Raspberry bushes are plants that are found throughout much of North America, and can grow quite prodigiously both in the wild and when placed within a garden. They come in two basic varieties, which either grow berries once per year or twice per year. They are often grown for their resilience and for the berries they provide, which can be picked and eaten fresh or used for making numerous desserts and baked dishes. Raspberry plants are a perennial plant that can survive even in fairly cold climates and should be carefully maintained to prevent them from taking over a garden or yard.
Wild raspberry bushes can be found growing all throughout the northern regions of North America, and many large yards and gardens contain raspberries. They expand by sending up small growths, called suckers, through the soil near the established bushes, which grow into large bushes that spread more suckers. Unless carefully maintained and trimmed back, these bushes can take over a small garden, and even in larger areas they may dominate the soil and leave other plants without the room and nutrition needed to thrive.
Most raspberry bushes fall into one of two categories: either summer bearing, called floricanes, or everbearing, called primocanes. Summer bearing bushes actually take two years to bear fruit, however once a bush is established it will produce berries each year. Floricanes begin to grow the year before they produce fruit, allowing a person to gather berries from those that began to grow the year before. Each spring the old, gray shoots that bore fruit the previous year should be trimmed away for new green shoots to come in, and berries will grow over the summer on the shoots that began to grow the previous year.
Everbearing raspberries are not truly everbearing. They will produce a crop of berries in mid to late summer, and then a second crop in the fall. These grow on the new shoots from the current year, while the summer berries come from shoots from the previous year. Raspberry bushes that are everbearing should be trimmed carefully to ensure that neither of the crop bearing shoots are damaged, while removing the gray shoots that gave summer berries the previous year.
Various specific types of raspberry bushes have been cultivated and grown to produce different types of raspberries. These can include golden raspberries, red raspberries, and purple raspberries, all of which have slightly different tastes and can add various flavors to pies or for use in beverages such as fruit smoothies. Raspberries are often a mixture of tart and sweet, and are an excellent source of polyphenol antioxidants and fiber.