold, wet weather. To maintain optimal growth, water boysenberries regularly during the growing season, especially during periods of extended heat or drought.

Mulch around the base of the plant to help retain moisture and keep the roots cool. A 3-inch layer of mulch is usually sufficient. Use any organic material such as bark chips, straw, pine needles, leaves or grass clippings. However if you have clay soils that hold too much water and cannot drain quickly enough then avoid mulching as it will just make your problem worse.


To ensure your boysenberry plants are getting the optimal amount of growth, you'll need to prune them regularly. Pruning allows the plant to focus its energy on producing fruit, rather than leaves and stems. Start by removing any dead or dying branches and cutting back some of the larger branches that may be crowding out other shoots.

The best time to prune is in late winter when there's not a lot of new growth happening anyway. If you have been keeping your pruned branches, they can go into a jar of water with holes poked in the lid so they can drink while waiting to get planted. Otherwise, keep these cuttings away from children and pets as they can be toxic if ingested. Place your cuttings in water until you're ready to plant them in the ground. Make sure to keep watering them!

Boysenberries can be propagated easily by anyone who wants to grow berries. No matter how you propagate your boysenberry plants, you'll end up with delicious fruit that was grown right in your own backyard.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2022 Justice Ndlovu

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