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16 Thornless Raspberry Varieties to Try!

Different Varieties of Thornless Raspberry

Thornless and nearly thornless raspberries have made raspberry-growing easier and more comfortable. These raspberries come in various flavors and colors, from sweet to tangy, and red to purple. 

They adapt well to different climates and growing conditions, which makes them popular among gardeners and commercial growers. Whether you prefer zero thorns or a bit of a prickly surprise, we’ve got the goods for both types in today’s article!

Thornless Raspberries

Thornless raspberries do not have the usual sharp thorns or prickles that show up on the canes of most raspberry plants. These thornless cultivars have undergone selective breeding to make them exceptionally user-friendly for newbies and experts.

1. Canby

Image by Briggs Nursery
Berry ColorBright red
Flavor ProfileSweet, juicy
Harvest SeasonJune
Diseases ResistanceGenerally free of insect and disease problems

The Canby Thornless Raspberry is known for its abundant yield of large, delicious red berries. These berries are great for eating fresh or for making preserves and freezing.

These raspberries bloom with white flowers from late April to June, leading to red and sometimes yellow fruits in late summer. They have a sweet and juicy flavor and yield over 2 pounds of berries per plant.

It’s hardy, tolerating temperatures as low as minus 20° F or lower, and typically starts bearing fruit within 1 to 2 years after planting. When fully grown, these raspberry plants can reach about 6 feet in height.

One notable feature of Canby raspberries is their resistance to pests and diseases, making them a low-maintenance choice. For best results, plant Canby Thornless Raspberry bushes about 3 feet apart in rows spaced 7 to 9 feet apart. 

2. Glencoe

Image by Etsy
Berry ColorDark red to purple
Flavor ProfileTangy-sweet, rich raspberry taste
Harvest SeasonLate spring to late fall
Diseases ResistanceExcellent disease resistance

The Glencoe Raspberry is disease-resistant and easy to work with because it has no thorns and a bushier growth habit. It can be planted in a shrub border and looks great alongside other plants. 

Glencoe Raspberry plants thrive in USDA Zones 4 to 8 with full sun and well-drained soil. They need regular watering to maximize their potential.

The harvesting season spans from late spring to late fall, and these plants produce a lot of berries. Despite their heavy yields, they stay compact, making them ideal for small spaces or container gardening.

In the kitchen, the berries are versatile and can be used in pies, tarts, jams, and preserves. They also work well on fruit trays or as a dessert or breakfast option.

3. Itsaul

Image by Just Fruits and Exotics
Berry ColorRed
Flavor ProfileDelicious, sweet
Harvest SeasonMay to November
Diseases ResistanceModerate disease resistance

The ItSaul Summer Raspberry is a recent compact discovery from Atlanta, Georgia. What makes it stand out is its ability to bear fruit on both new and old canes. 

Fruiting starts in May and continues until November, even in the high summer heat. The bright red and sweet berries grow on canes that can reach heights of up to 5 feet, so providing a trellis for support is recommended.

This container-ready raspberry variety thrives in zones 6A, 6B, 7A, 7B, 8A, and 8B. A mature plant typically reaches a height of 4 to 6 feet and has a width of 3 to 4 feet.

The ItSaul Summer Raspberry is self-fertile, eliminating the need for another raspberry plant for pollination. For proper spacing, provide 3 to 4 feet of separation between plants for enough room to grow and produce berries.

4. Joan J

Joan J
Image by Lareault
Berry ColorRed
Flavor ProfileGood flavor
Harvest SeasonEarly, with potential for a double crop
Diseases ResistanceModerate disease resistance

If you’re in search of a thornless option with high yields, Joan J is an excellent pick. The berries are notably large and maintain their size exceptionally well. 

If you’re seeking early fruit, Joan J comes highly recommended for planting, offering a reliable and abundant harvest early in the season. What’s more, Joan J has the potential for a double crop when managed correctly. 

