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Creeping Raspberry Groundcover

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'Emerald Carpet' Robert E. Lyons©

‘Emerald Carpet’
Robert E. Lyons©

Perfect for hot, dry, erodible slopes or a ditch where moisture fluctuates, this groundcover thrives in difficult spots other plants can not tolerate. Rubus hayata-koidzumii, commonly known as creeping raspberry, is often listed incorrectly as Rubus calycinoides or Rubus pentalobus.

From Taiwan, this ground cover has delicious, aggregate fruits that range from yellow to salmon to red. It grows 1 to 3 inches tall, with crinkly, deep-green leaves providing needed texture in lightly shaded areas. White flowers are borne in mid-summer, but they are generally lost in the foliage and not prominent. The plant quickly forms a dense carpet. In the fall and winter, foliage transforms to subtle rusts and pinks. The groundcover is aggressive, but not invasive. It will not climb trees or smother nearby shrubs and can be controlled easily with an edger. Space creeping raspberry plants 4 to 6 feet apart, allowing them plenty of room.

Creeping raspberry adapts well to containers and tumbles easily over rock walls, providing a “spilling over” effect. Bulbs or other perennials are able to pop up through the foliage to create interesting compositions.

‘Emerald Carpet’ forms a low, dense, evergreen groundcover bearing textured, dark green leaves through the growing season. In the cooler months these leaves are blushed with burgundy tones. ‘Golden Quilt’ is a branch sport that bears striking golden-yellow leaves that are especially prominent on the new growth of the season.

'Emerald Carpet' Robert E. Lyons©

‘Emerald Carpet’
Robert E. Lyons©

This cultivar is easily found in the Lath House and the Klein-Pringle White Garden at the JC Raulston Arboretum (JCRA) at NC State University. ‘Golden Quilt’ is a branch sport from one of the clones found at the JCRA. This cultivar bears striking golden-yellow leaves and is especially prominent on the new growth of the season. Look for it in the bed that slopes down from the east side of the Ruby C. McSwain Education Center, just up from the Manooch Cascade.

Darrell Blackwelder