Sweet and sour mulberry (Morus alba) fruits are rarely found in the market due to their short shelf life. It is therefore a good idea to grow them in your garden or terrace. But what if you don’t have enough space? In this case, growing blackberries in a pot is the only option you can try. And here’s everything you need to learn how to do it!
Mulberry Basic Information
Mulberry is a small to medium sized deciduous tree or large shrub. Some cultivars easily exceed 10 meters in height, but when grown in a pot they will not grow as tall as their roots are contained, plus the tree can be cut down and the height can be managed.
Mulberries generally grow best in subtropical and temperate regions. All species of blackberries that bear fruit are divided into three types, depending on the color of their fruits: red, white and black. Darker berries are sweeter and tastier than brighter ones.
Ideal pot for growing blackberries
These plants develop a shallow root system that prefers to spread wide rather than deep, so you will need a container to accommodate this.
Whatever container you choose, make sure it is at least 50cm in diameter and 25cm deep. This will give your mulberry tree enough room to stretch and grow.
Plus, by planting it in a large container to start, you won’t have to worry about transplanting it into something bigger a few years later.
If you have no choice, you can grow the mulberry in an even smaller pot, about 30 centimeters wide and at least 15 centimeters deep.
But you will need to plan to transplant into a larger container when it starts to show signs of rooting; yellowing and wilting of leaves, increased pest and disease problems due to stress, or constant berry production.
Since blackberries can become overcrowded during fruiting season, it is wise to invest in a heavy wooden, stone or plastic container to prevent them from toppling over.
Whatever pot you choose, make sure it has drainage holes or cracks to prevent the soil from becoming saturated with water.
How to Propagate a Mulberry Tree
Propagating a mulberry tree from seed is difficult, the germination rate is low, and it will take years for the tree to bear fruit. It will take between 5 and 9 years to see the fruits.
It is therefore best to buy a grafted tree from a nearby nursery. In this way, you will get a self-fertile mulberry tree, which will begin to bear fruit one or two years after planting.
The other option is to get branches and root them to get a new tree, we’ll see how to do that next.
Propagate a mulberry tree from cuttings (stems)
The ideal times of year to take mulberry cuttings are spring and fall.
- Select semi-ripe cuttings (branches), look for those that have grown recently and do not exceed 30 cm.
- Cut the top, leaving about 20 cm for each cutting.
- Remove all the larger leaves and cut the tip leaves in half.
- Fill the pots with compost and topsoil.
- Dip the ends of the cuttings in rooting powder (optional, but increases your chances)
- Plant them one centimeter deep, tamp the soil and water thoroughly.
- Place the pot in a shady spot and water once a day. Do not disturb the cuttings or compost them for at least a few months.
- Once new leaves start growing, that’s a sign that it can be transplanted to its final location.
Growing blackberries in pots
The mulberry tree is found on all continents. It can be grown in temperate regions and also in tropical, subtropical and arid zones.
When grown in a cold climate, expect your mulberry tree to lose its leaves in winter, new growth will begin in the mild post-winter warmth.
A mulberry tree, like all other fruit trees, needs plenty of sunlight to grow and bear fruit. Therefore, look for a position that receives sun throughout the day and has good air circulation.
If you live in a tropical or subtropical climate, place the mulberry growing in the pot in a location that receives afternoon shade in the summer.
Use a rich, well-drained potting soil with a slightly acidic or neutral pH.
The mulberry tree prefers fertile soil rich in compost or manure. Be sure to add that too. For mulberry to grow successfully in a pot, good drainage is necessary.
Flooring that prevents water drainage should not be used. Therefore, it is a good idea to use potting soil. Watch: What is it and how to make potting soil.
Regular and deep watering is essential for a few months, when the mulberry takes hold.
Make sure the soil doesn’t always stay wet. Once the mulberry is well established in a pot, water moderately if necessary, you can observe this by placing your finger on the surface of the soil.
Reduce watering in winter if growing in colder regions.
In all tropical regions, keep the soil slightly moist and water regularly, especially in summer.
Potted Mulberry Care
Apply fertilizer sparingly. At the beginning of the growing season, you can spread the granular balanced compost on the ground or feed the plant with balanced liquid compost at regular intervals of 7 to 10 days.
You can also spread a layer of well-rotted manure or compost on the top surface of the pot.
Regular feeding with compost tea is also a good way to ensure optimal growth. Watch: How to make compost tea.
The best time to schedule pruning is when the tree is dormant and not growing (in winter). It can also be pruned after the end of the fruiting season.
Light pruning and pruning of dead, damaged, diseased and crossing branches can be done occasionally or as needed.
In tropical areas, pruning is done at the end of summer, just before the start of the rainy season.
To carry out a maintenance pruning, cut the tips of the branches to leave the mulberry tree at the desired size, if you do this every year, you will have a well-controlled mulberry tree.
padding and cover
When growing blackberries in pots, you don’t have to worry too much about freezing winter temperatures, but in areas where it’s very harsh, it’s important to cover the soil surface with mulch to insulate the roots. . If you have the jars in an exposed location, cover them with bubble wrap.
Mulch is also heat resistant in the summer, so a top layer of mulch is a good idea for a mulberry growing in a hot climate. Watch: Tips for making and applying organic mulch.
Plagues and diseases
When it comes to disease, mold, leaf spot, and root rot can be a problem.
By providing good drainage and avoiding overwatering, root rot can be prevented.
As for pests, thrips, whiteflies, scale insects and mites can affect growth. However, these pests can be easily overcome and eliminated by growing blackberries in pots.
If you see any, spray the plant with water and a little detergent, repeat the operation every day until you no longer see them.
Contrary to the name of the color type of their fruits, some varieties of blackberries bear purple to dark red or black fruits when fully ripe. So, for the best flavor, wait until the fruits fully ripen on the trees before picking them.
Depending on the cultivar you are growing, mulberry fruits ripen from late spring to late summer.
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