Plant the canes about 3 inches deep and about 18 inches apart to give the plants enough room. After fruiting, cut down all the canes to ground level to prepare for the next growing season.

We suggest maintaining a soil pH level between 6.5 and 6.8 for raspberry plants. This variety thrives in USDA Zones 4 to 8 and is renowned for its winter hardiness. 

5. Mammoth Red

Mammoth Red
Image by Récolte Sauvage
Berry ColorRed
Flavor ProfileSweet
Harvest SeasonLate June to early July
Diseases ResistanceModerate disease resistance

Mammoth Red raspberry plants typically grow to a height of 6 to 8 feet, so provide them with good support. These raspberries are versatile, thriving in both full sun and partial shade, giving you flexibility in choosing where to plant them. 

They are suitable for USDA Zones 4 to 8 and can spread out to 4 to 6 feet. Expect early summer blooms that will eventually yield delicious raspberries, as these plants are prolific producers, yielding approximately 1 to 2 quarts of berries each.

Grow them in slightly acidic, loamy soil with good drainage, particularly sandy loam soil enriched with organic matter. These raspberries exhibit a medium growth rate, allowing you to enjoy their fruits relatively quickly.

Prune and thin your raspberry plants in late winter or early spring, including any dead or diseased canes at any time of the year. Mammoth Red raspberries are self-pollinating, simplifying the cultivation process. 

6. Raspberry Shortcake

Raspberry Shortcake
Image by BrazelBerry
Berry ColorLight Red
Flavor ProfileSweet with a vanilla essence
Harvest SeasonLate June to Early July
Diseases ResistanceModerate disease resistance

You won’t need to worry about trellising or staking these low-maintenance bushes. They feature sturdy canes that naturally form a beautiful mound shape.

This raspberry variety is also well-suited for container gardening, giving you the flexibility to grow them in smaller spaces. The fruits ripen to perfection in late June to early July, offering a delectable summer harvest.

These raspberries are self-pollinating. Remember to prune the bare-root canes back to about 2 inches above the ground. 

Raspberry plants have a natural tendency to send up new growth as suckers or basal shoots from below the ground. So, don’t be surprised if you see new sprouts emerging from the ground around where you planted the cane. 

7. Dorman Red

Dorman Red
Image by Pense Berry Farm
Berry ColorRed
Flavor ProfileSweet
Harvest SeasonLate spring and early summer
Diseases ResistanceModerate disease resistance

Dorma Red berries are generously sized, forming sweet, dome-shaped delights that are perfect for both fresh consumption and freezing. 

These berries thrive in sunny locations and well-drained, moderately fertile soil. What sets Dorma Red apart from some other red raspberry varieties is its adaptability. Unlike most red raspberries, it doesn’t need cold winters and slow spring times to produce fruit.

When it comes to pruning, Dorma Red bears its fruits on second-year canes. To make room for next year’s producing canes, prune these canes to the ground in the fall. 

Due to the tall nature of the canes, some training to a fence or trellis might be necessary to ensure their growth is well-supported.

Born Free Black Raspberry

Born Free Black Raspberry
Image by
Berry ColorBlack
Flavor ProfileGood flavor and productive
Harvest SeasonMid-June to mid-July in most regions
Diseases ResistanceNo significant pests or diseases

Imagine growing black raspberries without the pain of navigating thorny thickets! With these thornless self-fertile black raspberry plants, that dream becomes a reality. 

These robust and productive canes are adorned with lush leaves and bear the sweetest, deepest purple fruits you can imagine. In most regions, the fruit ripens from mid-June to mid-July, marking the start of pain-free picking.

These plants are pretty resistant to significant pests and diseases. The vase-shaped bushes reach a manageable height of 4 to 7 feet and a conservative width of 3 to 4 feet.

These thornless black raspberry plants are suitable for USDA Zones 5 to 8. Plant them with a spacing of 24 inches, with the hole large enough to accommodate the roots and the crown at the soil level. 

