Rubus 'Illini Hardy'

Common Name: blackberry 
Type: Fruit
Family: Rosaceae
Zone: 4 to 6
Height: 4.00 to 5.00 feet
Spread: 4.00 to 5.00 feet
Bloom Time: May to June
Bloom Description: White
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Medium
Flower: Showy
Attracts: Birds, Butterflies
Fruit: Showy, Edible
Other: Thorns


Best grown in moist, organically rich, slightly acidic, well-drained soil in full sun to part shade. Intolerant of wet soils. Raised beds should be considered in areas with heavy clay soils. Plants are perennial but canes are biennial. For established shrubs, tip-prune new vegetative (non-fruiting) canes in summer. 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.

'Illini Hardy' has few laterals.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Blackberries are grown for their edible fruit. There are both thorned and thornless varieties available.

Genus name is the Latin name for brambles (blackberry and raspberry).

'Illini Hardy' is an erect, self-fruitful, free-standing, thorny shrub which produces one crop of fruit per year. Although noted for its excellent winter hardiness, 'Illini Hardy' often has problems with the hot St. Louis summers and may not be the best selection of the thorny varieties for Missouri. Clusters of white, 5-petaled, rose-like flowers in spring give way to blackberries of excellent eating quality which mature in summer (mid-to-late July).


Anthracnose, botrytis and verticillium wilt can be serious disease problems. Cane borers and crown borers are potentially serious insect pests.

Garden Uses

Although the flowers are attractive, this blackberry is grown primarily as a food crop and it not considered appropriate for ornamental use.