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I'm looking at setting up some soft fruit beds in my allotment, and looking around it seems like I can either buy canes or large potted plants (~3L pots). The only difference I can appreciate so far is the cost.

In particular, I will be growing Rasberries, Blueberries and Blackcurrants. They will be planted in the ground, in a line and supported as required. Soil will be prepared as required (Blueberries, acidic etc).

  • What are the main differences between the two?
  • Would you expect a better yield from the large potted plant in year 1?
  • What a line of smaller cane plants produce a better shaped bush (easier to coax into a line than a round bush) than fewer of the large plants?
  • When do you plant them (dormant season, winter?)

Thoughts?

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I don't know where you are, but in the UK, bare root plants (any bare root plant, including fruits) will only be supplied in early winter through to late winter/very early spring (February/March) for planting, starting around October/November, though you can often order them in advance. There is a reason - bare root plants then have the cold season to settle in before spring/growth begins, but planted bare root in, say, late spring or summer, they are highly likely to die. If you want to plant at any other time of year, then you will need to buy pot grown plants which will have a more developed and fully functioning root system and are, as you've discovered, more expensive. The other advantage with potted plants is you don't have to immediately plant them out, they will be fine in their pots till you're ready to do so.

If you live in a region with very cold winters, then some varieties of fruits are better planted in spring, bare root or not, because of the weather conditions - they will need extra care if planted in spring in the form of water as and when necessary.

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  • I see. Since I have the time, it would make sense to wait until I can buy bare root plants Winter. The main benefit of using potted plants is I can plant them whenever or keep them potted. I'm in the UK, Bucks area, so I assume it wont get too cold over winter for planting?
    – Oliver
    Sep 16 '14 at 21:31
  • Aha, I'm in the UK too - bare root (if that's what you prefer), but order now, and prepare the planting area now, so that when the plants arrive, you're absolutely ready to plant out - so long as the ground isn't waterlogged or frozen solid (a bit of frost you can safely ignore and plant anyway).
    – Bamboo
    Sep 17 '14 at 12:20

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