How many raspberry plants do I need per person?

When trying to determine how many raspberry plants to grow per person, there are a few key factors to consider:

Raspberry Plant Yield

The expected yield of each raspberry plant is important for calculating how many plants you need. On average, a single healthy raspberry plant can yield about 1-4 pounds of raspberries per year. However, the yield can vary greatly depending on the raspberry variety, plant age, pruning and care, climate and growing conditions. Generally, you can expect:

  • First year plants – 0.5 to 1 lb per plant
  • Second year plants – 1 to 2 lbs per plant
  • Mature plants (3+ years old) – 2 to 4 lbs per plant

So for mature, well cared for plants you can expect an average of about 3 pounds of raspberries per plant. But yields may be lower or higher depending on your specific conditions.

Desired Amount of Raspberries

The amount of raspberries you want to harvest per person is also key. Raspberries are extremely versatile – great for snacking, desserts, smoothies, jams and more. Here are some estimates for how many raspberries a person may consume in a year:

  • Light consumption – 5 to 10 lbs/year
  • Moderate consumption – 10 to 20 lbs/year
  • Heavy consumption – 20+ lbs/year

For the average family seeking to meet most raspberry needs from their own plants, planning for about 15 pounds of raspberries per person is a sensible goal.

Raspberry Plant Spacing

In addition to yield, the amount of space available for planting will factor into how many plants can be grown per person. Raspberries thrive when given proper spacing, which allows airflow and light penetration. Here are some spacing guidelines:

  • Between plants – 2 to 3 feet
  • Between rows – 8 to 10 feet

With this spacing, you can expect about 2-3 raspberry plants per 10 linear feet of row. This spacing allows easy picking access while minimizing disease risks.

Accounting for Losses

It’s also smart to account for loss when calculating how many raspberry plants to grow. Even in a well managed garden, you can expect some degree of loss to pests, disease, weather damage or other factors. Assuming a 10-25% loss rate is reasonable for raspberries. This means planting extra to ensure you still meet your desired harvest amounts.

Overplanting for Maximum Yields

Many gardeners also recommend overplanting by 25-50% more than your needs to ensure bountiful yields. The plants can then be pruned, thinned or removed in future years to maintain ideal spacing and production. Having extra plants accounts for some mortality and allows removing less productive plants over time.

Example Raspberry Plant Calculations

Let’s take an example of planning a raspberry patch for a family of 4 who wants about 15 lbs of raspberries per person (so 60 lbs total) at mature plant yields. Here are two scenarios:

Scenario 1: 10 foot row, 3 feet between plants

  • 10 linear feet of row = space for about 3-4 plants
  • Each plant yields 3 lbs on average
  • So 3 plants would yield about 9 lbs
  • Need 7 rows of 3 plants each = 21 plants
  • With 25% overplanting = 25 plants

This fits in a raspberry patch about 7 feet wide by 10 feet long. It would provide a bit over the 60 lb goal to account for losses.

Scenario 2: 20 foot row, 2 feet between plants

  • 20 linear feet of row = space for about 10 plants
  • Each plant yields 3 lbs on average
  • So 10 plants would yield about 30 lbs
  • Need 2 rows of 10 plants each = 20 plants
  • With 25% overplanting = 25 plants

This fits in a patch just 2 feet wide by 20 feet long. It also would provide over 60 lbs for the family with the overplanting.

In summary, for this example scenario targeting 60 lbs of raspberries, you would need between 20-25 plants based on your spacing preferences and garden layout.

Tips to Maximize Raspberry Yields

To help your raspberry plants reach their full productive potential:

  • Choose everbearing or primocane varieties for extended harvests
  • Provide sun (6+ hours per day) and high quality soil enriched with compost
  • Water 1-2 inches per week, taking care not to overwater
  • Use raised beds and trellising for improved air circulation
  • Prune in dormant season for open growth habit
  • Control pests, diseases, and weeds which can reduce yields
  • Harvest frequently during peak season
  • Mulch to conserve soil moisture and suppress weeds
  • Fertilize in early spring and again after fruiting

With proper care and attention, you can achieve yields of 3-4 pounds or more of luscious raspberries per plant in your garden.

Choosing Raspberry Varieties

Selecting the right raspberry varieties for your region can also improve yields. Some top picks include:


  • Heritage
  • Caroline
  • Fort Laramie
  • Redwing

Summer Bearing:

  • Canby
  • Meeker
  • Tulameen
  • Willamette

Primocane (Fall Bearing):

  • Autumn Bliss
  • Polka
  • Jaclyn
  • Joan J

Check with your local nursery or extension office for the best varieties for your specific area and climate.

Considerations by Growing Zone

Your local climate and growing zone will impact how many raspberry plants to grow per person. Some guidelines:

  • Cold climates (zones 3-5) – Raspberries thrive here but need protection from winter damage. Grow in sheltered rows against buildings/fences. Opt for hardy cold climate varieties.
  • Cool climates (zones 6-7) – Ideal conditions for raspberries. Most varieties do well. No need for much winter protection.
  • Warm climates (zones 8-10) – Hot summers may reduce yields or quality. Focus on everbearing types. Provide afternoon shade and extra water.

