En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?


Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Thursday - May 23, 2013

From: Waterford, CA
Region: California
Topic: Edible Plants, Shrubs
Title: Non-fruiting Willamette raspberry plant in Wateford CA
Answered by: Barbara Medford


I have a 2 year old Willamette Raspberry plant that has many blooms, bees, great growing conditions, very healthy but has never set one fruit. I know about pruning. Any suggestions? It has been blooming on the same canes for two years, has not been pruned ever, and has never set even one fruit. Talked with many nurseries, no one has a clue please help if you can.


It took us a while, but after we found this BackyardGardener.com article on Rubus idaeus (Willamette raspberry), we discovered Rubus idaeus ssp. strigosus (Grayleaf red raspberry) in our Native Plant Database, which is apparently the same thing, with a trade name attached to it. Since we only recommend plants native not only to North America but to the areas in which they evolved; in your case, Stanislaus Co., CA, in central California, this at least meant we could find out something about whether it is growing in the right place. Unfortunately, we could not find all that much information. We usually first refer to the USDA Plant Profiles, only to find that there was not county by county information on this plant from California. California, like Texas, has so many different elevations, ecosystems and soils that discovering if a plant is being grown in its own ideal environment is tricky.

We went to the Internet and really couldn't find a whole lot of definitive information. One thing we discovered was that fruit appeared on year-old canes. Possibly, since your plant is only two years old, it has not yet come to the fruiting age. On re-reading the first link we gave you above:

'Willamette' bears large, deep red, flavorful fruits in mid- to late summer. Raspberries are biennials that perform best in full sun with plenty of water and a good fertilizing when blooms begin."

According to our webpage (see plant link above) this plant blooms white from May to July, followed by fruit in late Summer to early Fall. Since it is not yet time for your plants to be fruiting this year,  perhaps you just need to wait a while. And look out for birds, they are waiting for the fruit, too.

Prescription: Patience.


From the Image Gallery

Grayleaf red raspberry
Rubus idaeus ssp. strigosus

Grayleaf red raspberry
Rubus idaeus ssp. strigosus

Grayleaf red raspberry
Rubus idaeus ssp. strigosus

More Shrubs Questions

Plantings for beneath a red oak in Lubbock TX
February 23, 2012 - What would you recommend to plant in a two tiered raised bed facing west, totally blocked from the east, thus receiving only the afternoon sun? A 21 year old red oak sits in the middle of the upper ra...
view the full question and answer

Deer Resistance and Erosion Control for St. Louis County MO
January 03, 2014 - I am looking for deer and rabbit resistant native plants for erosion control on a steep ravine slope with part sun and part shade in St. Louis County MO.
view the full question and answer

Edible forest garden for northern Minnesota
March 07, 2014 - I am planning an edible forest garden for northern Minnesota. Can you suggest a list of plants that are native to this area. We are in zone 3a or 3b. Thank you!
view the full question and answer

How do I save my recently transplanted yaupon holly?
April 20, 2011 - Recently transplanted (two weeks ago) a yaupon holly tree from one part of the yard to another. Leaves are beginning to turn yellow and fall. What can be done to save this plant?
view the full question and answer

Passiflora and Leucophyllum together in Texas
April 23, 2015 - I've got a Passiflora incarnata that has self-propagated around a cenizo sage. My question is, will the passionflower vine choke out or otherwise damage the cenizo? Do I need to cut back the vine? ...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center