Few things say summer like fresh, ripe berries. Whether you are a strawberry aficionado or a blueberry fiend, berries over ice-cream, as part of cake, in milkshakes, and over cereal are staples of the season. Growing berries in zone 9 may be challenging if you love fruits like blueberries that need a certain number of chilling days to form. All is not lost. There are many zone 9 berry varieties that have been developed to need less chilling time and tolerate high temperatures.
Growing Berries in Zone 9
Zone 9 can experience temperatures as low as 20 to 30 degrees F. (-7 to -1 C.) but rarely receive freezing events. What these areas do have is searing hot and long summers, as well as year-round mild temperatures. That requires a very special berry that doesn’t wilt with the heat, but also gets any chilling period required. Due to the region’s warm climate, it is considered a perfect growing zone provided plants get plenty of water. This fact has resulted in many trials of different berries until several heat tolerant berry plants were achieved.
Most berries like a temperate climate in zones 4 to 8. That makes it tough to find one that is hardy and will bear in zone 9. Heat tolerant berry plants are available, however, and local nurseries will carry the varieties that will thrive in your region. If you are an online or catalog shopper, identifying which varieties will perform well in your landscape may be a little more difficult and time consuming.
Choosing Berries for Zone 9
First, identify what type of zone 9 berries you wish to grow and evaluate your growing conditions. If you have sunny, lightly acidic soil that drains well, there are a number of varieties that will perform beautifully in your region. Below you will find the more common options.
There are numerous raspberry plants to try including the golden and black raspberries. In the red raspberries, you’ll find the following types are well adapted to zone 9:
- Oregon 1030
If you prefer the so-called black raspberries, Cumberland and Black Hawk are hardy berries for zone 9. Golden raspberries are unique and delicious. Try Fall Gold or Anne as golden varieties in zone 9.
If you just love blackberries, these can be challenging because they love the heat of zone 9 but they need plenty of water and a chilling period. However, Black Diamond is a cultivar which produces large, dark, sweet berries from June to early August.
Blueberries are suited to areas with plenty of rainfall, mild conditions, and winter freezes. In zone 9, these conditions can be hard to come by, so breeders have developed heat tolerant plants that need less or no freeze time. Rabbiteye is one of the best blueberries for zone 9. Some other blueberries to try are:
- Powder Blue
If you want a pink blueberry, Sunshine Blue and Pink Lemonade are outstanding.
Strawberries grow beautifully in zone 9, but if you want a proven winner, perfect options include:
- Sweet Charlie
In addition to the above berries, you can even grow Red Diamond goji berries and harness all of their antioxidant benefits.