Plan for lower per plant yields in very cold or hot zones. Space plants closer in marginal climates to hit desired harvest amounts.

Soil and Sunlight Needs

When siting your raspberry patch, opt for these conditions:

  • Sunlight: At least 6-8 hours of direct sun daily.
  • Soil: Well-drained, fertile loam. Enrich with compost.
  • Drainage: Avoid soggy sites prone to standing water.
  • pH: Ideal range is 5.8-7.0.

Focus on improving these factors to maximize production from your plants. Raspberries will tolerate partial shade but produce less.

Designing Your Raspberry Patch

With proper planning and care, even a small raspberry patch can meet a family’s berry needs. Follow these tips when designing your planting:

  • Group plants in rows for ease of care and best light exposure.
  • Space rows 8-10 feet apart, with 2-3 feet between plants.
  • Run rows north to south for even sun exposure.
  • Allow for future expansion by planning extra rows.
  • Incorporate trellising for plant support and airflow.
  • Include walking paths between rows to avoid soil compaction.

Locate your patch near a water source for convenient irrigation. Avoid planting where tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, or potatoes have recently grown to reduce disease risks.

Caring for Your Raspberry Patch

To keep your raspberry plants healthy and productive for years to come:

  • Water: 1-2 inches per week. Drip irrigation works well.
  • Mulch: Maintain a 2-4 inch layer to retain moisture and reduce weeds.
  • Fertilize: Use a balanced 10-10-10 in early spring and after fruiting.
  • Prune: Remove spent floricanes after harvest. Prune for open growth.
  • Train: Trellis canes for support and airflow. Remove stray canes.
  • Weed: Control weeds which compete for water and nutrients.

Protect plants from harsh winter weather in cold climates. Scout for pest and disease problems. Pick berries frequently to maximize yields.

Companion Planting for Raspberries

Some smart companion plants for raspberries include:

  • Asparagus – repels beetles
  • Dill – attracts predatory insects
  • Chives – deters aphids
  • Marigolds – controls nematodes and beetles
  • Garlic – deters aphids and beetles
  • Roses – repels Japanese beetles

Avoid planting raspberries near tomatoes, peppers, eggplants and strawberries, which can share diseases.

Controlling Pests and Diseases

Some common raspberry pests and diseases include:

  • Japanese beetles – feed on leaves and can skeletonize them
  • Aphids – suck plant sap and spread viruses
  • Spur blight – causes dying canes with small, girdling lesions
  • Anthracnose – creates purple-edged lesions on canes
  • Cane borers – bore into and kill canes
  • Botrytis (gray mold) – causes berry rotting
  • Verticillium wilt – wilting leaves and dying canes

Practice good sanitation, avoid overcrowding, use preventive fungicides/insecticides, and promptly remove diseased plants to limit problems. Organic options include neem oil, sulfur, insecticidal soap, and Bacillus thuringiensis (for caterpillars).

Winter Protection for Raspberries

In zones 5 and below, raspberries benefit from winter protection to avoid cane damage. Strategies include:

  • Hill up soil or mulch around the base of canes before ground freezes.
  • Loosen any trellising to avoid breakage from snow load.
  • Wait until spring to do major pruning to avoid stimulating growth too soon.
  • Cover canes with burlap or other material if extreme cold is expected.
  • Allow ample spacing between plants to encourage air flow.
  • Remove excessive snow load gently with a broom to avoid cane damage.
  • Avoid late summer nitrogen fertilizing which can reduce winter hardiness.

Choose winter hardy raspberry varieties suited for your climate. With some care, raspberries can remain productive for 8-10 years or longer in cold regions before needing renewal.

Harvesting and Using Raspberries

Follow these tips for harvesting and enjoying your raspberry bounty:

  • Pick berries frequently, at least every other day during peak season.
  • Grasp clusters gently and pull upward to avoid crushing.
  • Use shallow containers to avoid squashing picked berries.
  • Refrigerate berries promptly and eat within 2-3 days for best quality.
  • Rinse gently before eating. Avoid soaking which removes flavor.
  • Enjoy fresh, freeze extras for later use, or preserve in jams, syrups, baked goods.
  • White unripe berries will ripen to red if left to develop on the plant.

With proper care, homegrown raspberries can provide a delicious, abundant harvest. Follow these guidelines on plant spacing, care and harvesting to successfully grow all the raspberries your family can enjoy.


When planning how many raspberry plants to grow per person, consider the expected plant yield, your desired harvest amount, plant spacing, and potential losses. Overplanting by 25-50% more than your needs helps ensure a bountiful berry crop. Provide proper care and growing conditions to maximize production of your plants. With some simple calculations and preparation, you can successfully grow an abundant raspberry patch to delight your family.

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