Raspberry varieties are classified based on whether fruit is produced on canes that emerged in the current season (primocanes) or on one-year-old canes (floricanes). Therefore, there are two types of raspberry varieties:
- Primocane-bearing raspberries - also called “fall-bearing raspberries”
- Floricane-bearing raspberries - also called “summer-bearing raspberries”
Primocane-bearing raspberries bear fruit on the current season’s growth; in other words, on canes that began growing that year. Harvest begins in late summer and lasts until the first hard fall frost. Harvest is longer when grown in high tunnels.
Primocane varieties are easier to maintain than floricane varieties. They require less trellising when grown outdoors and can quickly be removed in the fall by mowing.
While not commonly practiced, it is possible to get both a fall and summer crop from primocane-bearing varieties if certain pruning practices are followed. This is called “double-cropping” and is discussed in the Pruning section of this guide.
Raspberry breeding programs have focused more on primocane-fruiting varieties than floricane. A host of red, golden, and purple primocane raspberry varieties are available, with different ripening times. Varieties can be characterized into early, mid-season, and late ripening. The following table lists varieties that are proven to be suitable for Minnesota’s climate.
Primocane-bearing raspberry varieties for Minnesota
|Variety||Berry Color||Ripening time||Description|
|Polana||Red||Early||Medium/large round berries with good flavor. Hardy to zone 4. Vigorous grower. Ripens mid-June, producing a heavy flush of berries. Also produces a second smaller-flush of berries in the fall.|
|Polka||Red||Early||Large, firm, conical-shaped berries full in flavor. Hardy to zone 4. Upright growth habit and vigorous cane spread. Wider in-row spacing recommended.|
|Caroline||Red||Early-mid||Large berries packed with flavor. Hardy to zone 4. Not tolerant of heat or drought. Less susceptible to phytophthora root rot than 'Heritage' and 'Autumn Bliss' parents.|
|Joan J||Red||Early fall||Large, firm fruit with relatively low moisture for increased shelf-life. Hardy to zone 4 and more heat tolerant than some varieties. High yielding. Can be double-cropped for first season fall production, and mid-summer and fall harvests thereafter.|
|Himbo Top™||Red||Early-mid||Large fruit with good flavor. Hardy to zone 4. Not heat tolerant. High tolerance to phytophthora root rot. Heavier cane cropping at the time of planting is beneficial with low cane spread. Fruiting laterals are long, and canes are tall, requiring a good trellis system.|
|Heritage||Red||Late fall||Medium-sized fruit with moderate sweet flavor. Widely planted and known cultivar. Hardy to zone 4. Resistant to most diseases. Upright canes with medium vigor and robust thorns. Ripens late-August to first tunnel frost.|
|Autumn Bliss||Red||Late fall||Larger fruit than 'Heritage' with sweet flavor. Hardy to zone 4. Berries darken after harvest with a shortened shelf-life. Resistant to most diseases. Tall canes with medium vigor and numerous medium-sized thorns. Ripens a few weeks earlier than 'Heritage', with a concentrated flush of berries after two weeks.|
|Autumn Britten||Red||Late fall||Shape, firmness, and post-harvest characteristics similar to 'Autumn Bliss', with slightly better fruit quality. Fruit darkens in storage. Hardy to zone 3. Tall canes need more trellis support. Very high yielding if densely planted, since cane spread is somewhat sparse. Harvest falls on the heels of floricane-fruiting varieties and lasts through October.|
|Anne||Golden||Late fall||Medium sized berries with a pink blush. Hardy to zone 5, so it requires supplemental mulching and/or row cover to overwinter. Can be double-cropped for first season fall production, and summer and fall harvests thereafter.|
|Double Gold||Golden||Late fall||Medium sized berries with a pink blush. Hardy to zone 5, so it requires supplemental mulching and/or row cover to overwinter. Can be double-cropped for first season fall production, and summer and fall harvests thereafter.|
Floricane-bearing raspberries are also called summer-bearers because their fruit ripens in the summer months. Fruiting laterals only develop on second-year canes (floricanes).
In Minnesota, this crop usually ripens throughout July, depending on the variety. In a year with an early spring followed by warm temperatures, the crop may begin ripening in late June.
This means that the plants produce no fruit in the planting year, and only a small fruit load in Year Two. Full yield potential is achieved starting in the third year.
Because the canes become tall and droop over, they should be trellised using simple wire or twine supported by wooden or metal posts. More information on trellising and pruning is available here.
Floricane-bearing raspberry varieties for Minnesota
|Variety||Berry Color||Ripening time||Description|
|Prelude||Red||Early summer||Medium-round berries with good flavor. Hardy to zone 4. Vigorous grower. Ripens mid-June, producing a heavy flush of berries. Also produces a second moderate flush of berries in the fall, benefiting from double-cropping. Resistant to phytophthora root rot.|
|Nova||Red||Early summer||Medium-sized firm berries that are slightly acidic. Ripening begins late June to early July in MN, which can extend into early August. Extremely cold tolerant, hardy to zone 3. Also heat tolerant, making it a great choice for MN high tunnel growers. Vigorous, upright canes have fewer spines. Also produces a second smaller flush of berries in the fall.|
|Encore||Red||Late summer||Large conical berries. Hardy to zone 4. Vigorous and upright canes need a sturdy trellis system. Relatively spineless. Do not plant if soil has trouble draining since it is more susceptible to phytophthora root rot.|
|Jewel||Black||Mid-summer||Large flavorful berries. A prolific producer if given extra winter protection. Hardy to zone 5. Not as seedy as other black varieties. More disease resistance than other black varieties, including anthracnose.|
|Royalty||Purple||Late summer||Large and very sweet berry. Most popular purple variety that is best known for jams and jellies. Hardy to zone 4. Canes are vigorous, long, and thorny. Can benefit from double-cropping. Fruit can be separated from the receptacle when still firm and red.|
Reviewed in 2022