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 Edible Plants Questions

Landscaping with water garden from Pendleton SC
August 15, 2012 - Searching for native plants in SC. Your results miss some plants listed on your site. I noticed this reading the Mr. Smarty Plants response to "Edible Plants for North GA" We aren't far apart. ...
view the full question and answer

Plants for shade, poor soil in Park Ridge NJ
June 17, 2010 - Hello! I live in far northeast New Jersey, by the New York state border. I am looking for plants for areas of my lawn that nothing currently grows in - due to shade and poor soil quality - very rocky,...
view the full question and answer

Growing Avocados in South Texas
April 24, 2015 - What types of avocados can be grown in South Texas?
view the full question and answer

Coexistence of rubus trivialis and American beautyberry
May 28, 2007 - I'm growing some rubus trivialis in a 1-gal. pot and plan to plant it this fall. Will this dewberry coexist with American beautyberry, or must it have its own space entirely? If it needs its own sp...
view the full question and answer

Pruning non-native peach in Austin, TX.
June 18, 2015 - I planted two five gallon Texas Star peach trees last February but didn't have the nerve to prune them back to knee height. After having been convinced that this is a good thing to do, I'd like to k...
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