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A FRIEND and I each bought orangeberry (Rubus pentalobus) plants last year. She planted hers per the instructions on a sunny, well-drained slope where it has grown well but not yet flowered. I planted mine in a largish pot and it flowered enticingly, but my hoped-for crop of fruit never eventuated. The label says they are selffertile. Do you have any tips?


ORANGEBERRY has only recently become available in garden centres. It's related to raspberries and strawberries and forms a spreading groundcover with tough green leaves that become tinged with purple in the winter cold.

Generally, young orangeberry plants can take 2-3 years before flowering, so you were lucky to get flowers so soon. Being self-fertile, you would normally expect fruit to follow flowers - no fruit suggests lack of pollination. Being self-fertile does not necessarily mean a plant is also self-pollinating, as with a great many self-fertile plants, bees, insects or wind are still required to transfer pollen. So lack of bees at flowering time may have been the problem, or bad weather which kept the bees in the shelter of their hives rather than out collecting pollen and nectar.

Hopefully, next season, with better weather, you should get some fruit, and in time your friend's plant should also produce a crop.

For more information on orangeberry and other interesting fruiting plants, you could check out www.edible.co.nz

Weekend Gardener, Issue 202, 2006, Page 31

Reproduced with permission from the former Weekend Gardener magazine. The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the RNZIH.

Andrew Maloy Weekend Gardener

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Last updated: November 29, 2006