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Large fruited blackthorns

Blackthorn Godenhaus. Picture; Lubera
Blackthorn Godenhaus. Picture; Lubera

New cultivars suitable for home gardening

The blackthorn or sloe, eaten by us for thousands of years, has three new large-fruited cultivars from Lubera that make them much more than a forager’s crop.

Sloes are our original prunes and primordial damsons; modern plum and damson varieties are said to have originated from hybridisations of blackthorn with the cherry plum (Prunus cerasifera).

Blackthorn flowers. Picture; Lubera
Blackthorn flowers. Picture; Lubera

The benefits of large-fruited blackthorn varieties:

  • Fewer thorns than ordinary varieties.
  • No suckers, as they are grafted onto the weak rootstock St. Julien.
  • Earlier harvesting and processing: they can be harvested in September and October before the first frosts, as they do not need frosting to break down the bitterness and acidity to become edible.

Blackthorn Godenhaus

  • Flowers: White, dense inflorescences.
  • Harvest: October-November, even possible before freezing, but better to wait for the first frosts.
  • Fruits: Large, up to 2cm.
  • Growth: Strong, 3-4m.
Blackthorn Nittel. Picture; Lubera
Blackthorn Nittel. Picture; Lubera

Blackthorn Nittel

  • Flowers: Dense, white flowers.
  • Harvest: A late maturing variety, so it should be harvested after the first frosts.
  • Fruits: Large, 17mm.
  • Growth: Compact, bushy, 2.5m.
Blackthorn Reto. Picture; Lubera
Blackthorn Reto. Picture; Lubera

Blackthorn Reto

  • Flowers:  Covered with white flowers.
  • Harvest: Can be harvested even before the frosts.
  • Fruits: Large, 1.5-2cm.
  • Growth: 2-3m; few thorns.

All supplied as a strong plant in a 10L pot, costing £32.40. For more details, visit www.lubera.co.uk.

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Mandy Watson is a freelance journalist and an incurable plantaholic. MandyCanUDigIt grew from the tiny seed of a Twitter account into the rainforest of information you see before you. Gardening columnist for the Sunderland Echo, Shields Gazette and Hartlepool Mail and editor of the Teesdale Mercury Magazine. Attracted by anything rebellious, exotic and nerdy, even after all these years. Passionate about northern England and gardens everywhere. Falls over a lot.

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