Chester Blackberry Plant

Growing Zones in Ground: 5 - 9 / in Pots: 4 - 11


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3 Gallon 2 - 3 FT $69.95 04/23
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The prized Chester Blackberry (Rubus fruticosus) is regarded as one of the most cold hardy and high yielding among the Thornless Blackberry Varieties. Chester Blackberries are also quite large and grow up to one inch long. Not only are they the largest fruit of any thornless Blackberry, the fruit is firm, black when ripe, sweet, and retains its shine and juice even in hot weather. They are fast growing and grow best in the ground within USDA Plant Hardiness Zones 5 to 9. Chester Blackberry Plants can grow fruit in their first year, and the Blackberries are ready to harvest as soon as July or early August.

Chester Blackberry Plants grow to heights of four to six feet tall and three to four feet wide. They are self-pollinating, and prefer full sun or partial shade. Chester Blackberry Plants can grow in many soil types as long as the ground is slightly acidic and drains well. Chester Blackberry Bushes are semi-erect, and can stand on their own while growing in a somewhat arching habit. Plant a few Chester Blackberry Plants in your edible landscape and enjoy cold hardy, heat tolerant, firm, juicy Blackberries that can be eaten fresh, preserved, and used in baked treats.

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Chester Blackberry Care

Plant Chester Blackberry Plants in spring and space new plants about four to five feet apart in full sun. Select a spot that has good drainage and is not prone to standing water. The perfect spot provides some shelter from harsh winds and receives at least six hours of direct sun per day in the spring and summer months. Water new plants once per week or when soil is dry to a depth of two inches at the plant base. Fertilize with berry or fruit fertilizer once new growth appears, and refrain from adding fertilizer while berries are on the plants.

Chester Blackberry Bushes are resistant to many diseases and some birds and grazing animals will avoid the fruit, having been conditioned to associate Blackberries with thorns. The plants can get aphids on new growth and are suceptible to leafhoppers, beetles, and gall mites. All of these pests can be easily treated with insecticidal soaps, or organic pesticides formulated for berry crops. A healthy Chester Blackberry Plant in a tidy, sunny growing area is the best defense against most pests.

Chester Blackberry Harvesting and Uses

Allowing Chester Blackberries to ripen on the canes makes harvesting them easy. Pick the ripest, darkest berries by hand and leave the lighter, more red, and smaller berries to mature. Chester Blackberries are round, shiny, and the ripe fruits are bursting with sweet, rich flavor. Store harvested Chester Blackberries in a ventilated container in the refrigerator for a week or more. You can also freeze Blackberries for long term keeping.

Chester Blackberries are great for any recipe that calls for Blackberries. They are a favorite for eating fresh, adding to salads, and baking into pies, cobblers, and muffins. Blackberry Jam and Blackberry syrup are also popular preparations for the juicy, sweet Chester Blackberry. The fresh Blackberries can be used as a topping for ice cream, crushed and strained for blending into frozen drinks, or juiced for adding to lemonade and other summer beverages.

Growing Zones


Each fall after fruit has been harvested, cut all but six or seven of the most vigorous canes to the ground. Prune these remaining canes to about three feet high to encourage side shoots and a strong bloom when the plants begin to grow again in spring. Remove pruned material and mulch the plants with composted leaves to insulate the ground for winter.

When new growth appears in spring, fertilize the Chester Blackberry Plants with berry fertilizer and water in well. You can also add organic matter such as composted cow manure to the plants at any time throughout the growing season. Avoid excessive saturation of leaves and canes by overhead irrigation. Chester Blackberries prefer slow deep watering with a soaker hose. Reduce watering if rainfall is frequent enough to keep the soil moist, and always allow the ground to drain fully between watering.


How big are Chester Blackberries?

Chester Blackberries are the biggest of the Thornless Blackberry Varieties. The largest fruits can be one inch long or more. Chester Blackberry Bushes reach six feet tall and four feet wide.

Where can I grow Chester Blackberries?

Chester Blackberries can be grown in USDA Zones 5 to 9. They do well in both cold winters where freezing occurs, and in hot southern summers because the berries can tolerate high temperatures.

Do Chester Blackberry Blooms attract butterflies?

Yes, Chester Blackberry blooms attract many butterflies, most frequently the Western Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly.

What is the best soil pH for growing Chester Blackberry Plants?

Chester Blackberry Plants like slightly acidic soil with a pH of between 6.0 and 7.0.