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I was totally intrigued when I read descriptive names such as, ‘ the king of the blackberries ‘ and ‘ cabernet of blackberries ‘. The more I researched this fruit the more I knew I wanted to grow it. It is not a newly released hybrid but was created back in 1945. It is a cultivar developed by the USDA breeding program and Oregon State University. The Marionberry is a cultivar of 2 distinctive blackberry lines created to increase berry yields more than any other blackberries and to have a more balanced taste. The origins of the name Marionberry is derived from where the berry was first released in Marion county in Oregon.

The fruit when fully ripe is a lovely dark purple and is marketed as seedless. Not totally true, but the seeds are so tiny you do not even notice them. The berries contain high levels of antioxidants such as Vitamin C. Get ready. In July to August there are lots of berries. But not to worry since the Marionberry is the premier berry cultivated for and used in yogurts, jams and juices. It freezes very well.

Marionberry fruit

Though advertised as self pollinating the bees and pollinators love to visit this plant during flowering. For best berry yields be sure to plant in full sun in good soil that is well drained. No standing water. Plant canes 4 – 5 feet apart. Be sure to trellis or support the canes that can grow up to 16 – 20 feet. Marionberry is a vigorous grower and fruits on the 2nd year wood.

Though very hardy and disease resistant it can be susceptible to leaf blight and anthracnose. Simply keep your Marionberry away from other raspberries, strawberries, tomatoes or peppers since these plants may transmit the disease.

Care of these plants is minimal. Do not prune canes the first year. After the 2nd year start pruning to encourage new wood. Pruning isn’t so bad since the canes are almost thornless.

Marionberry canes

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