9. Tulameen

Image by Pumpkin Beth
Berry ColorVivid red
Flavor ProfileSweet
Harvest SeasonJune
Diseases ResistanceGenerally free of insect and disease problems

Tulameen Raspberry features large, vivid red fruits with an exquisite flavor that’s not only sweet but also of exceptional quality. Provide them with half a day to full sun exposure and well-drained soil. 

These raspberries are self-fertile, simplifying the whole pollination process. In terms of hardiness, they can withstand temperatures as low as minus 20°F or even lower.

You can anticipate your Tulameen Raspberry plants to start bearing fruit one to two years after planting. At maturity, these plants typically reach a height of about 6 feet. 

Each plant can yield an impressive 2 pounds or more of fruit. Tulameen Raspberry plants thrive in USDA Zones 6b to 9b.

10. English Thornless Raspberry

English Thornless Raspberry
Image by Weaver Family Nursery Farms
Berry ColorRed
Flavor ProfileSweet
Harvest SeasonSpring bearing, ripening just a few days later than black raspberries
Diseases ResistanceVery Good

For gardeners in USDA Hardiness Zones 6 to 8, the English Thornless raspberry variety is a fantastic choice. These plants thrive in a range of conditions, demonstrating very good resistance to both pests and diseases. 

They are also reasonably drought-tolerant, heat-tolerant, and can handle high humidity levels. When it comes to sunlight, they do well in various light conditions, including partial shade. 

However, they do not tolerate wet soils or salty conditions. They are very good for fresh consumption, and you can enjoy their sweet, juicy flavor straight from the bush. 

These raspberries are self-fertile, meaning you don’t need multiple plants for pollination. English Thornless raspberry plants grow best in fertile soils, making them a great choice for gardeners looking to enjoy homegrown, delectable berries without thorns.

11. Peter’s Thornless

Peter’s Thornless
Image by Daleys Fruit Tree Nursery
Berry ColorBright red
Flavor ProfileSweet and juicy when well-watered
Harvest SeasonSpring, from August to November
Diseases ResistanceModerate disease resistance

Peter’s Thornless raspberry is a cultivar of the native raspberry species Rubus rosifolius. It’s a pretty remarkable find that emerged from a spontaneous wild selection. 

These berries are not only visually appealing but also boast a delightful, sweet, and juicy flavor that is truly satisfying. Peter’s Thornless offers another treat – the leaf tips can be used to brew a mildly flavored tea reminiscent of Japanese green tea containing healthy antioxidant compounds, adding to its appeal.

The plant thrives in various conditions, from full sun to semi-shade, and can handle a range of soil types, although it prefers moderately fertile soil. During fruiting periods, it benefits from regular watering, especially in dry spells. 

Applying mulch is recommended, and if space is limited, it can be successfully grown in large pots on patios. This raspberry variety takes on a scrambling, shrubby form that can reach heights of up to 1 to 2 meters with a width of 2 meters. 

Nearly Thornless Raspberries

Nearly thornless raspberries, also referred to as semi-thornless or thorn-reduced raspberries, have fewer thorns or prickles on their canes when compared to traditional raspberry plants. 

1. Cascade Delight

Cascade Delight
Image by Gardeners World
Berry ColorBright red
Flavor ProfileSweet
Harvest SeasonJuly
Diseases ResistanceHighly resistant to root rot and generally free of insect and disease problems.

The Cascade Delight Raspberry thrives in soil conditions that would challenge many other raspberry plants, making it an ideal choice for those dealing with wet, heavy soils. While it can tolerate such conditions, it’s still advisable to provide good drainage.

One of the standout features of Cascade Delight Raspberry canes is their impressive productivity. These canes are nearly thornless, making harvesting a much more pleasant experience, and they produce fruit on second-year canes.

Cascade Delight Raspberry plants grow best in half-day to full sun exposure and well-drained soil. They are self-fertile, so you won’t need multiple plants for pollination. 

