Make room in your yard for Triple Crown Thornless Blackberries (at least 1 but more is better!) and you will have access to some of the most amazing berries around.
Triple Crown Blackberry has become our family's favorite blackberry - and not just because it's thornless (though we do love the ease of harvest). It has a LOT more going for it and has *gasp* dethroned our beloved Marionberry as the most amazing berry to grow.
I planted 3 bushes in an 8-ft. row three years ago just because they were thornless. Really - I didn't know anything about the Triple Crown variety, but I wanted to replace some out-of-control super thorny blackberries that refused to die completely even after 3 years of being covered (sometimes with plywood!). I thought if I planted thornless berries, I'd always be able to tell if the rogue berry was showing again because it would have thorns. And it worked - when any small thorny shoot comes up it is easy to tell it's not supposed to be there.
But then, we started realizing that the berries on these thornless bushes were SO very good. And some of them were super-sized berries. And they produced a long time. By year three, those 3 little bushes produced enough blackberries to fill all our fresh-eating desires (including desserts like refreshing berry parfaits and big crumb berry crisps) plus 10 quart bags of frozen berries. That's when I knew I needed to share this discovery with you! Some links in this article are affiliate links and if you click on them I will receive a small commission at no cost to you – thanks for your support!
Where to Buy Triple Crown Thornless Blackberries (click to go to page listings)
- Stark Brothers online
- Burpee online (this is where I ordered mine from a couple years ago)
- Gurney's online
Basic Growing Information
- Triple Crown blackberry is named for its three attributes; flavor, productivity and vigor. It's also disease resistant and grows huge berries.
- Grow in zones 5-9, though they have insufficient cold hardiness for many northern regions except in tunnels.
- The recommended spacing is 5 ft apart (ours are only 3-4 ft. apart and obviously do well).
- They like slightly acidic, well-drained soil in full sun to part shade.
- Very sturdy canes; considered semi-erect because they produce some longer, new non-fruiting canes mid-summer - just cut them to 4-5 ft. when they get long (for established shrubs). This is called "tip-pruning."
- Immediately after fruit harvest, remove all canes that fruited to the ground. In late winter to early spring, remove any canes damaged by winter and thin the remaining canes to 4 or 5 strong, well-spaced canes plus trim the laterals thereof. Plants generally perform best when staked.
You can find more growing details here.
5 Reasons To Grow Triple Crown Thornless Blackberries
1. They produce over a long period. Most of the growing guides say a 4-5 week harvest, which is a couple weeks longer than many berries, but our plants produce almost 2 months! Of that, 4 weeks is the "main" harvest with large bowls filled every 2-4 days. After that, they keep producing smaller bowls full of fruit as the berries continue to ripen.
In the photo above you can see the berries that have been picked, those that are ready to be picked now, redder berries to the right that will ripen in a week and even green berries that will ripen in a couple weeks.
2. They are easy to pick. Uh, obviously since "thornless" in is their name. But if you've grown up picking any berries at all, you will realize the absolute joy it is to see the "perfect" berry hanging just out of reach…but then stick your hand in there anyway because - no thorns. There are no out-of-reach berries here!
3. They are compact and easy to maintain. The canes are very sturdy and when you get long canes in early spring and again in mid-summer (that don't have fruit on them), like the canes in the photo above, you just cut them back to the height of the other canes (tip-pruning). In spring, these then grow lateral shoots, making a compact berry 'bush.' This makes them perfect for smaller backyards - you could even grown them next to a house.
These canes never get out-of-control like some other vining berry canes we know and love:
These are our Marionberry plants, a berry that is pretty much an Oregon legend. They have a complex flavor that I've always thought no other berry could come close to - until Triple Crown came into our lives. And Marionberry's super-thorny, really long vines need a lot more attention - and I always end up scratched. I still love Marionberries and since they produce in June, they help us harvest blackberries all summer, but if we ever have a smaller space, I won't be able to grow them anymore.
4. The berries can grow HUGE. The plants produce all sizes of berries, but some are just gigantic, like the bottom berry above. One end of our row gets more water than the other end, so the berries more adequately watered are consistently bigger. And let me tell you, finding - and eating - a berry that size never gets old.
5. They are super flavorful. Like I mentioned, I didn't think any berry could compare to Marionberries, but the taste of these berries are amazing. The firmer berries can be sweet-tart, while the older berries that are just starting to turn "dull" are more fully sweet, but we like them all. There's a lot of depth to the flavor and everyone we've shared them with (and that's a lot, because I love to tell everyone about these!) thinks the same. Trust me on this.
I'll leave off with this photo taken in early August:
All the stages of berries are illustrated here, from flower to already harvested. This mean weeks of delicious, huge, easy-to-pick berries are in your future - if you plant them.
So guess what I want you to do?
(Tip: the deals on Amazon are pretty good, actually - I bought ours online and they did great. You just want to make sure there is a money-back guarantee if they don't make it the first few months)
Tell me - who else grows these berries? Do you like them as much as we do?
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