What are some berry bushes that I can plant in my backyard?


I’m looking to see if I can plant some berry bushes in my back yard. It stays pretty wet and has good soil. Any suggestions?


Abi Griffith, Horticulture Community Education Assistant

So, sight selection and prep can be a little involved when considering small fruits like highbush blueberries or brambles like raspberries/blackberries and they do mostly like well drained soils. Is the “wet” you are describing a clay type of soil or does it drain pretty well? If it does drain, you could consider highbush blueberries – Growing Highbush Blueberries – refer to this factsheet, especially with considerations for soil pH. Growing Raspberries and Blackberries will give you an overview of whether this is something you’d want to do. They all take some commitment, but could be worth it to you!

If not, you may want to consider maybe American Elderberry – as they do well in a variety of soils, including wet. You can use the berries if cooked (pies, jams, wine, syrup) and the flowers can be used in cordials, etc. It is native and attracts pollinators and provides food for birds.  It does grow taller than an average shrub but can be pruned accordingly though.

Other native berry shrubs that tolerate wet soils that you may want to consider –

Black Chokeberry  – black berries are edible but astringent, nice fall foliage and forage for birds
Winterberry – not edible but beautiful red berries in late season on female shrubs and tolerates wet soils

There are so many options and if you want to keep researching, I suggest checking out Plants for a Maine Landscape (you can scroll down and search by sun/soil type) or the Maine Audubon Plant Finder to search natives by sunlight, height, ecological benefits.