These raspberries can withstand temperatures as low as minus 20°F or even lower. The bearing age of Cascade Delight Raspberry plants is typically 1 to 2 years after planting, and they reach a height of 4 to 6 feet at maturity. 

2. Encore

Image by Oakland Nurseries
Berry ColorRed
Flavor ProfileExcellent quality with good firmness and high flavor
Harvest SeasonJune, August
Diseases ResistanceGenerally free of insect and disease problems

The Encore Red Raspberry canes that bear fruit are robust, nearly spineless, and bursting with vigor. For those looking to cultivate these raspberries, they thrive in Hardiness Zones 4b to 8b. 

They need about a half-day to full sun exposure and well-drained soil for the best growing conditions. The Encore Red Raspberry is self-fertile, making the pollination process a lot easier.

These raspberries can withstand even harsh conditions, tolerating temperatures as low as minus 20º F or below. Their bearing age is relatively short, producing fruit within 1 to 2 years after planting. 

At maturity, these raspberry bushes reach a height of around 6 feet. You can expect an impressive yield of 2 or more pounds of delectable raspberries from each plant.

3. Latham

Image by | Daily Update
Berry ColorDeep-red
Flavor ProfileFull-flavored, sweet
Harvest SeasonJune to July
Diseases ResistanceMosaic Free

The Latham Raspberry is a distinguished member of the raspberry family, known for its production of large, round, and deep-red fruits with a remarkable texture and full, sweet flavor. They’re renowned for being prolific producers.

Raspberry plants can bear fruit on different types of canes, primarily categorized into primocane and floricane. In the case of Latham Raspberries, they belong to the floricane fruiting variety. 

This means that the primocanes grow throughout the first year but do not produce fruit. Instead, the floricanes, which develop after the first year, bear the fruit. 

Provide these self-fertile raspberries with half-day to full sun exposure and well-drained soil. They’re also impressively hardy, capable of withstanding temperatures as low as -35°F or even lower.

When fully grown, Latham Raspberry plants typically reach a height of about 6 feet.

They belong to the June bearing category, which means they produce a significant crop during this period, 1 to 2 years after planting.

4. Nova

Image by Heeman’s
Berry ColorBright red
Flavor ProfileFine flavor
Harvest SeasonLate summer or early fall
Diseases ResistanceGenerally free of insect and disease problems

Nova Raspberry is a hardy, mid-season, summer red raspberry that’s pretty strong and dependable. This variety bears fruit that is not only abundant but also remarkably firm with a fine, delectable flavor. 

Nova Raspberry plants thrive in Hardiness Zones 4 to 7, showcasing their adaptability to a range of climates. When it comes to site and soil preferences, they favor half-day to full sun exposures and well-drained soil.

You can anticipate a fruitful harvest just 1 to 2 years after planting these self-fertile raspberry plants. Mature Nova Raspberry plants typically reach a height of around 6 feet. 

When it comes to yield, Nova Raspberry doesn’t disappoint, offering 2 or more pounds of delectable berries per plant. Additionally, these raspberries are generally resistant to both pests and diseases, providing peace of mind for growers.

5. Polka

Image by Backyard Berry Plants
Berry ColorLarge, deep-red
Flavor ProfileDeliciously sweet
Harvest SeasonLate July through to October
Diseases ResistanceGood disease resistance

Hailing from Poland, this primocane variety has surpassed its parent, Raspberry Autumn Bliss in both yield and early cropping. You can expect a Polka raspberry harvest that begins at least two weeks earlier than its counterparts.

Once these plants establish themselves, they become prolific producers, offering up to 5 pounds of large, deep-red berries. Starting from late July, you can continue picking these delectable berries all the way through to October.

You can expect your first crop within 4 to 8 months after planting. For the best yields, which are undoubtedly worth the wait, plan for a time frame of 16 to 20 months.

With a height of approximately 6 feet and a spread of around 1 to 2 feet, these raspberry plants are well-suited for gardens of various sizes. These make them ideal for novice and expert gardeners.

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